Elusive Parallelograms sound like your favorite band. If not on this track, then on the next one. Or the one after that. Or the one on the last album you didn’t get. Which you should. Get. Like, now. It’s totally different than the new disc. Which you should also get. Like, now.
Whatever your favorite rock genre, Elusive Parallelograms play that, awesomely. And your second favorite genre. And a couple they just made up that you’ll love.
Elusive Parallelograms called their 2008 debut, “And Everything Changes,” and they weren’t kidding. Their 2 LPs and 3 EPs are where power pop meets shoegaze meets brainy prog meets acoustic instrumentals meets psychedelia meets metal pounding on metal, sometimes all on the same track. Whatever this song’s experiment may be, you’ll hear guitars bent at sharp angles, beauteous sounds bursting at unexpected moments, cryptic lyrics whose slick hooks dig in deep but whose puzzles won’t crack on one listen.
Whoever your favorite producer is … Well FUCK that guy — Elusive Parallelograms are DIY from the first scratch of pencil on paper to the last careful tick of the dials at their self-built studio in Milwaukee’s Bayview neighborhood.
Whoever your favorite Elusive Parallelogram is … Look, they’re ALL dreamy, but don’t get attached. In this ever-evolving collective, the music, and where it’s going next, calls all the shots.
Whatever’s new and trendy, Elusive Parallelograms did it two records ago.
Whatever’s old and passe’, they’ll make new.
And everything changes.
Andrew Foys (Guitar, Vox)
David Schessow (Guitar, Vox)
Stefan Dostanic (Guitar)
Jeff Krause (Bass)
Corey Husher (Keys, Vox)
Joe Boivin (Drums)
Band Bio by Joey Tayler
Andrew Foys - Guitar & Vocals
Stefan Dostanic - Guitar, keys
David Schessow - Vocals, Guitar
Cory Husher - Vocals, keys
Joe Boivin - Drums
Jeff Krause - Bass
"And Everything Changes" - June 9th, 2009
"Modern Splendor" - April 15th, 2011
Elusive Parallelograms: Modern Splendor Review
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Elusive Parallelograms is a quirky band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Modern Splendor is their recen...Elusive Parallelograms is a quirky band from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and Modern Splendor is their recently released sophomore album. Spin Magazine has included them in their list of “Top 8 Unsigned Bands,” but after listening to Modern Splendor you might have to ask yourself, why are these guys not signed yet? As I opened up the door to Modern Splendor with “Each Key,” I was immediately mesmerized by the combination of guitar play, drums and seductive vocals.
The group, which consists of Jonathan Hense and Andrew Foys both sharing double duty on vocals and guitars, Stefan Dostanic on guitar, Davey Schessow on bass and Eric Reiter on drums, continues the vibe of the opening song with “Burning Water.” The title track, backed by an acoustic guitar, sets the pensive mood of a keen youth looking forward in time towards a gloomy future, deciphering life’s struggles and asking to “forget the present and hand me a couple hundred more beers.”
The ghostly feel at the beginning of “P90” begins with the words, “daylight’s gone,” leading into a song in which the guitars make the listener lose themselves. The guitar play is certainly an area where Elusive Parallelograms does not lack in talent. “Odds and Evens” played for a good 54 seconds before I realized I hadn’t heard any vocals. The latter half of the album has the group experimenting with different sounds and melodies that are executed relatively well.
Once the album closes on “Oscillator,” you might come away thinking that Nirvana and MGMT had a lovechild that grew up and became Elusive Parallelograms. Modern Splendor is a great album and Elusive Parallelograms will hopefully see much success in the future. And I still have to ask myself, why are these guys not signed yet?
Key Tracks – Each Key, Modern Splendor, Oscillator
Enrique Grijalva - MuzikReviews.com Contributor
April 27, 2011
Elusive Parallelograms: CD Release @ Cactus Club, 3-5-11
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For their album release party, Elusive Parallelograms put together one of the tightest triple bills ...For their album release party, Elusive Parallelograms put together one of the tightest triple bills in recent memory at the Cactus Club: three excellent local bands whose styles complement each other perfectly. I’ll admit I was a little nervous, as the last time I’d seen EP headline, they were a bit tipsy by the time they got onstage and the set was underwhelming. I knew they were capable of greatness, but lately it has seemed that the lesser-known opening acts at Cactus have been dominating the bigger names…
The tradition continued tonight to a degree with Ikarus Down. Feet firmly planted in accessible grungy rock but with a few experimental flourishes, the band succeeds on tight, powerful songwriting and the vocal talents of singer/guitarist Jonathon Ferrer. The guy’s got a heck of a range and a captivating intensity in his delivery whether he’s belting it out or drawing down the histrionics. The songs are moody, evoking Elbow and the better aspects of Mutemath, but with somewhat more progressive tendencies. The band occasionally stepped over the cheese line, but generally the strength of the melodies and some choice lyrics kept thing from getting corny (caveat: the band’s 2010 EP does not showcase its strengths well; let’s hope the forthcoming full-length will capture more of the group’s live essence).
Arkady is a no-nonsense moody punk band with strong shades of Samiam in its heyday; don’t call it an emo revival! There’s not a lot more to say about ‘em, except it was nonstop energy, revved-up rock and roll, and if you like that sort of thing, you would’ve enjoyed this set.
The EP boys didn’t appear to be wasted when they got onstage, so that was good. They’re almost a perfect cross between the first two bands, but with a heavy dose of psychedelia thrown into the mix. The new material was very well-rehearsed and made up most of the set; as you’d expect, the raw edge of the songs came across more vividly live than on the album (Modern Splendor, which should be in record stores soon), and it was great to see the room still full and everyone rockin’ out.
EP had been more or less dormant for quite some time, and it seems their fanbase may have grown during the offseason. But the set seemed awfully short; I admit I’d been hoping for more classics from And Everything Changes, but at least we got “Orange”, one of the greatest party-punk anthems I know of. But for a scrappy bunch of punks, these guys did an impressive job with the more sophisticated tunes while retaining that raucous edge throughout the set. That’s a difficult balance to maintain, and those who can do it are often destined for big things. Get out and see this band in the clubs while you can.
AV CLub of Milwaukee: Modern Splendor B+
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Elusive Parallelograms’ 2008 debut, And Everything Changes, was more like a mixtape than an album; t...Elusive Parallelograms’ 2008 debut, And Everything Changes, was more like a mixtape than an album; the new Modern Splendor takes that same grungy, psychedelic schizophrenia and fleshes it out into more of a conventional rock package. The band takes fewer risks, so the bursts of intensity aren’t as blistering, but there are no major clunkers—just a bunch of quickly-memorable guitar tunes.
The Parallelograms are at their best living and dying by the dirty, catchy riff, like the growler found in “Odds And Evens,” and the dizzying, criss-cross strummage that caps the title track. The band has also crafted some killer howling leads, as in the Hüsker Dü-meets-Thin Lizzy climax of “Burning In Water,” and the shoegazey swell of “No Subject.” Even when the group seems to be cramming multiple songs together, as in “Blank Expression” and “Winter Low,” the juxtaposition of tempos keeps things interesting without disrupting the flow.
Surprisingly, these more sophisticated arrangements trump the simplistic, punked-out blasts. “P90” would be more effective at half its actual length, and the way it’s paired with “Luna” makes for a less-than-dynamic suite of Sonic Youth-inspired indie-pop. Still, when singer John Hense lets himself get unhinged on the final track, “Oscillator,” you wonder where all that energy has been hiding. The Parallelograms may have grown up faster than expected, but maturity suits them unexpectedly well. Wait—is that a penis on the cover of the album?
Post Rock, Post Pop, Post Everything...
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Manhattan label Rainbow Quartz continues to seek out artsy, edgy guitar pop, coming up trumps with M...Manhattan label Rainbow Quartz continues to seek out artsy, edgy guitar pop, coming up trumps with Milwaukee's Elusive Parallelograms. Their forte is a brand of hard core power pop one-minute-thirty blast, "Destroyer" or more melodic, fuzzed up "Benzedrine." They disguise their influences with a commendable sleigh of hand:"Coagulated Conduit" is an acoustic howl of a song that's part big star and part love, "Intelligent Design," meanwhile, is a combustion of treated vocals and tripy Electric Prunes' guitars. Saturated in 60s and 80s sounds and styles, but magically blended and totally now. - Mick Houghton
SPIN Picks: 8 Undiscovered Bands Worth a Listen
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Hometown: Milwaukee, WI Recommended if you like… Chester French, the Von Bondies Why we picked the...Hometown: Milwaukee, WI
Recommended if you like… Chester French, the Von Bondies
Why we picked them: Who says psychedelia-influenced, shoegazer guitar riffs need to last five minutes a pop? These fellas have a knack for condensing the fuzz.
Elusive Parallelograms Album Review
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And now for something as-near-as-damn-it completely different - modern American indie psychedelia fr...And now for something as-near-as-damn-it completely different - modern American indie psychedelia from the shores of Lake Michigan, the home of guitar legend Les Paul, Steve Miller, The Violent Femmes, Die Kreuzen, bits of Fall Out Boy and 80s hippy groovers Plasticland. Elusive Parallelograms are the inheritors and brave custodians of big, bold, inventive rock music - Clayton Hamburg (bass), Jonathan Hense (vocals and guitar), Stefan Dostanic (guitar), Andrew Foys (guitar and vocals), Cory Husher (drums) - are immersed in yesterday, but make it sound like today and tomorrow.
Hense's vocals on the propulsive FXd guitar-driven Rev suggest fey Roy Wood / Syd Barrett Englishness, with the warm feeling that somewhere in the mix Arthur Lee is keeping a kindly eye on things. Otro, sound-saturated and enormous, demonstrates the band's commitment, their intensity, whilst on the sneers-r-us Orange The Pretty Things in their loutish unruly prime could be in the middle of a good old-fashioned no-holds-barred scrap round the back of a Milwaukee pool hall with The Stooges, to a cacophony of rough- 'em-up guitars evocative of Dick Taylor and Ron Asheton - this is how you do garage-punk, OK? Closure displays deft and precise mastery of freaky guitars and gotta-dance bass and drums as the boys kick up a helluva storm throughout. Like Piper at the Gates of Dawn had its Scarecrow, so we have the equally quirky ...and Everything Changes.
Brit guitar throwback tribes like The Stone Roses would have died to have the contagiously catchy Lilt, and fearlessly creative, the beguiling Hang Those Who Speak of the West delivers adventurous backwards tapes, bleeps and processed vocals. Destroyer stampedes like an angry Motörhead, and Benzedrine is a classic, pacey rocker. You just have to get this for yourself, so I'll stop banging on now, other than to say that elsewhere, there's street-busker acoustic guitar / vocal in the key of wonderful (Coagulated Conduit), pure pop-rock perfection (Intelligent Design), and the sublime, bravura soundtrack for the most magnificent movie ever that has still be written (Epilogue).
I can meet my maker now, safe in the knowledge that rock music is in safe, caring hands. The guys must be très chuffed with this album, a genuine, not-to-be-missed thrill.
The Elusive Parallelograms Go Back to the Future
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Listening to “Rev,” the first song on the Elusive Parallelograms’ new album, and everything changes,...Listening to “Rev,” the first song on the Elusive Parallelograms’ new album, and everything changes, one’s immediate reaction is to get up and dance around the room. It’s an incredibly fun song, one meant to immediately grab the listener’s attention. I could easily see the band playing a Factory Records party circa 1991, as their psychedelic-tinged rock would have fit in nicely with such acts as The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays.
At the same time, the Elusive Parallelograms also seem to share the anything-goes approach to songwriting that marked the Manchester music scene throughout the late-1980s and early 1990s.
From the mellow acoustic sounds of “Coagulated” to the punk-rock feel of “Destroyer,” and everything changes is marked by a refreshing appreciation of the benefits of musical eclecticism. Yet perhaps the most interesting aspect of the band’s sound is their use of sonic layering. When all the guitar tracks kick in on “Asleep,” for example, one is confronted with an extraordinarily dense wall of sound. Yet the outcome of such a strategy is never completely overwhelming for the listener. Like those who have successfully mined this territory before (think My Bloody Valentine), the Elusive Parallelograms maintain a sense of muchneeded melody as they push the volume higher and higher.
As more and more of their indie-rock brethren opt for a stripped-down approach to songwriting, this insistence on creating multilayered soundscapes allows the Elusive Parallelograms to distance themselves a bit from many of their contemporaries—a development that the band seems to welcome.
“I don’t associate a lot with what is going on,” explains vocalist/guitarist Andrew Foys. “I really don’t feel any draw to much of the music that is coming out today. I feel completely divorced from it.” And while such a statement could read as a bit depressing, Foys’ take on the current state of musical affairs in America has actually proven quite liberating for him and his band mates.
This sense of disconnection has allowed the Elusive Parallelograms to explore the group’s sound on their own terms.
According to guitarist/vocalist John Hense, “We just want to play whatever we want, whatever comes to mind. We’re not going for a certain feel—it usually just comes out.” Such a commitment to complete artistic freedom would leave many young bands rootless. Yet the Elusive Parallelograms have managed to anchor themselves by understanding the history behind the sounds that they have come to embrace.
Listening to the band members list their shared influences—a list that includes The Velvet Underground, Television, The Stooges and My Bloody Valentine—I am struck by the band’s collective curiosity: They are genuinely excited about the process of learning from the past. Interestingly, the songs on and everything changes may remind many listeners of a distinct era in the history of Milwaukee music, the mid- to late-1980s, when bands such as Plasticland and Liquid Pink combined pop and psychedelic music in powerful ways. And while the band may be a bit unaware of such a moment (drummer Cory Husher notes, “I hear the ’80s was an awesome time for music in Milwaukee”), this sense of continuity may mark a new direction for underground music in the city.
"And Everything Changes" UK's Toxic pete Review
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Elusive Parallelograms - CD - And Everything Changes Milwaukee alt rocksters Elusive Parallelogr...Elusive Parallelograms - CD - And Everything Changes
Milwaukee alt rocksters Elusive Parallelograms apparently don't like to have their gutsy music pigeon-holed; I can see why!! Elusive Parallelograms bring instrumental originality back to the rock 'table' by refusing to be drawn into the world of electronic enhancement and digital/analogue nothingness!
Elusive Parallelograms don't really conform to any individual genre identity, they never slot into any one form, they just defy categorisation. However, there's definitely an element of psychedelia, there's a hint of pop sensibility, some surfer harmony, and more... And, of course, Elusive Parallelograms 'rock' all day long. So, I can hear The Beatles, The Electric Prunes, The Beach Boys, Blur, The Stone Roses, Oasis and so on... For me I suppose Elusive Parallelograms play 'rock of ages'! Timeless, era-defying, age-insensitive, experimental rock'n'stroll for whoever wants to listen. It aint post-rock. In fact, it aint actually post-anything! What it is is a kinda 'omi-rock' - all-encompassing and un-nameable!
Armed with more guitars than most music stores can afford nowadays, Elusive Parallelograms kerrang their way through space with a positive barrage of string-driven rock. As I mentioned above, EP don't feel the need to fall back on too much in the way of electronic elaboration, they stick to their guns (or should that be axes?) and make the most of all those strings they have between them - remarkably clever stuff in today's electronic world of keyboard and computer wizardry! The EP sound is therefore pretty pure and, in rock terms, pretty bloody exciting. Instrumental assets aside, EP write with superb originality by today's standards - they incorporate nuances from far-reaching genre to make their sweet rock 'noise' and it's refreshingly cool and undeniably fresh. Vocally there's just a hint of the past, retro-esque if you will, that totally suits EP's brazen guitar oriented rock-fest attack as beautifully balanced voices cry out atop of the searing and soaring guitars.
'And Everything Changes', the title actually suggests the content, is wonderfully evocative in its way; EP make modern rock make sense once more and put 'free-form' back in the equation. EP really do the biz on this crackin' album; far from being retro, 'And Everything Changes' is a breath of fresh air at a time of indie stagnation, a much needed infusion of well thought out, well crafted experimentation of the best kind - using the 'basic' instruments of the rock instrumental armoury. Great credit to this relatively young band of rocksters; I love their ambition and think their guitar-driven way is one that'll surprise quite a few people. 'And Everything Changes' by Elusive Parallelograms is great respite from the, pale by comparison, pseudo-originality of the indie form over the last few years. This is one helluva good album by a band destined to make a mark for all the right reasons - excellent!!
Peter J Brown aka toxic pete (www.toxicpete.co.uk)
"And Everything Changes" Music Street Journal Review
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Elusive Parallelograms and Everything Changes Review by Gary Hill The debut disc from Elusive...Elusive Parallelograms
and Everything Changes
Review by Gary Hill
The debut disc from Elusive Parallelograms, this is quite a diverse little EP. Overall the main musical themes are psychedelia, punk and power pop, but those are really just the anchors that hold this in place. There’s plenty of other musical concepts and these guys don’t seem at all afraid to stretch out of little boxes. I’d have to say that there might be a song or two that leaves me scratching my head here, but overall I like it all a lot. These guys have a cool sound and have produced an excellent first effort. Here’s to more from Elusive Parallelograms.
Track by Track Review
They waste no time, jumping right in with a smoking rocker. Take a bit of cheap trick, add in some psychedelia and a little punk rock and you’ve got a good idea of what to expect here.
There’s more of a modern alternative rock texture to this, but we still get some of that psychedelic element. There’s a more contemplative tone to this. It’s not the instant “grabber” of the opening piece, but it’s still compelling.
The fast paced jam that makes this up is more pure punk in tone and delivery. It’s another in a chain of strong material.
Here is the first of two pieces that clock in at less than a minute each. This one is basically a backwards tracked piece of guitar based weirdness. It’s quite cool, nonetheless.
Starting off rather mellow and melodic, this fires out into one of the most ferocious jams we’ve heard so far. It’s quite punky.
There is a gentle format that opens this and it’s got more of the psychedelic tones we haven’t heard in a few songs. They power this out into something harder rocking, but it probably most closely resembles the opening number – with some Jane’s Addiction added to the mix. There are mellower segments woven into the tapestry of these cuts and this is one of the most dynamic numbers on show. It’s also one of my favorites. Of course, at over four minutes in length, it’s the second longest piece, too. There’s a killer classic rock guitar solo segment late on it – along with an extended feedback outro.
and Everything Changes
The title track, this starts in a weird bouncing acoustic based motif. They build on this and it is another that reminds me of Jane’s Addiction. There is a definite bit of 1960’s psychedelia built into this beast, too. I can also make out a little bit of The Violent Femmes.
Backwards tracked guitar starts us off here. It works out from there into another bouncing, hard rocking number that’s catchy and tasty.
Hang Those Who Speak of the West
Here’s the weirdest cut on here – and I’m not really sold on it. Weird sound effects make up a big chunk of it and we get a techno sort of rhythmic element covered by weird keys and a mournful vocal line. It’s OK, but I guess I don’t get it.
A completely furious piece, this has a serious metal guitar line and a hardcore punk arrangement. This is a screamer – and will probably send some people running screaming. For fans of oldschool hardcore, though, it’s a nice touch.
In sharp contrast to the ferocity of the last piece they start this with sparse bits of acoustic guitar. Eventually it works out into a sedate and quite pretty ethereal ballad type number. It’s a nice change.
Here’s an energetic cut that’s fun. There’s some of that psychedelic sound built into this and yet it’s also punky.
This is the second shortest piece on here and it’s just a cool rocking instrumental workout.
There’s a lot more psychedelia on this than anything else on the CD. I could actually imagine this coming from some old 1960’s disc – mind you it might not have had the production that this does. It’s one of my favorites on here and at times reminds me a bit of Hawkwind. It does move out into more hard edged music that’s along the lines of Jane’s Addiction later. At just over four minutes this is the longest number on the album.
They close things with a pretty instrumental that’s rather proggy. It’s got an almost electronica feel with keyboard sounds carrying the melody.
BabySue review of And Everything Changes
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Elusive Parallelograms - And Everything Changes (Independently released CD, Psychedelic pop) Neat, ...Elusive Parallelograms - And Everything Changes (Independently released CD, Psychedelic pop)
Neat, driving, hard pop with a decidedly psychedelic twist. Something like a cross between Hawkwind and The Buzzcocks (?!?). Although we're not sure why, there aren't very many bands around of late that are taking this particular approach with music. This could be because most music has become more muted and boring in the twenty-first century...or it could signal a slowing interest in the recreational use of L.S.D....? Whatever the case, the guys in Elusive Parallelograms have come up with a real winner of an album here. The tunes on And Everything Changes are basically pop tunes...but they are delivered with surprising intensity and layered with some really cool hypnotic sounds. They aren't playing the game being bound by rules determined by outsiders and they don't appear to be going for any specific image...but instead seem to be content to create their own musical universe. Whatever the intent, this is a great little independently produced album that really delivers the goods. Changes is as good or better than most releases we have heard on independent or major labels over the past couple of years. Fifteen cool tripped out pop cuts here including "Rev," "Asleep," "Closure," "Destroyer," "Benzedrine," and "Intelligent Design." Heady and super smart stuff. Recommended. (Rating: 5++)
Big Takeover "And Everything Changes" review
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"Thisscribereviewedtheelusiveparallelograms' (no caps!) Double Think EP and made a note to my humble..."Thisscribereviewedtheelusiveparallelograms' (no caps!) Double Think EP and made a note to my humble editor that I wanted to review the next release. I am glad we both followed up on that request. This Milwaukee, WI collective of damaged psychedelic art Rockers has- again - self released on of the finest, smartest, and daring rock records I've heard in a good while. Influences from Black flag to Hawkwind to 13th Floor Elevators to shoegaze to modern indie drip in and out of every song just long enough to make the listener realize that these cats know what they are doing, and it's on their own terms. Just when you thought rock is dead, comes this! Attenion labels: this band is still unsigned and will be a big deal if you let 'em. Grab 'em while you can! (email@example.com)
Losing Today "And Everything Changes" review
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I love the Elusive Parallelograms' music, but I absolutely hate writing about it. They're just not a...I love the Elusive Parallelograms' music, but I absolutely hate writing about it. They're just not an easy group to categorize, explain or capture with words, making job all the more difficult. I can tell you that "And Everything Changes" their debut full length album has touches of post-punk, psychedelia, shoegaze, punk, experimental, electronica and other genres, but the way this Milwaukee bunch mixes them up is fresh and original enough that you won't easily recognize any of them. What you are likely to recognize is that the band is loaded to brim with the type of talented musicians and great vocalists that should make them huge. They can be just as comfortable turning up their wah-wahs to rip through the aggressive psychedelia of "Orange" as they are on the spacey electro-ballad "Hang Those Who Speak Of The West". The only time they don't deliver is on the messy hardcore track "Destroyer" which thankfully ends in 90 seconds - not enough time to disrupt the flow of the album, which gets quickly restored with the hauntingly beautiful "Coagulated Conduit". And Everything Changes is just a great way to spend 33 minutes, and it's easily the best album I've heard from an unsigned band this year. Do yourself a favor a check them out, now.
Elusive Parallelograms - And Everything Changes
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It's not quite over yet, but 2008 will be a damn good year for local music if a Milwaukee band makes...It's not quite over yet, but 2008 will be a damn good year for local music if a Milwaukee band makes a better record than Elusive Parallelograms' full-length debut And Everything Changes in the next few months. In the meantime, let us heap praise on this thrillingly noisy six-piece, which builds on the promise of last year's Doublethink EP by keeping that record's punch-drunk drums and unruly guitars—the jacket says there's three guitarists, but it sounds like there's at least twice as many—and resting them on a foundation of good old-fashioned pop songcraft. The EP stabs wildly at the sonic worlds of '60s psychedelia, late '80s shoegaze, and '90s indie rock, but the sexy cool of "Lilt" is built to last for as many spins as you can stand. And Everything Changes offers the best of both worlds, living and breathing with a racing, desperate spirit of unhinged rock 'n' roll, and turning out hooks more solid than a brick shithouse. Really, these guys don't have a label yet? Sheesh.
Elusive Parallelograms Pick Up Speed
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Wednesday, February 1,2012 By Evan Rytlewski Though it’s unlikely to ever reach the extremes of ...Wednesday, February 1,2012
By Evan Rytlewski
Though it’s unlikely to ever reach the extremes of the modern rap scene, where burgeoning artists are now expected to release a constant stream of new music if they’re serious about building an audience, rock music is gradually taking on some of that sink-or-swim mentality. In the ever-intensifying competition to capture short attention spans, many bands are releasing more music than ever, faster than ever, and that’s just fine with Milwaukee’s Elusive Parallelograms. “We’re constantly writing and recording,” says singer/guitarist Andrew Foys. “We could probably write a record in a weekend, if we had to.”
The guitar-centric psychedelic-pop quintet is releasing its new EP, Habits, this month, and has plans for at least two more releases this year. That accelerated pace marks a change of course for the band, which had taken its time crafting its first albums, 2009's And Everything Changes and last year’s Modern Splendor. Habits was recorded and mixed in a comparatively swift week and a half, while the songs were still fresh in the band’s minds.
“In some respects it would have been nice to have been able to rehearse them a little more, but I think we’re realizing that we can get a lot of what we need to achieve without having to sit in a studio for a year analyzing the placement of guitar-amp microphones,” Foys says. “It’s important to us to have nice, clean, well-recorded albums, but you don’t want to get bogged down in the details; otherwise, the song can get lost.”
Habits certainly doesn’t feel rushed. The songs are as tight and catchy as any the group has done, and the production is big and vibrant. An engineer by trade, Foys built his own studio several years ago, so the band records and produces its own material. Their production is decidedly hi-fi: a lush, multilayered surge of sound on the scale of Butch Vig’s big alt-rock recordings. “We all definitely like a diverse range of music—the SST-era stuff, the Elephant 6 stuff, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, the Minutemen, The Meat Puppets, and just a host of good American and British indie-rock—but we all came up heavily listening to ’90s alternative, so that’s definitely a touchstone,” Foys says. “We’re just really drawn to those cool guitar tones.”
The typical Elusive Parallelograms song is short and direct, in a rush to reveal its next melodic trick and then move on. Foys splits primary songwriting duties with singer/guitarist John Hense, which aids the band’s prolificacy and lends to the restless, almost antsy energy of their albums.
“Both Andrew and John are unique songwriters,” says guitarist Stefan Dostanic. “Andrew is more idiosyncratic—I can always recognize one of his riffs when I hear it—and John is very skilled at these catchy pop songs. He comes from a singer-songwriter background, but he’s really drawn to these esoteric lyrics. So the two have slightly different perspectives, but since we all flesh out the songs collectively, they hold together really well.”
Part of the joy of playing in the band, Dostanic says, is that their sound is constantly evolving.
“I feel that our earlier writing was more psychedelic, more unpredictable, more off the wall, but we’re tightening it up a little bit, which I think comes with maturing,” Dostanic says. “Our recordings have gotten much more layered and more complex. It’s a much more structured sound now, but it stays true to the philosophy we’ve had since we started the band.”
FRAGMENTS - “Lucidity” opens the EP like a warning call at the theater to take your seats for what’s about to begin, for all intent and purpose, it’s the Elusive Parallelogram orchestra tuning up.
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The Elusive Parallelograms don’t stand still for a second, in fact I don’t know if they ever really ...The Elusive Parallelograms don’t stand still for a second, in fact I don’t know if they ever really even slowdown. Once they have their sights set on something, it’s full speed ahead until they reach their destination. 2013 has been a perfect example of the blitz that is everyday life once you're officially a Parallelogram. In a matter of weeks: Launch a new website.......check; Debut your first ever music video.......check; Write and record your third EP in less than a year..........check that off too. I’m not sure how you feel, but some might call that a fairly productive January.
The driver behind all of this productivity is without a doubt the release of “Fragments”, a six track EP that runs the gambit of tones, beats, and sonic goodness. Having immersed ourselves and praised the previous two EP’s from the Milwaukee rockers (“Habits” & “Spaces"), “Fragments” sounds deeper, bigger, and at times more grandiose than the solid songs on their previous efforts. Its title is fitting based on the variety you’ll find on the album, but it’s not a little of this and a little of that. Every song on “Fragments” has a sound that screams of the effort put into it, Elusive Parallelograms are ‘All-In’ on every track, there’s no fluff or filler.
“Lucidity” opens the EP like a warning call at the theater to take your seats for what’s about to begin, for all intent and purpose, it’s the Elusive Parallelogram orchestra tuning up. Once the noise fades, the light, airy track “Helium” emerges with a building chorus of sound. Keeping with the notion of not lingering in one place for too long, the next tune “Semantics” batters down the door with a Nirvana-esque drum and bass line. It’s easily the grittiest track on the EP and is packed with distortion and a feeling of discontent.
Conversely, the clean opening to “8-Bit” stands out thanks to a quick electronic tempo which explodes into a full bodied keyboard infused chorus. “8-bit” is a catchy, soaring tune that incorporates many of the psychedelic sounds that Elusive Parallelograms have built their band around. Similarly, “Absolution” is fast and laced with great guitar and electric touches throughout. Where it differs is that "Absolution" has a little more vocal focus than the other songs. If there’s one problem with “Fragments”, it’s that lead singer Andrew Foys’ vocals are generally buried down in the mix on most tracks. With his voice, there is little reason to downplay them as much as it feels like they do on the album.
Garnering the most attention from me during my time with the EP was the melodic jam “Street Legal”. Layers of guitars build, interact, and show the way on this almost four minute track. It’s mostly instrumental, the six strings are well accompanied by the same great keys that’ve made themselves known on the earlier tracks alongside a fantastic effort on the drums (especially as the song winds down). "Street Legal" has a fit and finish that demonstrates the depth that Elusive Parallelograms are packing under the hood, it’s as smooth as anything I’ve heard up to this point in 2013.
“Fragments” is the latest journey in the fast paced world of Milwaukee’s Elusive Parallelograms. For most bands, one EP in a 12 month span might be an unrealistic expectation. Knowing these guys, they’re probably already hard at work in their home built basement studio on the next three.
AV Club: Fragments Review (A-) Inventive and impeccably crafted—and easily recognizable as Elusive Parallelograms—this may be the best batch of tunes the band has released yet.
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Fragments A- by Cal Roach January 29, 2013 Elusive Parallelograms Three installments in...
by Cal Roach January 29, 2013
Three installments into a relatively quick succession of EPs (including Habits and Spaces, both released last year), it’s becoming apparent that Elusive Parallelograms (EP for short?) take more naturally to this format than to the full-length record. Both of their LPs, And Everything Changes and Modern Splendor, featured a lot of great songs but no continuity from start to finish—myriads of brief ideas that were individually thrilling but choppy when cobbled together. Even with a minute-long noise track to start things off, the new Fragments EP packs enough dynamic music into five proper songs to feel like a complete, almost epic piece of work.
The key tracks are right in the middle: “Semantics” and “8-Bit.” The former is a two-minute fuzz-grunge blast, washed in layers of electronic haze but propelled by a delirious four-note stomp that serves as a quasi-chorus. The pattern ends the song, as well, in a repetitive sonic bludgeoning that will spin heads. “8-Bit” is subtler, but it also moves along at a brisk clip, a staccato krautrock-ish guitar framework occasionally ambushed by massive walls of psychedelia. The vocals are buried unusually deeply in the mix of this EP; they’re often little more than a background buzz, but it’s only a minor drawback when there are so many interesting musical layers to uncover.
The rest of the record is a bit more laid back, but by no means boring. “Helium” and “Street Legal” are shimmery strolls with memorable hooks and a pleasant ebb and flow of intensity, and the final track, “Absolution,” hearkens back to the prog-y tempo shifting of the last full-length. The song is based on an urgent 3/4 strum broken up for a minute or so by a spacey, soaring bridge, and it reaches almost Zeppelin-esque levels of grandiosity by its howling finale. Inventive and impeccably crafted—and easily recognizable as Elusive Parallelograms—this may be the best batch of tunes the band has released yet.
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