Popular Music is the Melbourne-based cinematic duo of Zac Pennington (née Parenthetical Girls, Xiu Xiu) and composer Prudence Rees-Lee. The name is literal.

Their debut LP is Minor Works — a widescreen record written for the end of time, and the first Pennington-penned album in a decade. Recorded across three continents, Minor Works’ ambitious productions were pieced together in sessions between Los Angeles, Melbourne, Moscow and New York — with percussion by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier, contributions from celebrated composer Jherek Bischoff (Angel Olsen, Xiu Xiu, David Byrne), plus a 17-piece Russian chamber orchestra conducted over Zoom (no, really).

Live, Popular Music strips back to electro-pop efficiency — deploying a small arsenal of analog synthesizers for maximum melodramatic effect. 

Bookings: thisispopularmusic@gmail.com

Instagram | Bandcamp | Soundcloud | Spotify | Substack

Selected Press

“One of the year’s most inventive, hypnotic concept albums” — The A.V Club

“Truly astounding… [Minor Works] exists in a realm inhabited by Sparks and Destroyer’s storied and theatrically minded lyricism with hints of Scott Walker and Gary Numan. Quite simply, there is nothing minor about this work.” — The Quietus

“Beautifully ornate pop with a haunted heart” — Bandcamp

“Popular Music seem to have not just created a soundtrack, but a whole world… there remains nobody quite like them and they’re all the more intriguing as a result.” — For The Rabbits

“If you get the chance, go see Popular Music – they’ll squeeze your heart and then they’ll set fire to it.” – Rocksteady Records

“[Pennington]’s voice remains as unmistakable as ever.” — Brooklyn Vegan

Zac Pennington

Songwriter/performer Zac Pennington has spent nearly two decades charting a strange and singular path through the arteries of independent pop music. As founder and creative director for the musical group Parenthetical Girls, Pennington self-released four critically acclaimed full-length albums, supported by extensive touring throughout Europe and North America. 

He has toured as a member of the experimental group Xiu Xiu, and has shared stages with David Byrne, Rufus Wainwright, Perfume Genius, Devendra Banhart, Dirty Projectors, Deerhoof and more. His works have been performed at art institutions like the Guggenheim, the Getty Museum, REDCAT (Los Angeles), and St. Ann’s Warehouse (New York City), as well as numerous international arts and music festivals, including the Donaufestival (Vienna), Primavera Sound (Barcelona), Intersecciones (Spain), PuSh Festival (Vancouver, B.C.), Bumbershoot (Seattle), New Island Festival (NYC), and PICA’s Time-Based Arts Festival (Portland). 

Prudence Rees-Lee

Prudence Rees-Lee is an Australian artist who divides her time between Melbourne and Los Angeles. A classically trained cellist, her work seeks to unite her interest in popular song, synthesis, and experimental technique. 

As a songwriter, she has released two full-length LPs of baroque pop — Court Music From the Planet of Love (Special Award Records 2013) and Growing Closer (Eastmint 2019), each to critical acclaim in Australia. Her recorded output also includes experimental soundscapes (Stereophonic Experiments in Magnetic Tape and Circuitry, 2020), orchestral scores (Inner Voices, 2022), and multichannel installation works (Crystal Universe and Beyond Nature, 2022).

She has also worked extensively in theatre, most notably as a composer and performer for award-winning LA-based company Four Larks. Her work has been supported by The Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio, Flor De Sol (Bolivia), The Getty (USA), New Music USA, and more.