matt pond PA

matt pond PA


matt pond PA has been making sincere, polished indie rock music for 10 years. On its newest album, Last Light, the band sounds more raw and more tangible than ever before, without ever losing sight of the influence of nature that has always informed Pond's lyrics.


Matt Pond isn't looking for trouble, but he won't back down from a good fight – the most recent being his latest album, Last Light. If this were an action flick, we'd open on a vigilant Pond, wresting the steering wheel from anyone who wishes to drive him off a cliff. See, this is the first time he's accepted a lead role – that of Producer – and it may just be his best yet. It goes something like this:

We flashback to 2004: After the release of Emblems, Pond's body is found, in song, behind a hotel. Now, three years later with Last Light, he's kicked the coffin wide open. As incongruous as a eulogy at a baptism, Last Light is the absurdity that blankets our grandest efforts, along with the undeniable instinct that is survival – a field of paranoia and a flood of self-medication that, somehow, remains fertile. Musically, it displays Pond's newly formed reverence for those who are English (Pulp, Blur, Idle Race) as well as a lasting dedication to those who are timeless (Elliott Smith, The Kinks and Neil Young) – thus revealing the connected distances between soaring strings, feedback and a solo acoustic guitar.

It all begins with the title track – a grinding, rollicking preamble to the journey before us, and the fear that comes with it. Riding a lively swell of chaos – sounding not unlike Spiritualized getting, well, spiritual in Appalachia – "People Have a Way" follows as a pulsing denouncement of apathy. Mirror-house regard meets familiar themes of nature and changing seasons in the sweetly-strummed, piano-littered "Locate the Pieces," while the gliding force of "Honestly" takes a swing at disbelief as a forceful string arrangement chops unremitting at the space around it. Close on its tail is the redolent "Taught to Look Away" – a waltz-like duet (co-starring Neko Case) that questions the opposing act of belief. Elsewhere, warm feelings of despair thread throughout the jaunty handclaps of "Sunlight," driving guitars of "Basement Parties" and ephemeral reflection of "Until the East Coast Ends." "The Crush" and "Giving It All Away" explore the cathartic release of frustration while angular guitars jab under precisely delivered lyrics. Finally, the trip concludes with the sparing desire of "It's Not So Bad At All"– a gentle, self-reassuring mantra of simple hope.

Last Light dragged Matt Pond back and forth across the country – from Brooklyn to Bearsville to Los Angeles to Tucson to Manhattan (There remain rubber tracks on the Sunset Strip where he beat himself and everyone else at the standing stoplights. "The trick is to time the green with the walk signal…"). Along the way he was introduced to an amazing cast of supporting characters, including Neko Case, Kelly Hogan, Isobel Sollenberger (Bardo Pond), Rob Schnapf (Elliott Smith, Beck), Taylor Locke (Rooney), Lance Konnerth, Jane Scarpantoni, Mike Stroud (Ratatat) and Thom Monahan (Pernice Brothers, Lilys).

The prequel: Matt Pond PA is Pond's attempt to create an egalitarian event despite knowing better (see: Easy Rider, or just review the band's history). Over the years, Pond slowly weaved his way from Pennsylvania to New York, releasing a string of albums that sought to redefine leaves and leaving. The critical success of Emblems (2004) and Several Arrows Later (2005) scored mpPA a place on Conan O'Brien's stage and in every O.C. fan's iPod, not to mention excellent tours with Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Keane, Liz Phair and Guster. And, despite the tragedy that is stolen gear, mpPA has also managed many successful headlining tours. All of this as band members and producers periodically fell from the late season trees. It is impossible to know who slipped or who was pushed, but Pond currently holds on alongside his friends "slash" greatest contributors: Dan Crowell (drums/keys/guitar), Steven Jewett (guitar/bass), Matthew Daniel Siskin (bass) and Chris Hansen (keys/guitar).

The story isn't over. But the fight, for now, has been won. And though Matt Pond is a vegetarian and an ex-smoker, he'd still like to light up and eat a steak in the final scene. After all, we should all be able to choose our last suppers.


"Sunlight" (Single, 2007)
Last Light (Altitude, 2007)
If You Want Blood EP (Altitude, 2007)
"So Much Trouble" (Single, 2006)
"Halloween" (Single, 2005)
Several Arrows Later (Altitude, 2005)
"Snow Day"/"Holiday Road" (Single, 2006)
"Snow Day"/"Holiday Road" (Single, 2005)
Winter Songs (Altitude, 2005)
"Lily Two"/"Golden Brown" (Single, 2004)
Emblems (Altitude, 2004)
Four Songs EP (Altitude, 2004)
The Nature of Maps (Polyvinyl, 2002)
The Green Fury (Polyvinyl, 2002)
This is Not the Green Fury EP (Polyvinyl, 2001)
I Thought You Were Sleeping EP (File 13, 2001)
Measure (File 13, 1999)
Deer Apartments (Lancaster, 1998)

Set List

Some typical songs performed at a matt pond PA show:

Halloween, So Much Trouble, Several Arrows Later, Closest (Look Out), Lily Two, KC, New Hampshire, Measure 3, Basement Parties, Sunlight, People Have a Way, Taught to Look Away, Last Light

The typical set is about 60 minutes, but could be as short as 45 minutes or as long as 90 minutes.