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Austin, Texas, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2004 | INDIE

Austin, Texas, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2004
Band Rock Ambient


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Sitcom Star Signals Austin Band's Rise from Dormancy"

When Pam from The Office sends an email saying she likes your music, it's fair to assume someone is messing with you.

"I first saw the email from Jenna [Fischer] at a housewarming party, and thought it was spam," Pompeii singer Dean Stafford explained via email. "After I started getting text messages from everyone in the band, I re-read the email."

Eventually, Stafford and his bandmates realized it wasn't an elaborate prank involving a phone filled with nickels, but an offer to be a part of the soundtrack for a new film produced by Fischer, called The Giant Mechanical Man. The fact that they might be in the company of such indie notables as Mogwai, El Ten Eleven and Pinback only sweetened the offer. Unsurprisingly, the band said yes.

It's not the first time Pompeii's music has been on a producer's short list. Their ringing, clear guitar tones have been utilized to buoy both a Toyota commercial and a handful of MTV shows involving pregnant teens. Stafford isn't shy about his affinity for Explosions in the Sky (who've done some movie work themselves, including songs for the Friday Night Lights film and TV show), but there are less obvious influences. Listen closely, and you'll hear some late-90s stuff like Mineral, Appleseed Cast and Mike Kinsella's short-lived American Football, along with some early Death Cab for Cutie.

In spite of their obvious talents, the band hasn't made much noise around town for the last few years. As Stafford explains it: "The last show we played was during SXSW this past year. Aside from that, it's been sparse, primarily because we wanted a new set with new songs."

Now they're working on their first full-length since 2008's Nothing Happens for a Reason, and you can hear the fruits of their labor tonight at Holy Mountain, where they're set to play some of the new material.

Fellow locals Linen Closet and Searcher (filling in for Tactics) help keep things nice and orchestral. The recently launched New Arrows open. - Austinist

"NPR Song of the Day"

Song of the Day
By Kathryn Yu
"Wide-Open Spaces and Large-Scale Sounds"
'Miracle Mile' by Pompeii

Pompeii injects a bit of force into its chiming, melodic, mid-tempo indie-rock.

Tuesday's Pick
Song: "Miracle Mile"
Artist: Pompeii
CD: Assembly
Genre: Pop-Rock

NPR.org, October 17, 2006 · Of all the musicians aspiring to the grandiose, room-filling pop-rock of Coldplay or U2, few make a lasting impression. But the Texas band Pompeii outshines its many similarly inclined contemporaries by injecting a bit of force into its chiming, melodic, mid-tempo indie-pop.

"Miracle Mile" begins inauspiciously, with the quiet but building drone of sweet guitars over a restrained beat. Singer Dean Stafford comes in somberly alongside chiming guitars as Caitlin Bailey's cello fills in the moments of respite. Stafford's warm tenor sounds sincere and emotive without seeming whiny, though he does bear a striking sonic similarity to Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard. Bailey's cello provides extra texture, and the interplay of the electric bass and her strings gives Pompeii's low end unexpected depth. Full of wide-open spaces and large-scale sounds, "Miracle Mile" gradually turns up the intensity, slowly but inevitably building to a catchy climax.

Sophisticated, shimmering instrumentation and moody atmospherics are rarely executed so effectively, especially by a band this young. With any luck, the ambitious and deserving group will soon land on teen dramas and commercials for bittersweet romantic comedies, where its songs belong.

- NPR.com


The interesting thing about the Austin "scene" is that you may hear about a band for months, but never have the chance to see them due to weird bookings or scheduling conflicts or something similarly frustrating. Such is the case of my history with Pompeii. Cellist Caitlin Bailey made a guest appearance on a friend's record last year, at which point I was intrigued. A rock band with a (at the time) high-school aged girl cellist? I needed to know more. Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to catch a set from Pompeii until November, right after hearing that they'd signed to New Jersey's Eyeball Records, the former home of those nouveau disaffected screamy goth types My Chemical Romance (and who, it must be told, I not-so-secretly like a whole lot). This really surprised me, from what I'd heard of Pompeii, they were more in the vein of thinky-pop like Radiohead, Coldplay, and Death Cab for Cutie -- all three bands' names were thrown around when people were attempting to describe Pompeii's music to me. It didn't seem like they'd fit in at a gloomcookie label like Eyeball.

However, it all came clear to me when I finally had a chance to catch Pompeii's live show. At the time, I was just starting to listen to a lot of New Order again and really immersing myself in New Wave and No Wave bands with tight, striking rhythm sections. And as I watched Pompeii I realized that for the first time, I was seeing a band who was using that ubiquitous (and utterly tiresome, usually) Radiohead influence in the right way -- chiming, lovely guitars and sweet, sad boy vocals and modestly epic and darkly uplifiting lyrics (courtesy of lead guitarist Erik Johnson and frontman Dean Stafford, respectively), over the driving clatter of emo drums (from Rob Davidson) and Peter Hook-ish melodic bass lines (courtesy Shane Stevens) -- all hoisted up by the deep, raspy scraping of Caitlin's cello. I'm hesitant to know what to call Pompeii's music -- because it's not indie pop, or indie rock, or straight up goth or emo. It's all these things, and in the end, I think that's why Pompeii's music is so affecting.

Pompeii has returned from a mini tour and recording session in New York, and play tonight at Emo's with Clap!Clap! and The Lemurs. It promises to be a hella good time. And, if you're so inclined, check out some of Pompeii's songs and new video on their MySpace page. - Depravedfangirls.org

"Tripwire Assembly Review"

Lately it seems that I have been writing about more Texas-based bands than usual. I do tend to keep an eye on the Lone Star State music scene a bit as I like to keep tabs on my former place of residence, but I have to give our own Robert English credit for alerting me to the Austin band Pompeii. This five-piece has only been around for a little over two years, but their debut album, Assembly, sounds like the work of a band that has several records under their belts. What intrigues me is their interesting blend of sounds, including the pop of Death Cab For Cutie, the occasional guitar noise of Sigur Ros, a hint of emo a la Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World and a touch of classical with a cello.

The album opens up with "Ten Hundred Lights," sounding like the joint work of Death Cab and Nada Surf. It is indie pop, it is a tiny bit emo and it is very accessible, yet the shoegazer guitars and strong melodies will appeal to fans of British rock. This song is followed by the title track, "Assembly," featuring a slow build to a dramatic guitar drenched cinematic ending. It has the depth of iLiKETRAiNS and Sigur Ros, but still maintains the glossy shimmering pop of Coldplay.

Frontman Dave Stafford has one of those voices that sounds tugs on your heartstrings, and it should come as to no surprise that he does sound a tiny bit like Ben Gibbard. His range adds some punch to "Numbers," a song that also includes a bit of U2-flavored guitar work. Something tells me that guitarist Erik Johnson has listened to plenty of riffs by The Edge. The addition of Caitlin Bailey's cello to the bridge brings a hint of orchestral beauty to this sprawling mid-tempo number, showing the skill of their musicianship. This five-piece totally knows what they are doing.

Of all the songs on Assembly, "Catalogue" feels like their hit in the making. It encompasses the previously mentioned influences into a tightly packaged pop gem, one that I could totally see on the soundtrack of Zach Braff's next film. Don't knock it, as I bet you have the Garden State soundtrack somewhere in your collection. Pompeii's debut is a well-crafted collection of pop songs that are mighty hard to resist. I suggest keeping this Texan band on your radar.

By Chip Adams Oct 11, 2006 in Reviews, Music
- Tripwire.com

""4 Stars" Alternative Press"

Austin,Texas-based indie popsters Pompeii are frequently compared to Death Cab for Cutie,with the musical aesthetics of Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky, but the quintet transcend such influences on their latest, Nothing Happens for a Reason. The key to the band’s sound is cellist Caitlin Bailey, whose rich string tones add immeasurable beauty and warmth to the songs, nicely balancing the sparkling-clean guitars and singer/guitarist Dean Stafford’s Ben Gibbard-esque tenor. There’s also a subtle emo vibe, with standout tracks “What Kind of Future,” “Ready/Not Ready” and “Pillars” suggesting a debt to Jimmy Eat World and Dashboard Confessional, making Pompeii’s sound intriguingly difficult to define. Stunning throughout, there are many things to love about Nothing Happens, whether you prefer to kick back to Sigur Rós or Straylight Run. - Alternative Press


After a fantastic and highly underrated debut album, Pompeii is back and better than ever. The sophomore effort Nothing Happens For A Reason eludes a dim light on happiness but is made up for it behind the music. The opening track Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads starts with an ever so building ambient emotional guitar tones that kicks into an onslaught of instrumental delight. The song is kind of a false impression as it makes the listener expect that type of sound on the new record. Don’t be fooled this song is one of the only tunes like that on this record and one of the best o may add.

The album continues after the intro with the typical Pompeii sound but with better production and better songwriting. The band has grown immensely, displaying a more mainstream type of sound while keeping their original indie rock vibe. I hear elements of Copeland, Death Cab for Cutie and still the band displays that raw indie sound. The songs are great and could definitely be on a major label. The production is crisp and clear and the tones on the album are perfect.

Although the album title is a little depressing in itself, the music stands strong and this band shows they can be on top of the indie scene. You can tell the guys have been hard at work on this album perfecting their sound. If you liked their debut or any of the aforementioned artists then give Pompeii a shot. You will surely not be disappointed. - Melodic.net

"Some Assembly Required"

Pompeii: Some Assembly Required
Feature: 08.17.2006
Pompeii, hailing from Austin, TX, is an emerging band that recently picked-up some notable attention at SXSW. Their debut record Assembly, will release in early October from Eyeball Records, a label more commonly known for launching My Chemical Romance and Thursday.

When I first listened to this record I have to admit, I was a bit apprehensive. A sort of "here we go again" came into my mind. I thought for sure I was going to be subjected to one more contribution to the brooding indie scene guitar-laden songs that are soft, melodic, heart-felt and bittersweet. Well, I was. All those adjectives did come to mind, however, I didn't find myself immediately turning my face to cringe as if the band could see my expression being beamed through the wires in my CD player.

To my delight and surprise there was more here than another set of tracks suited to the perfect teen prom slow-dance. (Though I did find that as a soundtrack album Pompeii would be great for some montage of boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy contemplates the events in a café.)

With only two short years together, Pompeii have already burst through the record industry floodgates. Somehow, they managed to find each other is the busy Austin music scene and create a foundation that an earthquake couldn't shake (if there were earthquakes in Texas). They are friends, business partners and family members, and these life experiences have shaped their sound by incorporating everyday life into their lyrics. As it goes, the more you've gone through in life, the more complete a picture you can paint, thus, Pompeii creates images that invoke a tight sensibility and familiarity. One can't help relate to the sorrow and joys that the songs speak about, as memories are brought back, and sighs are generally heard across the room.

There is a deeper than surface sound that emanates from this five-piece ensemble. Pompeii's Assembly is complex with waves of '80s sounds, experimental noise, and voluminous strings mixed in with serious and down-to-earth lyrics a concoction that proves to be both touching and haunting at the same time.

The majority of this album is all about lost loves and letters, like in the title track "Assembly", leaving the arms of home in the song "States and bit of a light at the end of the tunnel concept in the track Catalogue. It's true Pompeii does touch on subjects that most other artists do, but they do it with a removed and real perspective. It's a calm, "big picture" approach to the broken heart, and to venturing out to find a new home. Pompeii leaves you with the feeling of Yes, I've been there, and I get it.

No, this sense of familiarity is not due to some constant comparison to Death Cab for Cutie which I almost hate to mention here. (Yes, Pompeii's lead singer Dean Stafford has a similarly high-pitched voice and, yes, there are jangly bass and guitar hooks served up by Shane Stevens and Erik Johnson. Caitlin Bailey, the only gal in the group, plays the cello and Rob Davidson rounds out the pack on the drums. They are talented musicians, and song writers.) What music doesn't borrow from elements from the past and present? Despite what general comparisons of malaise and confusion you might find in the stories they tell, you won't hear it in Pompeii's arrangements and performance.

Pompeii plays the kind of music that quietly seeps into your emotions as your ears fill with reverberating sounds of high and low. They're a band that is proving to be inventive and passionate two things that any art form can thrive from having in its collection.

-Catherine Rigod - Catherine Rigod

"American Songwriter 4 Stars"

Band bios are usually as reliable as thos fawning, lying and long-suffering girlfriends, but Pompeii's bio actually contains an apt description: "elegance and eloquence." These emphatic double e's clearly refer to frontman Dean Stafford's "pretty sad dude" voice and Caitlin Bailey's cello- maybe the only one in the Lone Star State. This accomplished quintet- tighter than the exit door at the bath house on that eventfully dark day back in 79 A.D.-earns points with the indie rock and emo crowd for their mellow, mid-tempo symphonic sadness sure to induce knowing nods...but zero mosh pits. Obligitory comparisons include Death Cab for Cutie and Coldplay but also 80's BritPop. Young lust lousey is the predominant theme on this solid 10-for-10 smartly performed debut. They came. They saw. They kicked ass. Gently.
-BILL LOCEY - American Songwriter Magazine

"AbsolutePunk.net Absolute 100"

From your warm barstool, you watch a new band take the stage. You've never seen them before but their opening chords ring in clear and true and damn good. An instant connection between the ear and the instinct, this will be the band in which you rave testimonies. Here at ABSOLUTEPUNK.net, we like to provide you with that same tummy-filling. After we report the news and churn out the reviews, interviews and exclusives, we are here to serve you up with more music to obsess over. That being said, here are 100 blazing up and comers that we, the staff of AP.net, are losing sleep over. Caught between a rock and the big time, these 100 are aimed for a 2007 killing in potential alone. We toast our glasses to them, and to you, hopefully, for giving them a chance.
-Julia Conny

One of our favorite bands on Eyeball Records, the underrated distributor of bright and nearly brilliant acts that will probably never get the recognition they deserve, is Pompeii. It's simple and special indie in the vein of Death Cab For Cutie, and 2006's Assembly saw a gentle but persistent following, especially among critics. On "Numbers," the mourning cello and muffled snare snap the listener into a sort of hypnotic glare. Pompeii not only entertains but also creates moods and feelings that dictate how each track and tone can journey a soul. Assembly available through Eyeball Records. - AbsolutePunk.net

"Austin American-Statesman"

These Austinites are fairly young, but nonetheless their lives were changed by the sort of big-bore, British guitar rock from the 1980s that launched a thousand distant gazes. Pompeii seems more than a little familiar, with the atmospherics of early U2 and Echo and the Bunnymen. (Or is it those bands' heirs Coldplay and Built to Spill whom they dig?)

They're also on the record label best know for launching the careers of Thursday, who have a relationship to '90s punk similar to the one Pompeii seems to have with top '80s college rock. Can a jump to a major label be far behind? "Assembly" sure sounds ready for the big time, in production values if not totality of hooks.

Either way, Pompeii isn't exactly the first to add classical instruments to a rock band line-up in order to confer sophistication upon otherwise somewhat generic, slick-sounding indie rock/pop, but never let it be said the trick doesn't work. Caitlin Bailey is wise to let her cello color songs more than lead them, but take it away and everything sounds entirely too removed, which is not a good sound for a band so determined to tug at heartstrings. Someone get them on the soundtrack to a Zach Braff movie, pronto. - Austin American-Statesman

"Austinist Review of NHFAR"

Pompeii Nothing Happens for a Reason (Eyeball)
With their follow up to 2006's debut, Assembly, Austin's Pompeii pulled out all the stops. Produced by C.J. Eriksson (Jack's Mannequin, Rocket Summer) and mastered by Gavin Lurssen (Cat Power, Kings of Convenience), Nothing Happens for a Reason brings the young band into a much bigger space. They're still confidently mixing elements of big-room emo with more subdued indie-pop (the comparisons to Jimmy Eat World and Death Cab for Cutie aren't without warrant), but they've also warmed up to some heavier territories, revealing influence by bands like Explosions in the Sky and Sigur Ros. "Where We're Going, We Don't Need Roads" is practically an ode to Explosions, with slowly building crests underpinned by cello and delicate keys. Vocalist and guitarist Dean Stafford's voice is pop perfection, lilting around both the heavier moments and the softer ones with ease. It's hard not to mention how wonderful the guitar tones on this record are, particularly in the careful dueting between electrics in "Ready/Not Ready." There are moments when the addition of strings seems superfluous, but beside the rest of the songs, any of which could easily be a stand-out single in mainstream pop radio, that's a small complaint. Pompeii will be touring this winter in preparation for SXSW 2009, and at La Zona Rosa on Friday to celebrate the release with the Soldier Thread. - Austinist


(2006) Assembly
Released: October 10, 2006 (Eyeball Records)
Recorded at The Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, NY
Producer: D. James Goodwin (Murder by Death, Thursday)
Producer: John Congleton (St. Vincent, Explosions in the Sky) *Catalogue
"Miracle Mile" NPR's "Song of the Day"
"Interlude (for Smith)" Featured on MTV's "Sixteen and Pregnant"
"Ten Hundred Lights" featured in commercial for Toyota
Radio airplay: "Numbers" 101X, KUT, KVRX
Album stream on Pandora Radio
Live performance on KUT's "Radio Without Borders"
"Interlude for Smith" and "Miracle Mile" featured on MTV's "Sixteen and Pregnant" (2010)

(2008) Nothing Happens for a Reason
Released: October 21, 2008 (Eyeball Records)
Recorded at The Wire in Austin, TX
Producer: CJ Eiriksson (U2, Jack's Mannequin)
Album featured in all US Apple retail stores
Radio airplay: "Rabbit Ears" 101X, KUT, KVRX, 105.3 The Spy
Album stream on Pandora Radio
Live performance on Mix 94.7's "JB & Sandy Morning Show"
"Where We're Going We Don't Need Roads" featured on MTV's "Teen Mom 2" (2011) and in the film "The Giant Mechanical Man" (2012)



Pompeii's signature sound of weaving delicate ambient openings into large dynamic crescendos is unmistakeable. The band is back from a five year hiatus with their third and most striking record to date, LOOM. Often compared to the likes of My Bloody Valentine to Sigur Ros and Mogwai, the band's sound still remains their own - atmospheric and effects driven. LOOM was engineered by Erik Wofford of Cacophony Recorders (Explosions In The Sky, Okkervil River, My Morning Jacket) in Austin, TX and mastered by Jeff Lipton at Peerless Mastering (Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, The Magnetic Fields). The foursome has also enlisted the help of the Tosca String Quartet for this latest release to round out their unique melodious sound.

Formed in Austin, TX in 2004, Pompeii has since been performing and recording music both in their hometown and around the world. The band consists of Dean Stafford (vocals/guitar), Erik Johnson (guitar/keys), Colin Butler (bass) and Rob Davidson (drums). Pompeii's first two albums, Assembly(2006) and Nothing Happens for a Reason (2008), were released on Eyeball Records and garnered much attention from film & television placements. They have received international attention and critical acclaim from outlets such as American Songwriter Magazine, Alternative Press, NPR, Apple, and MTV. LOOM, a stirring, symphonic and poignant effort, will be released on Red Eye Transit Records on October 14th, 2014.

Band Members