If you have a ticket for the sold-out Godspeed You! Black Emperor show at Union Transfer tonight, make it a point to get there for the opening band. Two decades ago, Philadelphia brothers Michael and John Gibbons embarked on the underground “Psychadelphia” movement, gleaning influences from classic psych-rock staples like Pink Floyd and experimental indie punk leaders Sonic Youth to create heavy, droning noise ballads with twists of buoyancy by way of vocalist and flautist Isobel Sollenberger. Today, Bardo Pond’s work fluctuates between distortion-heavy spacerock with fuzzy, layered noise interludes and ethereal, psych/folk-tilted expressions anchored by Sollenberger.
Bardo Pond’s latest self-titled full-length, released in 2010 through the London label Fire, was heralded by Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore as being “one of the coolest records [he’s] heard in a long time.” More recently North Carolina-based label Three Lobed Recordings, which has worked with fellow Philadelphia guitarists Steve Gunn and the late Jack Rose, pressed Bardo Pond’s 4/23/03 collaboration with Charalambides’ Tom Carter on vinyl for the first time and re-released it earlier this year.
4/23/03, and the accompanying 4/25/03 (recorded on that date at the now-defunct Tritone venue on South Street), capture the essence of Bardo Pond that can only be experienced in a live setting, as their devoted fans have discovered. For a preview of tonight’s performance, you can download Bardo Pond’s live set from the 2010 All Tomorrow’s Parties Festival (curated by Jim Jarmusch) over at Free Music Archive and stream their track “Just Once” off of their 2010 self-titled record below.