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Folkadelphia Session: Matt Pond PA

Photo by Sean Hansen, courtesy of Riot Act Media.
Photo by Sean Hansen, courtesy of Riot Act Media.

Back in 2005, I started to hear a lot about this guy Matt Pond and PA, which I guessed was the state he was living in. Ever the curious listener, I decided to find out what kind of music he was making, what the talk was all about, so I picked up the new album, Matt Pond PA‘s Several Arrows Later. For me and many others, this album became the gateway into the rich and textured imagination of Pond. Perfectly crafted melodies, a glimmering sheen around the instruments, and an undeniable energy that keeps you listening (and often dancing) from track to track. It also feels seasonal – we start in the autumn with “Halloween” and end up with the hope of promise of warmer weather in “Spring Provides.” There’s no doubt that throughout the years this album has helped me to inject a modicum of brightness and color into the eternal grey of mid-winter. Thank Pond.
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Studies in Contrast: Matt Pond PA and Laura Stevenson don’t back down at The Foundry

Matt Pond PA | Photo by Matthew Shaver | brightloud.com
Matt Pond PA | Photo by Matthew Shaver | brightloud.com

There was always an interesting contrast in singer and songwriter Matt Pond when he lived in Philadelphia. Under the nom-de-stage matt pond PA, he spent the late 90s and early aughts making albums and EPs of touching, beautifully-orchestrated songs awash in cello and meditative acoustic guitar. But he also came up during the Guided by Voices heyday when crowds at Philly clubs were largely indie-bros who binge-drank and talked loudly over everybody, even the people they were ostensibly there to see. Pond had no patience for that shit, and rightfully so. And over time, the guy who wrote these sensitive, personal songs developed a local rep for being something of an angry and aggressive crank – when, really, he was just dishing back the attitude the crowd was giving him.

Those who were there at the time know how the story proceeded. Pond eventually amassed a local fan base that came for him, not for the scene, but he nonetheless left Philly for New York where his career blossomed in ways none of us expected. He got songs placed in TV and film, developed a strong national profile and released Several Arrows Later, a timeless work that is remarkably uncynical and sentimental, considering that it came from somebody who was at that point nearly a decade into a career on the brutal chew-em-up-spit-em-out indie circuit. He remains a prolific writer and recorder, and after a solo LP – The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand – he revived the “PA” moniker for a run celebrating the 10th anniversary of Emblems, followed up by this year’s State of Gold.

It’s a beautiful record as only Pond can deliver, and his gig at The Foundry in support of it a couple weeks back – rumored to be the final matt pond PA tour – was equal parts moving and rousing. “So Much Trouble” and “Halloween” were immediate winners off the top, and “Love To Get Used” brought the main set to a tremendous close. The proceedings were also, Pond being Pond, a little cantankerous.  Continue reading →

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Matt Pond at Fishtown RiverCity Festival, Betty Who at the TLA, Chill Moody, Swift Technique, and others at Bloktoberfest and more…

Matt Pond | Photo by Michelle Montgomery
Matt Pond | Photo by Michelle Montgomery

This weekend is the 7th annual Fishtown RiverCity Festival, held at Penn Treaty Park from noon to 6:00 p.m., offering fun family activities, food, and live entertainment. As part of the entertainment, singer-songwriter and XPNFest alum Matt Pond headlines. Best known for his calming, smooth indie rock sound that he played for 15 years in his band Matt Pond PA, the New York artist released a solo album proper in 2013 called The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hands. Other acts include The Lawsuits, TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, Ginger Coyle, and more. Tickets and information can be found at the XPN Concert Calendar. Continue reading →

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WXPN welcomes Matt Pond and more to the RiverCity Festival

Matt Pond
Matt Pond | Photo by Michelle Montgomery

Local favorite singer-songwriter Matt Pond – a former Philadelphian based in New York – will headline the seventh annual RiverCity Festival taking place at Penn Treaty Park in Fishtown on Saturday, October 11th.  The free festival, situated along the river off of Delaware Avenue, is stocked with a stellar line-up of local bands, vendors and a 5k run.

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Matt Pond celebrates 10th anniversary of Emblems at Underground Arts

Matt Pond / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
Matt Pond / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

“We’re going to play an album,” Matt Pond tells a Philly crowd in the colorful low lights of a basement room. “And it goes something like this.” The singer and songwriter then launched straight into Emblems’ opening track, “KC.”

It’s been 10 years, down to the month, since the release of the haunting Matt Pond PA album Emblems. And now 5 full-lengths, 7 EPs, 9 singles, and a name strip-down later, the band is briefly slipping back on the “PA” for a May-long, mini North American tour. Coming back to its early roots Friday night, Matt Pond and his band – who were based in Philly once upon a time – celebrated the album’s 10th anniversary with a three band bill at Underground Arts.

First to the stage was Philly’s rising folk rock group Rosu Lup. Backed by strings and light orchestrations, the core trio blends beautiful Americana-esque harmonies with the powerful elegance of cello, violins, and a bit of trumpet. Giving the audience all that they had, Rosu Lup played an ethereal set complete with tunes off of their recent Currents EP, a cover of Matt Pond’s “Brooklyn Fawn,” and a well-received cello solo. Although their inspirations seem to be somewhat eclectic, Rosu Lup’s dynamic orchestrations stitch together a variety of thoughts and sounds seamlessly. I’m not one to catch too many trends before they happen, but this is definitely a band you should keep your ears on.

The Lighthouse and the Whaler / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko
The Lighthouse and the Whaler / Photos by Elizabeth Mazenko

Next, Ohio pop-folk quad The Lighthouse and the Whaler took over the stage with their jaunty tunes and knee-bouncing energy. Touring alongside Matt Pond for the 10th anniversary, the band brought along a violin / keyboard floater who added in a certain oomph to their already-invigorating blend of mandolins, glockenspiels, guitars, and drums. Getting the crowd on their toes while keeping on his own, lead singer Michael LoPresti lead the band through a series of tunes including the title track off of their 2012 album This is an Adventure. With a sound similar to The Last Bison and Lord Huron, this is one band you don’t want to miss next time they’re in town.

Finally Matt Pond took to the stage, humbled that so many fans came out to support the tour and their upcoming happenings. “It’s like ‘people know this stuff?’” Pond tells me bewildered while shaking hands after the show. But when it comes to knowing Matt Pond’s work, Philly knows it to a tee. “I’m going home, back to New Hampshire. I’m so determined. I’m so determined…” the crowd sang long in awe as Pond and his band flawlessly played though the “honest dose of melancholy” album, as Paste Magazine described Pond in 2004. To complete the nostalgic show, the band came back to the stage for a four song encore including “Love to Get Used” from their 2013 release The Lives Inside the Lives In Your Hands.

As a ‘thank you’ to all of his listeners, Pond recently released Skeletons and Friends via Noisetrade. “It’s an album of brightened corners and beautifully incomplete sentences. It’s the structure and skeleton of what’s to come,” Pond describes, which is the perfect way to describe the framework tracks in my opinion.

Check out and reminisce with the photo gallery and set list from Friday’s show below.

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Matt Pond PA returns to Philly for Emblems 10 Year Anniversary Tour

mattpond Matt Pond | photo via artist facebook page | https://www.facebook.com/mattpondpa

It’s hard to believe that an entire decade has gone by since indie alt/rock outfit and formerly-based-in-Philadelphian Matt Pond PA released the beloved LP Emblems; but alas, time flies.

In celebration of this occasion, Matt Pond will reattach the “PA” to his name and play Underground Arts Friday, May 2, joined by act The Lighthouse and the Whaler for the 10 year anniversary. Matt Pond has an armory of albums under his belt, but the acoustically driven, stripped down Emblems manages to strike a sentimental chord that has long withstood the test of time. With ten years of history attached to the record and a whole lot of talent, the show should be one for the books.

Released in 2004, Paste Magazine succinctly called Emblems, “a lush, haunting collection of superbly crafted chamber pop.” His folksie and mopey songs always seemed to touch the right late night chords, both emotionally and musically and to many fans, Emblems is his best work.

Tickets for the Underground Arts show go on sale this Friday, February 21st at Noon. You can purchase tickets here. Listen to the track “New Hampshire” from Emblems below. And in case you missed it, download Matt’s cover of Pink Floyd’s “Green Is The Colour” that he recorded with Andrew Kenny and Chris Hansen.

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Watch XPoNential Fest artist Matt Pond play “Hole In My Heart” along the Camden waterfront for Out of Town Films

MattPondThis weekend, Matt Pond and his band played a rousing set at the XPoNential Music Festival on Saturday afternoon (listen back to it here). When he got done, he caught up with our friends at Out of Town Films, who were camped out around the festival grounds capturing offstage performances by several of the bands on the lineup. Their session with Pond, released today, is the first of five videos they shot over the weekend. From OoTF’s Colin Kerrigan:

As you can imagine, electrical outlets are pretty scarce at music festivals so when Matt Pond asked to do a ‘plugged in’ session at WXPN’s XPoNential Festival presented by Subaru we were a little hesitant. So much so that we told them we’d bring an acoustic guitar for them to play. However, things were a little hectic leading up to the festival and we forgot to bring an acoustic.

Luckily, the guys were cool about our forgetfulness and were actually pretty glad we forgot the acoustic since they wanted to do a ‘plugged in’ session in the first place. We found a little space behind their trailer that had an outlet and set up with an enormous battleship in the background. There, they played us two songs. The first being this song, “Hole In My Heart”. Hope you enjoy.

Watch Pond and guitarist Chris Hansen play “Hole in my Heart” below.

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XPoNential Fest: Matt Pond has a sort of homecoming at the Marina Stage

Photo by Michelle Montgomery
Photo by Michelle Montgomery

Although he took the “PA” out of his name, Philadelphians still crowded the Marina Stage for Matt Pond’s show at the XPoNential Music Festival.  And Pond was equally enthusiastic, softly thanking XPN and claiming, “when I’m excited about things I speak quietly, when I’m lying I yell.”  Other than this, the quartet stuck mostly to playing songs back to back, Matt in his dark sunglasses and white shirt leading the group.  His most recent album, The Lives Inside the Lines In Your Hands, was released last February and his show featured several songs from the album including the pop-rock single, “Hole in My Heart” and the hard-hitting “Love to Get Used.”  Other highlights from the show included “Bring Back the Orchestra” and “Giving it All Away.” See photos of the performance in the gallery below, read the setlist after the jump, and listen to the set in its entirety here (via the WXPN media player).

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The Week’s Best Free MP3s, incl. Khari Mateen, Plow United, Diplo

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Local musician / producer Khari Mateen tossed in a cover of George Gershwin’s “Summertime” to celebrate the season.  Mateen gives the Porgy & Bess aria a funky make-over with staccato string parts and chunky beats.  Fun fact – the lyrics to “Summertime” were written by DuBose Heyward, a relative of local singer-songwriter Heyward Howkins.  Stream and download the cover below.

Two Folkadelphia Sessions this week – first up, an endearing acoustic performance by Laura Stevenson, followed by a rocking & rolling set from Brooklyn’s Plates of Cake.  The spectrum of music represented by these two sessions is Folkadelphia’s mission in action, i.e. presenting a braod definition of what it means to be “folk music.”  Stream and download two tracks below and dig in to the rest here.

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My Morning Download: Matt Pond, playing XPoNential Music Fest, covers Stevie Nicks’ “Wild Heart”

mattpond Matt Pond, who is playing this year’s XPoNential Music Festival on Saturday, July 27, recently released the four song Hole In My Heart EP. On it, he covers the Stevie Nicks song, “Wild Heart,” the title song to Nicks’ second solo album that came out in 1983. The EP also includes an acoustic version of “Hole In My Heart” and the studio version of it from Matt’s most recent album, The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand. Download “Wild Heart” by Matt below. We’ve included the original of the song by Stevie Nicks below to compare the two – if you are so moved to.

Support for My Morning Download, from Flying Fish Brewing Company