dropped the horn and taught himself how play guitar in college,
forming a band with cellist and core member Jim Hostetter. Since
then, Matt Pond and Co. (now there's a better name) has recorded
a handful of CDs including two full-lengths on indie label Polyvinyl
Records, and solidified a permanent line-up that includes Hostetter,
Drummer Mike Kennedy (Lefty's Deceiver, Audible), bassist Matt Raisch
and guitarist Jim Kehoe (both from the band Rhode Island) and cellist
Eve Miller (ex-The Rachel's).
"I'm not the brains,
I just write the songs," Pond said. "I mostly oversee
things, but kind of leave it to everyone else to come up with their
parts. I hum certain things and they come up with things and we
argue through parts and figure out where we're at. That's the best
part of the whole thing -- I can come up with something and then
everyone else can elaborate on it."
On The Nature of Maps,
the band's most recent full-length released last October on Polyvinyl,
Pond and his band harness the eclectic instrumentation to weave
a subtle tapestry around his warm, throaty vocals. Their music has
been compared to chamber pop outfit Koufax and label mates American
Football, but as a whole their sound is more reminiscent of laid-back
Girls Can Tell-era Spoon or tuneful Karate. Pond's summer-day
melodies resonate like a carefree skip through a park at night,
the cicadas replaced with tinkling keyboards and bouncing vibraphone.
Even when they try to
rock, like on the CD opener "Fairlee," short burner "New
Kehoe, NJ," and Cars-like New Wave ditty "A Million Middle
Fingers," they can't help but sweeten the power with a kicky
tambourine, surf guitar or that ever-present, kite-soaring cello.
This is feel-good music that comes back to you when you close your
eyes after the CD stops.
Since The Nature of
Maps' release, the band has been on the road doing "a lot
of ineffectual touring."
"We've toured during
spring break, during bad seasons and bad weather," Pond said.
"We'll play to 300 people one night and only a handful the
next. Selling records is harder these days because of the Internet.
Touring is really the only thing left anymore. You can tell that
half the people that see us play don't own our records but have
gotten them somehow, probably off the Internet, which is fine I
guess. People come out to the shows, but we want to at least survive
Six people in a van driving
cross country would drive most people to the verge of homicide.
Not Pond. "I love it," he said. "I don't think I've
ever gotten along or fought with so many people. We don't even mind
the long drives."
Published in The Omaha Weekly-Reader April 16,
2003. Copyright © 2003 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.
hate the name. The sound you hear on the CD and on stage is
the band, not just me."