Matt Pond PA
Although originally formed as a chamber pop quintet, matt pond PA went through several different lineups throughout its existence, with each incarnation revolving around the talents of singer/songwriter Matt Pond (previously of Mel's Rockpile). Pond formed the group upon relocating from New England to Philadelphia, and he filled out his first lineup with guitarist/bassist Josh Kramer, cellist Jim Hostetter, violinist Rosie McNamara-Jones, and drummer Sean Byrne. The band debuted in 1998 with Deer Apartments and won top honors in an unsigned bands competition sponsored by online retailer CDNOW. A sophomore effort, Measure, followed in 2000 and garnered comparisons to a stripped-down version of the Cure, while the I Thought You Were Sleeping EP appeared in spring 2001. By the next year, the band shifted its roster to include drummer Mike Kennedy, bassist Matt Raisch, guitarist Jim Kehoe, and cellist Eve Miller, alongside Pond and Hostetter. A third album (and the band's first release for the Polyvinyl label), The Green Fury, was released in spring 2002 while Pond also took on duties writing music for the Oxygen Network. The Nature of Maps followed several months later, marking the band's third release in two years.
In 2003, Pond relocated to Brooklyn and began piecing together the strongest lineup of matt pond PA since its inception. Brian Pearl (guitars/piano), Dan Crowell (drums), and Daniel Mitha (bass) joined Pond for the recording of Emblems, which was released on Altitude in May 2004. Concerts with Keane and Ted Leo & the Pharmacists followed through the end of the year. Prior to releasing their fifth full-length album, the band issued a seasonal EP, Winter Songs, in January 2005. Several Arrows Later followed in October, marking the debut of cellist Dana Feder. Tour dates with Liz Phair and Guster also coincided with its release. In early 2006, Mitha departed matt pond PA and was replaced by Steve Jewett. A limited-run EP, If You Want Blood, was released the following summer, and the band returned with a new full-length album, Last Light, in September 2007.
For his new album, Pond holed himself up in a cabin outside of Bearsville, New York, with producer Chris Hansen and several guest musicians. The result, The Dark Leaves, was released in 2010, and additional material from those cabin sessions found its way onto several EPs, including the digital release Auri Sacra Fames. After fronting the band he shared a name with for over a decade, Pond dropped the "PA" from matt pond PA in late 2012. Working again with collaborator Chris Hansen, Pond recorded the first album to be issued under his own name, The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand, released in early 2013. The band took to the road shortly afterwards, performing a ten-year anniversary tour in support of the album Emblems, playing the album in its entirety. Coinciding with the tour, the band successfully appealed for funding for their next album, and The State of Gold was released in 2015. That album's robust, shimmering pop production was scaled back somewhat on their 2016 follow-up, Winter Lives, which included a few more acoustic-oriented offerings. ~ Jason Ankeny