Matt Pond PA

Matt Pond PA

Matt Pond PA

What’s in a name? In Matt Pond PA’s case, not all that much, actually. For starters, the PA suffix, short for Pennsylvania (as one might have reasonably assumed), doesn’t really hold much water since the band’s move to our neck of the woods a year and a half ago. And the first part? Well, despite another altogether-no-too-unreasonable assumption, the band’s lead-singer and principal songwriter (some might perhaps go so far as to say ‘singer/songwriter,’ we however will do our best to avoid such pigeon-holes) Matt Pond insists that the group is not a solo project, a fact that not even a post-move lineup shakedown could alter. “It is indeed a band, no matter how many times people quit,” Pond told Ink 19, seated in a Brooklyn park, enjoying the first rays of post-winter sunshine. “I’m sure more people will quit and more people will come. It’s just one of those things.”

After his New York move, the band’s membership went through a complete upheaval, maintaining only Pond and cellist Eve Miller, who commutes from old PA for band practice. “We dropped her off at the train yesterday, after the tour, with five bags, and her cello. I don’t know how she carried it all, but I guess she did, because she’s home.” Still, despite these instances of blatant false advertising, Pond offers no apologies, “People tell us how stupid our name is, and I tell them they’re right.”

Last winter, Pond and crew lent their name to the Snow Day EP (the first record recorded entirely with the group’s newest incarnation), which boats no fewer than four covers, drawing from the back catalogues of Neil Young, Richard and Linda Thompson, Lindsey Buckingham and Neutral Milk Hotel’s Jeff Mangum. Pond explains the record’s genesis thusly: “we were on tour and had all of these days off, and got to stay at this place in Woodstock. We actually sang songs around the campfire, and it came about like that. It just really started happening that way.”

The sing-alongs maintain the group’s signature arrangements, the weaving together of the cello and violin in soft indie rock formation, tying into the records embrace of the winter lulls. Even Buckingham’s “Holiday Road,” best known to the world as a theme from National Lampoon’s Vacation gets the snowdrift treatment, images of Chevy Chase dancing in the listener’s head.

When not playing shows or hanging out in Brooklyn parks, the band can be found in the studio, putting the final touches on a new LP. When onstage, just don’t hold your breath for any of those covers. “I don’t like playing other people’s songs live. I know I won’t do them the justice that they deserve. We were with a band last night, and they were doing a cover of The Band. They asked us to come up onstage and sing with them, and I was like, ‘no way.’ I just won’t do it.” Those in search of a cello-driven indie rock cover of “Up on Cripple Creek,” it seems, will just have to look elsewhere.

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