Stateside Presents

JUKEBOX THE GHOST / MATT POND

JUKEBOX THE GHOST / MATT POND

LIGHTHOUSE & THE WHALER

Tue, February 26, 2013

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Crescent Ballroom

Phoenix, AZ

$12.00 - $14.00

Tickets Available at the Door

This event is 16 and over

JUKEBOX THE GHOST
JUKEBOX THE GHOST
The appeal of a modern, on the rise indie band like
Jukebox the Ghost is simple: They write catchy songs. On
top of that, they're dynamic, skilled musicians. The band's
records are carefully structured, yet wildly diverse affairs.
And the live show? Energetic, crowd-pleasing, cathartic.
The Philly trio's new album, produced by Peter Katis (Interpol, The National) and set for release this fall on Yep Roc, highlights
all of these elements over 11 tracks, each one leaving its own unique sonic footprint. But constructing and arranging the songs
to their full potential took years of preparation, both on the road and in all of the basements, houses, hotel rooms and studios
where the songs were born.
"There was never a lull in songwriting, even when we were touring." explains guitarist/co-vocalist Tommy Siegel. "We went into
the studio with 25 nearly-finished and arranged songs, and we put a lot of time into crafting each one. It was a conscious effort
on all of our parts to mature as a band."
Since their 2009 debut, Let Live and Let Ghosts, a sunny, piano-led explosion of pop exuberance, JTG has logged hundreds of
shows and thousands of hours on tour – all of which helped the guys develop the patience and perspective needed to deliver a
more intricate and serious second record.
"Sometimes, in the past, we were received as being this bubbly and jumpy and happy group," says Ben Thornewill, Jukebox's
pianist and other vocalist. "But this record seems like we're sounding more thoughtful and personal. Besides, you're going to
think and write differently after 300 shows. People change, different things happen to you, you get some new influences, and
the way you do your songwriting and arranging is going to be different."
"It's not wrong to say we're fun, upbeat guys," adds Siegel, who stayed upbeat during the album's recording despite scheduling
it around vocal surgery—a by-product of spending two years on the road (note: post-surgery, Tommy is fine). "But we're real
people, we've had real troubles, and all of that's going to affect us. Besides, I think the 'happy-fun' label was a bit of hyperbole
– I mean, half of the songs on our first record were about the apocalypse."
Originally formed during university in Washington D.C., Jukebox the Ghost (the name's an amalgam of Captain Beefheart and
Nabakov references) won accolades for that first record, Let Live and Let Ghosts, which Spin Magazine called "a refreshing
reminder that the lighthearted electricity of a fantastic pop song is still filled with live wires." The band – Thornewill, Siegel and
drummer Jesse Kristin – jelled quickly, despite their disparate musical backgrounds in everything from classical piano to prog to
indie to 80s Brit-pop. Collectively, the group delivered an unabashedly upbeat, playful sound with a sly dark streak (see: the
aforementioned apocalyptic lyrics). JTG's pop sensibility is still on display on the new record, but now rounded out with more emotional heft and an expanded
musical palate. For starters, there's an emergence of synths, most notably on the Phoenix-like opener "Schizophrenia." (Says
Thornewill: "I was such a classical pianist for a long time that I was sort of against using them...and then I started fooling
around and realized how much they could open up our sound."). Elsewhere, the album veers through gorgeous AM radio
throwbacks ("The Summer Sun"), Beatles-esque twists and turns ("Mistletoe") and even a little prog-rock in "The Sun," "The
Sun (Interlude)" and "The Stars," a three-part "philosophical/cosmological pondering" by Siegel that's actually quite...danceable.
"Doing dance beats wasn't natural for us," admits Siegel. "But we had done a cover of New Order's 'Temptation' a little while
back, and every time we played it our fans went crazy. So I think that really influenced us to try something new on here."
With one exception on the new album ("Carrying"), Thornewill and Siegel tend to write songs on their own, with Kristin serving
as an unofficial producer during the arrangement sessions. Although the two writers differ in style--"Tommy's songs are highly
imaginative and story-like while Ben's tend to be more emotional and reflective," says Kristin--several of the new tracks play off
of each other, lyrically and thematically. Common threads, both accidental and purposeful, abound --- From the concepts of
"nobody" vs. "everybody" ("Nobody" and "The Popular Thing"), insanity (Ben's track "Schizophrenia," Tommy's song "HalfCrazy.") or even sun imagery (Ben's "The Summer Sun," Tommy's "The Sun.") (For more explanations on the songs, see the
band's track-by-track commentary, included below).
Helping to round out Jukebox's sound this time out was producer Peter Katis, best known for his work with Interpol, The
National, Fanfarlo and other, decidedly less-animated rock groups. "There's simplicity about the records he's done that we love,"
says Kristin. "And we thought, given his affinity for melancholy, dark music, he could bring a balance to our songs." Katis kept
the sessions loose, giving the record a vibe closer to their live sound. As the drummer notes: "He let the music be what it was,
and didn't substantially change the structures or melodies, which we really appreciated."
As for the Beatles fixation of the record (like "Nobody," which Thornewill calls their "most McCartney-esque song"), the band
gives some credit to their adopted hometown of Philadelphia, where the group relocated to from Washington D.C. on a whim
after their first record. "The music scene here is amazing," says Siegel. "A lot of bands here, like Dr. Dog, have a heavy Beatles
vibe going– I think that made us realize that it's OK for us to wear our influences on our sleeves a little bit."
With new songs and a new direction in hand, JTG plan to spend the next year on the road, hopefully matching the 300+ shows
the band did between albums one and two. It was out there, with the likes of Ben Folds, Adam Green (Moldy Peaches) and Ra
Ra Riot , and appearing on festivals like Lollapalooza and a jaw dropping performance of "Schizophrenia" on the Late Show With
David Letterman, where the group built up a fervent, wide-ranging fanbase. "Our growth as a band has been from word-ofmouth and just being on tour," says Siegel. "We seem to attract everyone from hipsters to parents to kids to college students. It
never ceases to surprise me."
Besides delivering a raucous live show, one other thing will stay constant with Jukebox the Ghost, newfound maturity or not --
the lack of a bass player. "That's how we started," says Kristin. "And we take a lot of pride in coloring every section of every
song just with the three of us. We've sort of proven to be a successful oddity without one."
MATT POND
MATT POND
Matt Pond has already accomplished what fewrarely do. A career musician with a die-hard following that continues to grow with each album, and a resume that includes the title song for a motion picture soundtrack, a long running Starbucks holiday commercial with a hook that's always stuck in our heads, selling over 100,000 albums to date; his success is matched only by his prolific outpouring of talent. But Matt takes those things with a grain of salt, in 'Lives' he shows us what's really important.

With the new album, The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hands, MattPond is stepping forward with striking honesty and humbling optimism and delivers his strongest work to date. And with this transformative record comes some distinct changes- removing the 'PA' that has accompanied his name for nearly a decade, his first official 'solo' release, and partnering with newlabel and longtime publishing partner, BMG Rights Management.

Matt Pond is able to slough off the dead skin, radiantly revealinghimself in his purest form- a feat many artists strive for, but rarely accomplish. The change symbolizes more than just coming out as an official solo act, it is also perhaps a symbol of letting go. Letting go of the places he's called home; he no longer belongs to Pennsylvania, or Brooklyn, or even thecabin in Bearsville, he is distinctly free from any earthly chains and whatremains is just Matt Pond. His final frontier is to "run wild within our clear blue minds" ('Human Beings'). The graceful departure gives Matt Pond both the freedom from, and acceptance of the limitations of being alive. The result is 'The Lives Inside the Lines in your Hands'.

'Lives' is an upbeat antidote to the pessimistic shift in the collective consciousness. It's an ode to the bittersweet reality that we are human, we are finite, and we are flawed. But in each song on this album, Matt Pond sources the beauty in all of it, even when it's not pretty, and delivers an indie rock album that's brimming with authenticity; Pond captures the sentiment perfectly in "Starlet": 'I know I know there's so much I don't know'. The album's first single "Love to Get Used", is a notably playful departure from what we've seen before. "Let's hang on to abandon and hope we lose control" Pond insists in the uptempo indie-pop track, "to be out in the open baby and let go of the ropes".

…And let go, he does. In a free-fall of spirit, Matt gets to the core of his own humanity, and we can't help but listen intently to see what he finds, because after all, it can sometimes be a frightening journey, a risk many of us aren't willing to take. "Hole in My Heart" strips down the frivolities and formalities that water down most songs about heartbreak, leaving us with a chillingly accurate, almost childlike description of the pain it causes, and a glimpse into the places he's stumbled in his own journey, when, as he puts it, "with eyes closed we dove into unknown". In the end, "The Lives Inside the Lines in your Hands" is a triumph against the paltry conditions we've all been forced to reckon with as a society. When times are tough though, art flourishes, and 'Lives' is ademonstration in how Pond is transcended by his art. "Someday I'll stop breathing," he says, "but I'll never stop singing."
Venue Information:
Crescent Ballroom
308 N. 2nd Ave.
Phoenix, AZ, 85003
http://www.crescentphx.com/