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Matt Pond PA 

With the New Amsterdams and Rocky Volotary. Monday, August 4, at the Grog Shop.

Matt Pond has a frog in his throat. It's a slimy, bloated thing, and Pond is in constant struggle against it, twisting and contorting his voice to push his songs past the obstruction. The melodious bleating that results is instantly disarming -- the sound of a man who woke one morning to find the world's hardness lodged in his craw. And from the tone of Pond's lyrics, you can tell that the larynx-blocking frog is just one of the crosses the Philadelphia bandleader has to bear.

Matt Pond PA's best release, 2002's The Green Fury, is all lonely streets in frozen cities. In "This Is Montreal," Pond reduces the romantic Canadian city to the injuries sustained on its icy sidewalks, while in "Copper Mine," he details a frigid, used-up mine next to "rusted cars on blocks with no windows." Throughout the record, the only real warmth comes from the fission of decomposing relationships, as when Pond sings, "We've stayed together despite our rows/ And we're holding back so we won't explode," in "Measure 13." Isolation has rarely sounded so powerful.

Speaking of Previews

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