Union Transfer


Jukebox The Ghost

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Jukebox The Ghost

Matt Pond, The Spring Standards

Fri, March 15, 2013

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Union Transfer

Philadelphia, PA


This event is all ages

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
RIYL: Rogue Wave, Margot & the Nuclear So and So's, Nada Surf, The Frames, Pedro the Lion and Sebadoh

"'Infectious' is a term that's often overused in album reviews, its meaning diluted by the number of albums it's meant to define. But Matt Pond PA's new EP... fulfills the true connotation of the word: The melodic hooks on each of the disc's five tracks becoming increasingly compelling with each listen. Spring Fools is a pause between the band's last disc, 2010's The Dark Leaves, and what will presumably become Pond's ninth record later this year or early next... It's an EP you'll want to put on repeat." 4 stars - Alternative Press

"Spring Fools puts a heavy folk spin on the usual Matt Pond PA sound... (The new EP) swings heavy into Wilco-inspired alt-folk... and blends it perfectly with the classic Matt Pond PA indie feel." - Verbicide

"This five song EP by matt pond PA is, to put it simply, really catchy. I can't stop tapping my foot and bobbing my head, and after just one spin the songs are becoming familiar... It's short and sweet and a staple for your next backyard barbecue. Set it on repeat and I'm betting it won't get old." - Pop Wreckoning

"There aren't many bands around that manage to create music as good as this." - All Music Guide

"Matt Pond PA knows a thing or two about chamber pop." - Billboard
The Spring Standards
The Spring Standards
The Spring Standards have been told many things about their music since their start in 2008 – it makes people feel warm inside, it touches painful places. It’s simple and sweet yet dark and utterly confusing. They’ve been called folk, pop, rock, Americana, indie and everything in between – sometimes all over the course of a 45-minute set. In spite of this, The Spring Standards are far from a band in the midst of an identity crisis. They are not trend-chasers or bandwagon riders. They are honest-to-goodness troubadours who let their music guide them, dutifully following wherever it might lead.

For 3 kids who grew up together in the woods and creeks of the Delaware/Pennsylvania border, their shared memories take them down winding back roads to starry open fields on quiet summer nights. They learned James Taylor covers in their parent’s garage and played small side stages at local folk festivals while other kids their age were doing way cooler things. Their love of music was the tie that always bound them to each-other, and making it together quickly became the lifeblood of their friendship. It’s that connection that has carried them through ups and downs, in and out of one another’s lives over the years and miles, to this moment in Brooklyn, NY as they prepare their third independent release.

The Spring Standards are taking more risks than ever before with their new album, a double EP entitled yellow // gold. In it, the band explores the two contrasting sides of their musical identity.

yellow is a 7-song disc filled with warmth and melancholy, with tunes that tell stories of hope in the face of longing and loss. It harkens back to their roots, drawing inspiration from the music they grew up with and those things that first drew them together – the simple magic of voices raised in harmony, the beauty of acoustic instruments.

gold is a 5-song battle cry from some dark secret place, full of frustration and excitement, tension and relief. These songs invoke urban landscapes and dingy rock clubs, long stretches of deserted highways from Orlando to Seattle, the honking horns and screeching trains of New York City. They are pulsing and frantic, desperate to be heard and understood.

When juxtaposed, these two EPs capture the energy of a band in a moment of significant growth and self-realization. A band that’s not afraid to throw out expectation and follow their instincts into uncharted waters, trusting that their beloved listeners will take the leap of faith along with them. And that faith is well-founded, given that this is the second fully fan-funded album The Spring Standards have released. The support they’ve received from their growing fan base has allowed them to stay fully independent, an invaluable gift that encourages them to take risks and continue growing well beyond their comfort zone. They fully embrace the symbiotic nature of that relationship, and cherish the unique connection they’ve been able to cultivate with fans near and far.

yellow // gold was recorded over the course of 2011 at Sounds Like a Fire Studio in Ditmas Park, Brooklyn. It features some of Brooklyn’s finest and a lot of delicious food was eaten during its creation. It will be released in May 2012.
Venue Information:
Union Transfer
1026 Spring Garden St.
Philadelphia, PA, 19123