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
Jukebox the Ghost is a band of musical survivors, a decade-strong trio that has carefully considered how to make a lasting statement while grinding out more than 150 shows a year. With their new self-titled album, Jukebox the Ghost unmistakably makes that statement…in the form of a big, lovable pop record. Jukebox the Ghost may be the tortoise in the race, but they’ve slowly, steadily made their way to the top.

Ben Thornewill, Tommy Siegel and Jesse Kristin had tossed around a few names for the album title between themselves but none expressed the confidence they had in the new material as much Jukebox the Ghost. Everything is clicking on Jukebox the Ghost: the intricate rock arrangements are juxtaposed with juicy sing-along choruses, and the whip-smart, searingly honest lyrics are delivered with beaming confidence and irresistible warmth. By looking at themselves in the mirror—Thornewill calls the album a “self-evaluation,” while Siegel describes it as a “reinvention” – Jukebox the Ghost has come up with its strongest album to date, and easily its most accessible.

Jukebox the Ghost was released on October 21, 2014 on Yep Roc Records. Later that year, after hearing “The Great Unknown” in a movie trailer for 2014’s hit The Judge, Martin Kierszenbaum’s daughter brought the band’s new record to his attention, and in early 2015 he signed the band to Cherrytree Records, his successful imprint known for releasing juggernaut pop artists like Ellie Goulding, Disclosure, Feist, and more. Cherrytree will reissue the self-titled album with a special bonus disc in February of 2015.

“After the work and care we put into the songs, in choosing them and arranging them, by the time it was finished, we all came around to feeling like this record is who we are,” says pianist-vocalist Thornewill.

Instead of hurrying through the follow-up to 2012’s Safe Travels, the trio took its time piecing the track list of Jukebox the Ghost together, coming up with 50 demos over a 10-month period. There was only one goal, and it was uncompromising: to mine the best songs of the group’s career.

“Even after the song selection was done, we really took a closer eye at the arrangements than ever,” Siegel says. “As a result, the instrumentation is a pretty big departure from anything we’ve done before. We tried to step outside of the guitar-drums-piano box and do whatever textures seemed to fit for each individual song.”

Jukebox the Ghost is the band’s fourth album, its second produced by Dan Romer (A Great Big World, Ingrid Michaelson), and its first with additional production by Andrew Dawson (Kanye West, fun.). Unleashing more catchy melodies in its first six tracks than one might expect to hear from a career pop artist’s entire catalogue, there is ample proof on Jukebox the Ghost of how fierce the paired songwriting powerhouse that is Ben Thornewill and Tommy Siegel, combined with Jesse Kristin’s razor-tight and musical drumming, has become after years of road and studio experience. Trading multi-song suites and theatrical turns commonly featured on previous Jukebox records for the song format it knows best, Jukebox the Ghost’s self-titled album is curated as an unapologetic pop record start to finish. Yet, one hears the band taking bold risk and adventure.

While lead single “The Great Unknown” soars with anthemic rock adrenaline that stays close to the band’s long-honed piano-rock sound and has seen the band’s highest success at alternative radio, the songs “Made For Ending,” “Sound of a Broken Heart,” and “Postcard” all take a different direction and combine the band’s power-pop composition with R&B and hip-hop flair. Punchy drum samples and rhythmic synthesizers cast glitter upon Jukebox the Ghost’s ever-strong songwriting core on Jukebox the Ghost, making it the band’s most modern-sounding and ambitious work. On “Girl” singer-pianist Thornewill showcases his soulful vocal ability, powerful as ever, crooning over a steady mid-tempo number flush with snaps, a bass groove, and little else. The track “Postcard,” produced by Andrew Dawson, throws Thornewill’s confident vocals and punchy piano performance against a backdrop of lush synths and hip-hop-inspired grooves to create something truly new for the band. Uncharted territory doesn’t stop there.

The nostalgic acoustic anthem “Long Way Home,” features guitarist-vocalist Tommy Siegel and Thornewill trading lead vocals, an alternating-lead-vocal style used for the first time on a Jukebox the Ghost record. If that isn’t enough new ground, for the first time, drummer Jesse Kristin provides lead vocals on “Hollywood” over a lounge-jazz piano prelude that quickly descends into punchy pop distinctive of the band’s past, but through a considerably new lens. Amidst so much studio experimentation, one of the most groundbreaking and exciting steps for the band while making this record, was (somewhat counterintuitively) playing less. Sparseness reigns supreme on the haunting vocal-and-Rhodes showcase “Undeniable You” and on the crushing album-closer “Show Me Where It Hurts,” the latter of which features just Siegel’s vocals, Thornewill’s piano, and a heartbreaking string arrangement by producer Dan Romer reminiscent of his score for the Oscar-nominated film Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Jukebox the Ghost arrives after years of accruing a diehard following while remaining one of the hardest-working live acts in music. The group’s quirky songwriting and breathtaking performance skills have led the trio to share stages with Ben Folds, Jack’s Mannequin, Motion City Soundtrack and Guster, while being one of Yep Roc’s lynchpin artists since signing to the label in 2010. Jukebox the Ghost has dazzled on big stages, such as when the group rocked The Late Show with David Letterman, showcasing the vibrant pop-rock workout of “Schizophrenia” on late-night TV. The band recently returned to late-night TV where they performed the song “Postcard” off of the new self-titled album on Conan.

After nearly a decade of incessant touring, recording, and hard work to establish a passionately devoted fanbase, Jukebox the Ghost has finally given its ghost logo, sketched during the first hours of the band’s existence, the album cover of its proudest effort yet.
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