May 24th, 2023
Sometimes, a change of view can transform a person’s world. On ‘Don’t Come Down’, the artist formerly known as Matt Pond PA can be found with his “shoulder on the concrete” of a pavement, scoping out the world anew. This granular realignment of perspective serves as an open door to the debut album from The Natural Lines. At once clearly Pond’s work yet a huge leap forward in its measured song craft, melodic immediacy, collaborative detail and wryly questioning lyrics, the result is a gorgeous album of intimate reflections from a relocated, renamed, revivified talent.
We caught up with The Natural Lines at our NYC store for our newest session of Shoplifting. An invitation to roam the racks in pursuit of the recorded material which has most inspired and shaped their sound today.
Hilary James: Frankie Cosmos Vessel is one that I picked out. I’ve been obsessed with Frankie Cosmos for so long. The next one is Ross Gay Dilate Your Heart. A bunch of different artists did music support for his poems and it’s just so beautiful. I also played on one of them, it’s gorgeous and I think everyone should listen to it and read Ross Gay. My final one, no shame in music, is Harry Styles‘ Harry’s House. I love it. You can’t not be happy listening to pop music.
Matt Pond: I’m Matt Pond, and this is Dan Ford. And you’re going to help me with my choices, too.
Dan Ford: OK.
MP: This is Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers Damn the Torpedoes. I don’t think anyone just in terms of songwriting style is like Tom Petty. I’m just somehow stuck wanting to write songs like him. If I could write Tom Petty songs I would have done it. Weyes Blood’s Titanic Rising just blew me away. I mean, there’s nothing like it. Growing up I listened to Carole King. This record is just so beautiful and then it’s so dark and troubled at the same time. Like her imagery in her videos is pretty perfect. She can be exactly who she wants to be and as a musician that’s like the hardest thing to be. Real and true and fucked up at the same time. I want that.
DF: The Cure Disintegration. Yeah, I just think that it’s one of the best albums of all time. Like, sonically, it’s just amazing. Songwriting wise, it’s just been hugely influential for me.
MP: I fell backwards into it through “Love Song.” I was just driving around with my redneck friends and this came on and it kind of started to change my world.
DF: Then you hear like 20 seconds of it before your friends change the station.
MP: You find things like that and then you have to hide them under your bed.
DF: Lock them in your heart.
MP: Yeah, lock them in your heart and listen to them secretly. But yeah, just how, again, it’s the same thing. How kind of screwed up and wide this album is and how it just really connected.
DF: This is one of the records that really helped me kind of figure out a lot about myself through listening to it. It was just like, oh, this is the kind of stuff that makes me happy. But some people are like no that’s sad. But, this makes me feel really good.
MP: I love albums that you feel like they really thought of it as a piece.
DF: Tears for Fears, Songs from the Big Chair. This is one of the first bands that I really recall hearing or paying attention to when I was in elementary school and probably this album in particular, I think I was like 6 when this record came out. But somehow it cut through my parents wanting me to just be a Christian and just listen to classical music. Somehow I just heard this, probably on the radio, and it just really stuck with me. Pretty Hate Machine by Nine Inch Nails. Probably a couple years after I was hearing Tears For Fears, I started listening to Nine Inch Nails and it really helped me find my place. A lot of music has just helped me sort of realize who I am and what I connect with and I got to be, I got to start feeling kind of sexy when I started listening to Nine Inch Nails.The last one is Oingo Boingo Boingo and I think this is the last one that they put out. I started getting into Oingo Boingo right about when this came out andI learned about Oingo Boingo through loving Tim Burton movies and then learning about Danny Elfman and then learning about Oingo Boingo. So this was maybe even like the first Oingo Boingo record that I had and then I worked backwards from this one.
John Courage: My first pick is Abigail Lapell Stolen Time Deluxe, who’s a songwriter out of Toronto. I did a co-bill tour with her last year and I am completely floored by her writing and her vocals and her performance. I think that she’s 100% destined to be an all time classic sort of underground artist from Canada. She’s just an incredible writer. This new record is really, really good. My next pick is Karate Unsolved and this was sort of a seminal indie band for me because of the kind of boundary pushing guitar work that’s in that band. There’s a lot of heavy jazz influence and the records have been out of print since like the early 2000s. So I got into Karate just through a series of, like, burned CD’s and mixtapes that friends would pass around. It was kind of also one of my first music and cannabis experiences together, like hotboxing a friend’s car and putting on this record, and it just absolutely blew my mind. My last pick is Mdou Moctar. Mdou are kind of widely known now as like the new Guitar Hero rock out of Niger. I got a chance to see them live last year and it was absolutely mindblowing, a total face melting performance. The whole band is incredible. The music is mostly improvised. They can turn on a dime and flip the beat around and everybody in the band is an incredible performer and the rhythm section just blew my mind.
Leave a Reply