Australian rockers Pond has been churning out songs full of psych rock tendencies and dense, muscular rhythms since the band first came together in Perth in 2008. Originally conceived as a band where members could come and go as they please, Pond features a rotating cast of musicians, with the current roster comprised of Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, Joseph Ryan, Jamie Terry, and Cam Avery. The band’s debut record, Psychedelic Mango, was released in 2009 and contained the initial evidence of the band’s burgeoning obsession with all things psychedelic (the title being a not-so-subtle indication). But the music on the album wasn’t simply noodly, psych guitar wankery; the band constructed expansive, spiraling psychedelic landscapes that owed as much to their 60’s and 70’s forebears as they did to a more modern indie rock aesthetic.
Consecutive albums – 2009’s Corridors of Blissterday, 2010’s Frond, and 2012’s Beard, Wives, Denim – have seen the band expanding and condensing their meticulously constructed sound at regular intervals, never settling into any single vein of musical thought for any given length of time. This constantly shifting perspective has allowed them to move between genres without the band sounding as though they’re trying to shoehorn in any random influence or disparate musical inclination. There is a refreshing directness in the way that the band perceives themselves and their own place within rock music’s lineage. Pond aren’t trying to reinvent the wheel, but they are doing a damn fine job of making us look at it in wholly unexpected ways.
Recently, Pond frontman Nick Allbrook sat down with Beats Per Minute to discuss a few of his favorite records for our On Deck series. From the wiseass rock of the now sadly-defunct Ween to Outkast’s dense double album Speakerboxxx/The Love Below, Allbrook discusses the influences that he draws upon when making music in Pond – also mentioned are records by The Velvet Underground, The Hives, and Paul Kelly. Check out his full list below.
This was a pretty great time in my life. I was out of school. My parents were in Europe for fucking ages. I was learning to be a fiend. I was at university and the sun was shining. I met a group of really special friends, like Dave Egan (the Badminton Bandit guy) and S.O.B (the Doctopus guy) and Nathan (The Guy) and they taught me some great lessons. They taught me about having fun, laughing, not giving a fuck and loving your buddies. They showed me Ween. REALLY showed me Ween… like, not just putting it on at a party. I mean country driving with subwoofa and bugle styles. Singing “Ocean Man” while jumping off the pier in your jocks. A lot of young folks at that age get caught up in a brooding, grim typa thing, thinking it’s the only way to be socially valid. Thanks to this album and these fellows I never followed that path. “Little Birdy” is still the best song I know for a morning roast. I still laugh out loud on the train.
I feel really bad cos I never really listened to one half of this opus that much. It just didn’t catch me. But when I have it sounds cool. Sorry Mr. Patton.
I suppose this is the album I have listened to more often in its entirety than any other. I got it when it first came out, wet as wet can be for “Hey Ya” like every other teeny shithead in the western world, and it just hasn’t stopped. Just when I think I know it back to front, something else comes out and grabs my balls, or my mind, or my heart. I treat it kinda like some more refined individuals treat Chopins Ballade, gradually developing my appreciation of each song, one by one, and the piece as a whole. It showed me that being a freaked out alien sex fiend could not only be funky, as every Parliament fan knows, but also poetic and heartfelt and remorselessly inventive. Feedback guitars and jazz piano freakouts and fucking hilarious spoken word sections about wanking in aid of population control. And then if you ever run out of interest, there is a massive Homeric life story rap at the end. Just to keep you guessing.
I feel like I’ve said this A LOT so I’ll be brief. I was listening to this on a plane and realized at some point during the “and then I felt my mind split open” part of “Heard Her Call My Name” that everyone else on the plane would think this was the most god awful offensive shit and pull the CRASH lever. I’m sure there’s a CRASH lever. And if they didn’t, they were probably gonna be my friend.
I felt like I was admitted into a club. The fucked up noise loony club. I wanted to make stuff that was weirder than people could handle. Never did, mind you but hey the lesson stands and this is still badass.
Growing up in the Northwest of Australia provided a fairly limited soundtrack, but this was a giant part of it. It gave me that feeling before I knew how to define the feeling. Actually wait, I still don’t know how to define the feeling! Ummmm…you know the one that’s melancholy but hopeful and sentimental for things past and things to come? The one The Flaming Lips have on lock down. Paul has it on lock down. I was walking along a pretty Melbourne street in autumn feeling very fragile and the light was soft and I listened to this and I really really don’t recommend it unless you want to have an emotional breakdown or you are a cold hearted swine. I met Paul at the Community Cup and I felt a very deep sense of completion, sort of a joining of the circle. We cracked a tinny and spoke and departed. It made me think a lot. Nice thoughts, but serious ones. I’m glad I know that he’s as beautiful a person as his music.
I went through a couple of years in high school being so into old school hip-hop. I bought tight fitting Adidas stuff and big glasses. It was all Beasties and RUN-DMC and the like. It was my thing. Then this came out and kicked me in the teeth and that was it. In a puff of smoke the phase was gone and I was on the path that lead me through the next decade, got me a guitar, a band, a life… I guess I owe the lads a fairly solid debt actually.
Pond’s latest album, Hobo Rocket, is out now on Modular Recordings.