Dirty Impound Questionnaire

Pontiak

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Pontiak

Pontiak

Very few bands create more texture and sheer, tangible feel in as short a space as Pontiak, a trio of Virginia-born brothers who are inarguably one of the finest heavy guitar-bass-drums outfits currently kicking up a mighty dust, made all the more powerful for their flair for inspired brevity. While past works have cemented them as kin to Retribution Gospel Choir, Built To Spill and The Meat Puppets, Echo Ono (released February 21 on Thrill Jockey) moves beyond the beatifically befuzzed vibe and into sharply carved compositions that sacrifice nothing in volume and heft but gain bunches by the more upfront vocals, intriguing lyrics and general focus. Reportedly leaving behind the puzzle piece creative methods of earlier releases, Echo Ono moves along steadily and forcefully, holding the listener in its benevolent grip or tossing them skillfully into the expanding, color-flooded sky. Psychedelic is a word that fits (at times), but shorn of any hipster stink or cliché licks. With Pontiak the world just warbles with mercurial shine and flexibility, at times burning hot and at others calm and contemplatively smooth, but always in steady command of what they’re trying to get across. At nine tracks and a running time just over a half hour, this album is a richer, fuller experience than many compatriots could manage with double the time and band members, a release that confirms Pontiak’s place amongst the top tier of modern rock bands utilizing the same old tools to forge work of strange intimacy and sometimes-epic proportion, all touched by a winning cosmic elegance.

We fired off DI’s signature questionnaire to guitarist-singer Van Carney set to the band see what they had to say to our inquiries.

1. Great music rarely happens without…
…ahhhhhhh…
2. The first album I bought was…
The Raw and the Cooked by Fine Young Cannibals. Ha ha ha, I think I was ten and “She Drives Me Crazy” sounded pretty cool at the time.
3. The last song or album to really flip my wig was…
I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight by Richard and Linda Thompson. I had known songs off the album for years but never actually listened to the whole album. It’s raw, evocative and just plain awesome.
4. When I was a kid I wanted to grow up to be…
Probably some sort of vigilante, then when I realized how hard a business that would be, I chose a musician.
5. My favorite sort of gig is…
The kind where you have a bit of time to check out an amazing city before sound check, have a great dinner with fantastic wine, and play on a stage that can handle how loud our stage sound is without getting a ton of feedback, then having a bit more wine and going to bed.
6. One thing I wish people knew about me is…
I love gardening.
7. I love the sound of…
Dvorak’s Ninth Symphony. In terms of things that sound awesome, it’s up there.
8. One day I hope to make an album as fantastic as…
Roberto Bolano’s 2666
9. The best meal I ever had on tour was at…
A tiny restaurant in Pescara, Italy. It was mind blowing. There was a set menu, four courses, everything was from scratch. There was wine, grappa and espresso. The meal lasted three hours. Then, we played a show.
10. I always find the coolest audiences in…
The coolest places.
11. The worst habit I’ve picked up being on the road all the time is…
Scratch off lottery tickets.
12. Led Zeppelin or Radiohead, which flips your switch the most and why?
I’m going to have to say Led Zeppelin, though I have always loved Radiohead. There’s Howlin’ Wolf and Link Wray in Led Zeppelin and I like that.
13. The craziest thing I ever saw was…
Two dudes dressed like Rob Halford pushing a Victorian perambulator with a Chihuahua inside who was also dressed like Rob Halford.

Pontiak – Royal Colors from Thrill Jockey Records on Vimeo.