Growing up I desperately wanted to work in radio. Not Top 40/AOR radio; I had worked in that in high school. It was all nepotism but the radio station trusted me enough to hang around on the weekend overnights and spin Rod Stewart and Mariah Carey. No, I didn’t want any of that. I wanted college radio; you know, rubber-meets-road, new artists, cutting edge, all that jazz. So when I went to Keene State College in the fall of 1997, it was with a bag full of CMJ CD’s and a vision towards a better musical tomorrow.
Of course, that was in another time. In a time when The Mighty Mighty Bosstones were black market angry material, when the worst ghetto rap lyric any ears heard was “All I wanna do is a ma zoom zoom zoom and a boom-boom.” In a time after Kurt Cobain had died but before he was canonized like Lennon. Nope, that was another time entirely; another time for me as well! Even I have my limits. I’ve been taken in, roughed up, chewed up, made small, treated like a rubber ball and now I’m just like everyone else.
I preface with this confession because I’ve known matt pond PA (1) for some time. matt pond PA has been in my record collection since 1998. But my rapid fall from college radio grace and the divergent turn my life’s taken in the years hence has made his music all but inaccessible. Truth be told I only had one song of matt pond PA. One song in a collection of several thousand. In fact it was on one of those same CMJ CD’s that I have matt pond PA’s “Fortune Flashlight.”
In a random desktop mix yesterday I came across this song again. I was sure I’d heard it on late nights driving or in previous moods when I’d only been halfway paying attention. “Hey, I should check out this artists work,” only to be wrenched from my momentary enjoyment of the rushing, urgent psychedelic synth and string arrangement to the droll of the everyday. But yesterday it was with renewed ears and new attention. Rather than lose the song once again to the chambers of recent forgotten memory, I took the time and listened to the song again. And again. And again. 21 times, or so says my iTunes.
The matt pond PA lyric on this song “Fortune Flashlight” is obviously a very young one but still offers a fresh perspective. “The simple part is, I haven’t changed; everything else is not the same. It’s all on you and you don’t know why.” But the energy is real and the anticipation is as apparent as anything.
It turns out that matt pond PA has been earning raves among the cultured music critics for years now. My recent review of their latest work, “The Dark Leaves” only further informs my appreciation of this one song from many years ago.
matt pond PA are one of those groups anyone who appreciates folk, pop, and rock should check out.