From The Desk Of matt pond PA: The Sundays

The 11th matt pond PA full-length, Winter Lives, features artwork that evokes Windham Hill’s catalog. Winter Lives arrives 11 years after Pond’s nearly all covers EP, Winter Songs. Pond, a New Hampshire native, understands the season that inspired Winter Lives, but he needed to write winter songs in the spring, so the album would arrive in context. Given his background, Pond didn’t scratch down too far to find inspiration. “It’s just visceral,” he says of winter. “There’s this coldness and shut-down emotional temperament to people in northern places, but when you get through that, there’s so much depth and reality to northern people.” Pond will be guest editing over the next two winter weeks. Read our new feature on him.

Pond: Reading, Writing And Arithmetic was always my late-night go-to on the New York subways. Although I love a good cardboard crown, I don’t want to go down as the king of disenchantment. It’s just that there’s a distinct feeling to riding in an empty subway car after an Interpol show/uptown wedding/Union Square movie/bookstore reading/bad improv/bad date/surprisingly mindblowing comedy. Perhaps it’s banal baloney—these were my best-loved moments. There was no one—in or outside my mind—to summon self-consciousness while I swung round the shiny germ-infested poles and soft-shoed the slowdowns into the stations. It was my own bittersweet musical. Reading, Writing And Arithmetic, angular and awkward at times, sparse and melodically searching—Harriet Wheeler pulling it all together with her powerful, delicate voice, her powerful, delicate lyrics. “It’s that little souvenir of a terrible year, which makes my eyes feel sore.” And in that sense it makes sense. Simple realities are sung, strung with that balance of heartbreaking belief, the modest beauty of the mundane. Sad subway songs for the over-zealous, overgrown misanthropes.