Throughout the 30 year history of the Chicago, IL-based Poi Dog Pondering, the band has developed a reputation for crafting a sound that’s purposely difficult to pigeonhole as their material has drawn from rock, dance music, classical orchestration and acoustic singer/songwriter confessionals, and for being relentlessly experimental in their songwriting and aesthetic approach. And they’ve managed to do this while going through a number of lineup changes — over the years, the band can claim 15 different members.
As the band’s frontman and founding member Frank Orrall mentions in press notes, this approach was deeply inspired by his earliest years in Honolulu, HI. ” . . . we really only had one good Live Music/Disco/ Club: The Wave. It was a Punk Rock/New Wave Club from 9 to 2am, then a Gay Disco from 2am to 4am. Everybody mixing it up and having fun. You could hear everything from Iggy Pop’s “Lust for Life,” to Loose Joints‘ “Is It All Over My Face.” I’m super thankful for that eclecticism. Music for dancing is like an elliptical orbit, it’s always around me, but sometimes it swings in real close and sweeps me along full force for a while.”
Poi Dog Pondering’s eighth full-length effort, Everybody’s Got A Star is slated for a September 18 release, and the album’s first single “All Saints Ascension” sounds as though it draws heavily from late 80s and early 90s house music and neo soul; in fact, thanks to the cascading keyboard chords and the call and response chorus, the song is uncannily reminiscent of Stereo MCs and Brand New Heavies but with subtle differences as “All Saints Ascension” is much more atmospheric — thanks to swirling electronics and guitars and feedback played through delay and reverb pedals. And perhaps an even bigger difference is the song’s earnest and confessional lyrics, in which the song’s narrator openly admits his own frailties and uncertainties while being an upbeat, playful come on. Simply put, it’s a shimmering, club ready song but with an earnest, thoughtful, soulful heart at its very core.
The band will be on tour to support the new effort, including a three night residency at the Vic Theatre in Chicago. Check out upcoming tour dates below.
September 12 Valparaiso Popcorn Festival (Valparaiso, IN)
October 03 Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Fest (San Francisco, CA)
October 16 Vic Theatre (Chicago, IL)
October 17 Vic Theatre (Chicago, IL)
October 18 Vic Theatre (Chicago, IL)
October 23 City Winery (Nashville, TN)
October 24 Blueberry Hill (Duck Room) (St. Louis, MO)