Indie veteran Matt Pond and frequent collaborator Chris Hansen (who perform under the band and stage name Matt Pond PA) have announced a new EP of both covers and originals called Songs of Disquiet. The album, which will be released on Friday, August 7, includes two covers of The Thermals’ 2006 track, “A Pillar of Salt.”
While one version is a more stripped-down, acoustic rendition, the other is a techno-synth 80s-pop take on the original track, complete with a guest appearance from New York singer-songwriter Anya Marina on backing vocals.
This week the artists released a corresponding video for the latter version, which was shot during quarantine on Zoom and also features the likes of Nikkie Glaser, Andrew Colin and Ian Fidance.
Speaking to the original song, Pond says, “‘A Pillar of Salt’ by The Thermals has resonated with me since it was first released in the aughts. I remember disappearing into my headphones— time after time on tour after tour — to help me renew a faded sense of self and waltz in a distant mental state, where good always prevails over evil.”
According to a press release, the eight tracks on the Songs of Disquiet EP were all created through the “convergence of both a global pandemic and a worldwide civil rights movement.” Additionally, the artist collaborations were all produced at a distance and “speak to themes of not only disquiet and unrest, but inner transformation and hope.”
“Pillar of Salt” by The Thermals (below) was originally released on their 2006 critically-lauded album, The Body, The Blood, The Machine. After their first two albums built a dedicated following and saw mild commercial success, The Body, The Blood, The Machine, would prove to be their big break. The record was produced by Brendan Canty of Fugazi and appeared on many top albums of 2006 lists, including those of NPR, Pitchfork and The AV Club.
Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the band formed in 2002 and signed with iconic indie label Sub Pop Records, which ushered the early careers of some of the biggest bands from Seattle’s grunge movement in the early 90s, including Nirvana.
The band ultimately disbanded in 2018 after releasing seven studio albums spanning 16 years.