The Pantones | Sleepless Nights, Silent Mornings

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Rock: Americana Pop: Power Pop Moods: Mood: Intellectual
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Sleepless Nights, Silent Mornings

by The Pantones

The Pantones are the self-professed leaders of a movement they've coined americana.indie.pop.
Genre: Rock: Americana
Release Date: 

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1. Sly Betrayal
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4:05 $0.99
2. The Ghost Of Jonah
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4:26 $0.99
3. Cabin By The Lake
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4:41 $0.99
4. Comfort And Hope
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5. Whippoorwill
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6. Apprehension
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3:21 $0.99
7. Blue To Overcome
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5:57 $0.99
8. Lost And Found
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9. Hurtful Accusations
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10. Little Forgiveness
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11. Even Though It Was Dark
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12. This End Of The Phone
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13. Footsteps Left On Snow
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
In the summer of 2003 I renovated and moved into a house that had been my great grandparents home for nearly 70 years. My great-grandmother had died in 1968 and my great-grandfather lived another 35 years in the house all by himself. And, now I was living in that same house. As I began writing new songs, I noticed that they were all built around a theme of early death and spousal separation. Everything I wrote seemed to be focused on this theme. While the songs on Sleepless Nights, Silent Mornings are not directly based on my great-grandparents, I can’t help but feel there is a very strong connection between living in that house and writing these songs. There was never any intent to make a record based on these ideas. They just sort of came to me. I would sit and just write for a while and when I took a minute to look at what was on the page it almost always revolved around the idea of a marriage ending early because of a death.

These songs are not a history of my family, nor are they even based on events in that history. What this record really is to me is an example of twisting the idea of a love song. Taking the idea of love and making it something more than just sentimentality and romance. Adding the depth and character of real day to day life to it. There is heartbreak in this record and there’s triumph. I think the real story of these people and the power of these songs is in that stuff.

This record also marks the first official release where the band is billed as The Pantones. In 2000 I put out “Cosmic Americana” which was billed as a solo record. Then, in 2004 I released “Memory Is All” under the name Matthew Carlson and the Pantones. This time, we’ve have decided to take a more unified approach. David Baldwin has been involved since the making of “Cosmic Americana”, collaborating with me on both of the previous records. In the fall of 2004, we teamed up with Jacob McCarthy, Joel Kuiper (both of whom are also in the Gentleman Callers) and Paul Delamater (also in Dirt Road Logic) and within just a few weeks it was obvious that we were on to something special.

A myriad of influences appear in the thirteen songs on “Sleepless Nights, Silent Mornings”, but it really feels to me as though the sound and aesthetic of the record is unique and original. I think we have found a way to combine our influences and tendencies into something that’s our own sound. We use a lot of the same tricks of the trade as any other band might, but we’ve found a way to put our own face on it. Those influences and tricks have conjured up comparisons to Wilco, The Jayhawks, Neil Young and many more. And, it’s wonderful to be mentioned in the same breath as people you admire, but at the end of the day you don’t want to be the band that sounds like some new version of another band. You want people to be excited because you sound like something they’ve never heard before, or because your songs speak to them in some unique way. I hope that we have been able to accomplish that with this record.

Matthew Carlson
November, 2005


Reviews


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Josh Steichmann, Electric Current

joyous in summer and longing in the winter
1235 with touches of 157 and 2718 (uncoated), The Pantones play warm and mellow pop, adding depth with touches of steel guitar and analog keyboards behind AM radio harmonies and lyrics of love and redemption. Think Sloan swapping exuberant Beatles for late-period Byrds, music that seems joyous in summer and longing in the winter. It's easy to fake that moment where the melancholy breaks and a ray of recovery comes through the clouds, but the Pantones seem to just naturally be in that mood.

Lansing State Journal - Chris Rietz

Pantones' 'Sleepless' CD showcases a full-blown song band
The Pantones are still singer-songwriter Matt Carlson's band, but in "Sleepless Nights, Silent Mornings," his just-released third album, the "Matthew Carlson and the" prefix has been dropped for the first time.

It's a statement - the Pantones have a set lineup now. In addition to Carlson and his longtime multi-instrumentalist sidekick David Baldwin, the Pantones feature Baldwin's violinist wife, Mary, former American Cosmos guitarist Paul Delamater, who seems to have found a more comfortable zone with the pedal steel, and the Gentleman Callers' rhythm section: drummer Joel Kuiper and bassist Jacob McCarthy.

Carlson's wistful, reflective songs are still the main event here, but the Pantones of "Sleepless" are a full-blown song band only hinted at in last year's "Memory Is All," with plenty of listener-friendly hooks and some genuine rock-n-roll energy.

A cutting instrumental break in "Sly Betrayal" sets the tone on the opening track, and "Ghost of Jonah," the false ending in "Apprehension," the extended finale of "Blue to Overcome" and the thick grunge chords of "This End of the Phone" all rock hard. The Hollies/Turtles Brit-pop groove of "Lost and Found" - complete with horns - is a highlight.

"Whippoorwill" is the CD's "hit single," in that it features a bite-sized, singable melody and an irresistible guitar hook from Baldwin. "Cabin by the Lake" is classic Carlson: lonesome, quietly emotional and weighted down with regret.

Matt Carlson's singing voice is somewhat small and plaintive, but he seems comfortable in it, and he never tries to take it places it doesn't want to go. His signature confessional writing style is of a different stripe from conventional pop songcraft - it's hard to imagine anyone else covering these songs, for example.

But most of all, it's the reinvented, polished-without- being-slick Pantones band sound that makes "Sleepless" the breakout CD for Carlson, and - for all the right reasons - is likely to deliver his songs to a much broader audience.

CD Times

New album from The Pantones which is self-made, self-released and rather good
There's a moment of dread when you put on a record like this and read the associated information; self-made, self-produced, self-released. There's usually a reason why a band can't get a record company to put out their record - it's poor, sub-standard and sounds like it's been recorded in someone's toilet. However, there's always a case that's the exception to the rule and The Pantones debut record is one of them.

With all the hype around the Arctic Monkeys and the way they used the internet to spread their music, it sometimes doesn't register that other bands have been doing this and releasing records by themselves for a lot longer. In this case, why no-one hasn't caught onto these guys is a complete mystery. Perhaps not making music that is inherently fashionable may have something to do with it and the inability of PR companies to find something to spin this into so that music magazines can put on their front cover.

However, they've decided to become the self-confessed leaders of Americana-indie-pop and I can't think of a better way of describing this myself.



Ploughing the fertile fields of alt-country and Americana with their music echoing their obvious influences of The Jayhawks, Wilco and The Pernice Brothers but there is also, in my mind, influence from our shores in the name of The Smiths and certainly the lyrical quirks and story-telling ability of Morrissey. What struck me most about this record upon listening to it was the novel-esque quality of the songs, each of them creating clear images in my mind with a real emotion edge. Matthew Carlson, lead singer and writer, has said that he didn't set out to record songs like this, it just flowed from him and it must have come from some deep, subconscious space for this kind of connection. Dealing with lost love, depression and loneliness they may not be the most cheery of lyrics, but it somehow gives you hope. There's small notes of triumph in each of these songs - that the protagonist here (whether it's Carlsson or not) has got over this, has managed to find a silver lining to his cloud is reassuring.

Carlson's voice may not be as strong as Morrissey's, but the delivery is smooth and comfortable and certainly reminds me of Joe Pernice's which floats along the melody effortlessly. The music is certainly unrelated to these shores, bathed firmly in the waves of pedal steel and gentle acoustic guitar. But it's what's being said here that raises this record above the usual alt-country crowd and sets it apart from their influences.

Admittedly, this may not be to everyone's taste and its only the slightly dulled production and the sometimes "alt-country by numbers" musicianship that stops this from hitting a true high, but it's still a great hidden gem of a record that deserves to be heard by more people. Seek it out and give it a listen.