Bandcamp Of The Day: Bardo Pond, Vol. 3 By Bardo Pond

The longer I run this psych-rock blog, the more I discover bands from the past that I had never known were making such great music. And in some cases, these bands were right in my backyard. That’s the case with Bardo Pond, an American psych-rock band formed in 1991 in my hometown of Philadelphia.

Bardo Pond’s music is typically called space rock, post-rock, acid rock, shoegaze, or, simply, psychedelic. This is a band that seems heavily influenced by psychedelic substances, too. Some Bardo Pond album titles are named after esoteric psychedelic drugs. Their sound has been compared to space rock luminaries like Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, but also the weirder and more under-the-radar influences like Spacemen 3 and My Bloody Valentine.

What I like best about Bardo Pond is their love of improvisation and deliberately long jams and sound explorations. There are droning guitars, distortion, feedback, white noise, and all sorts of weirdness going on. The band is also taper-friendly, meaning they encourage fans to record their shows.

I began listening to them recently after discovering a new release on Bandcamp entitled Bardo Pond, Volume 3. This is the third in the band’s series of limited-edition releases that showcase jam sessions and rare recordings from the past. They describe Vol. 3 as “like Fugazi on acid, a rage for the Velvets, a mantra with a real purity of tone.”

Bardo Pond, Vol. 3 was recorded somewhere between their LPs Dilate (2001) and Ellipse (2003) and shows the band experimenting and transcending into a “mantra-like, multi-layered, cross-dimensional, wah-wah powered nirvana.” The band facetiously says on Bandcamp: “In some circles, they say, spaceships wafted them away, and they only returned sometime later, mind-altered and bedraggled, ears ringing. But that is the stuff of supposition.”

Indeed, it’s trippy stuff. The band says there’s no off-switch for Bardo Pond, and that’s the truth when you see how long they’ve been going. Since forming in 1991, they’ve released a ton of music, including 11 LPs, several EPs, and numerous collaborations, including one with Yo La Tengo.

Bardo Pond, Vol. 3 was released on Bandcamp on March 10, 2023. Given the highly experimental sounds, these guys may not be for everyone. However, it’s good music for tripping out to. Their most recent studio album is No Hashish, No Change Money, No Saki Saki, released in February 2023. Most of their music is deeply esoteric and could be called “noise rock,” as well, with many jarring, disorienting sounds.

Fans of Spacemen 3, White Hills, Movietone, and Wooden Shjips will likely enjoy the sounds Bardo Pond keeps making from Philadelphia if they haven’t been listening to them already. So, sit back, turn on, tune in, and drop out!

Support Bardo Pond by checking out their official website or finding them on Bandcamp or Instagram.

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