What is it about Baltimore that is so hot right now? The city that hosts TV’s best kept secret The Wire is also home to a burgeoning music scene which has recently spawned a new genre in B-more club and interesting DIY artists like The Death Set, Dan Deacon and now, Ponytail.
‘Baltimore is in an interesting place right now, socially, economically, and culturally,” claims Jeremy Hyman, Ponytail’s drummer. No one is quite sure what’s going on or how to harness its weirdness, so I think that the music and art coming from that environment reflect that feeling. I think the city is attractive for media because it seems a little more removed from the world than say New York or LA.’
The four-piece band formed by accident in 2004 when they all coincidentally enrolled in the same class at art school. ‘Our professor chose us to be together based on first impressions. We started practicing regularly. After the class was over we kept playing,’ says guitarist Ken Seeno. The art school formation is apt and goes some way to explaining Ponytail’s bewildering and enthralling sound. Their sound is primal. Their sound is vibrant. Their sound is frantic. Their sound is a mess. They are the sound of alternative-rock music approached from the kaleidoscopic wonder of a four-year old. ‘We try not to repeat ourselves,’ says Jeremy and he means it. Forgoing the use of a bass guitar, Ponytail prefer to let two guitarists weave riffs around each others riffs in a frenzy. We haven’t even mentioned the band’s secret weapon – Molly Siegel, who would rather shout, scream, yelp, coos or caw than sing lyrics. Imagine Rugrats’ terror Angelica Pickles fronting an art-rock band and you’re halfway there. ‘Molly knew that she didn’t want to sing traditional vocals,’ explains Ken. ‘We used to be much noisier, and we had a keyboard player. The two of them worked together to create a pulsating sound, but when he quit after the first year, Molly was left to compete with the amps and the drums, and so she began to match the energy of the guitars and the drums with her vocals.’
Their second album Ice Cream Spiritual has just been released on We Are Free and the band will play their first Irish show on September 10th in Whelans along with R.S.A.G, The Vinny Club and Gentle Friendly. Ken describes their live show as ‘bouncy’ allowing Jeremy to elaborate – ‘We really try to give it our all at every show, and I think that is reflected in the performance. Sometimes the notes are wrong but for every missed note there is an extra smile. My hope is that our energy lets the audience get loose, and explore their bodies in space.’ Sounds promising. We’ll be there on September 10th. Join us.