Pono / Press

“I am listening to your cd right now and I just wanted to e-mail you to let you know that it is probably one of the ten best cd's I've ever heard. Are you ever coming to Chicago? I would love to see you guys live! Also, do you have any other albums out? I bought mine from CD Baby, but would love to hear whatever else you all are putting out there. Absolutely unbelievable. Original, creative, and can be played loudly. My ears thank you.”

Mia Holberg - FAN

“Pono are an indie trio strangely obsessed with swordfish. Pono's combination of ethereal vocals and driving rhythms is reminiscent of such bands as Yo Lo Tengo and Galaxie 500, with moments of Bowie like narrative intensity. Lyrics range from the emotional to the semi political - if you consider a decidedly pro-masturbation stance to have political connotations. Pono's cover of "Girl from Ipanema" off Mao Tse-tung's Bar Mitzvah... sounds garbled, as though it's being played underwater, and is worth hearing - vocalist Barbara Brownell makes the song sound newer and more seductive than it has sounded in some time.”

Kansas City Pitch Weekly

“PONO's musical spectrum encompasses Beck-like folk terrorism, the intellectual musings of Jacques Derrida and a chimera-like sound collage, all spiced with beatboxes, spunky samples and mirthful textures.”

Gary Shipes - Stuart News

“Now this is what I’m talking about. This is fucking good. This is primal, powerful, and existence within a state of grace that most people don’t ever reach on their own. If at all. This record is a fix for those who crave an altered, utopian state. I’m not going to review this for you, this record simply makes you feel, and brings you to the edge of reason and logic… if you’re reading this, then you need to go buy it and soak it in for yourself. Top indie release of this year. Without question. If you like the Velvet Underground, Liz Phair, Pavement, Built to Spill, Varnaline, Radiohead, and/or true unique creative vision, go to www.ponomusic.com and tune in.”

Heidi Drockleman - Indie Music. com

“Attacking the boundaries of modern music. A journey into the future of music, and with its ups and downs, you'll have to be prepared for a wild ride.”

CD Baby Magazine

“Imagine if you will, that you are trapped on an elevator with Beck, The Velvet Underground and My Bloody Valentine. With nowhere to go, they break out their instruments, cleverly concealed in their rock star garb, and proceed to jam; exuding the catchiest, oddest, cleverest little ditties that you could imagine. That, ladies and gentleman, is Pono. Pono is the type of band that sat in the back of class and goofed off all day, yet got into Harvard. Aisle 3 is a hodgepodge of experimental trickery. It is at times silly and upbeat with pounding beats; and others it is morose and sad and full of contemplative darkness and mournful guitars. Attacking the boundaries of modern music with beautiful melodic lines and unconventional arrangement and even spoken word, these kids rebel against everything we know to be true. This is the band that you won't hear on pop radio. In a perfect world, you would.”

J. Adams - CD Baby Magazine

“Pono definitely keep you guessing about what each new cut will sound like.”

Discovery Magazine

“Since there's no such term, let us expand: the band's music contains the edges and the sensibilities (with the focus on the latter) of a noise pop band, combining them with the voluptuousness and sensuality of the blues. In a sense, Pono are for r'n'b what Portishead are for soul, and they do everything without the drama, but with an adventurous and playful spirit instead. What can you finally say about a band like Pono? Simply, there is not much to tell - just like how it always is with bands that give such generous doses of ingenious music that hit you with emotion and keep you guessing for what's next.”

Tassos Patakos - Mic E-zine

"Local three-piece Pono celebrate the release of their third album — as well as the city that inspires them. Along with samples of San Francisco noises, Indie Rock to the Blues incorporates kazoos, live show excerpts, and political commentary. Their eclecticism mirrors the diverse artists they're compared to: the Velvet Underground, Magnetic Fields, Air and Liz Phair. With their quirky experimentation, Pono's live shows aim to surprise, and they often get gleefully out of control.

Flavor Pill

“I only hoped the rest of the album was as interesting as the cover suggested... and it is! It's like Enon-meets-Bjork and extremely fun to listen to.”


“PONO INDIE ROCK TO THE BLUES (Zeitgeist Records) Considering that San Francisco can claim birthright to the Residents and Negativeland, it's not much of a surprise to find a 415 area code on Pono's Indie Rock to the Blues. For its third album, Pono continues in the vein of their first two releases, with a bluesy foundation that slips purposefully but chaotically into a noisy pop miasma. "Grace" starts like it could have been translated from Eno's "Another Green World" demos then lurches into quirky post-modern pop deconstructionism (does anyone remember Fetchin' Bones?), while "New Defense System?" offers a similar soundtrack punctuated with samples of children's toys, electronic blipage and snippets of television news and drama (and it's the same thing, right?). Atonal string arrangement, kazoo, angular guitar screed, pulsing ambience, bean pod shakers and electronic gizmodgery are all integral parts of Pono's fascinating lo-fi sonic collage.”

Brian Baker - Amplifier Magazine