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Pontiak's neo-psychedelic rock is created by three brothers from the Blue Ridge area of Virginia — Van (lead vocals, guitar), Jennings (bass, organ, vocals), and Lain Carney (drums, vocals) — who were separately involved with numerous bands in the U.S. and Europe before reconvening in Baltimore in 2005. Once together, they quickly established common musical ground and began honing a multifaceted sound steeped in '60s psych and acid rock, '70s prog and proto-metal, and '90s stoner and indie rock, with likeminded outfits such as Dead Meadow and Black Mountain providing a few contemporary comparisons. Returning in due time to their isolated Virginia birthplace, the brothers recorded both 2005's White Buffalo EP and 2006's Valley of Cats LP in their home studio. Both albums were subsequently released on the band's own label, Fireproof Records.
Pontiak supported their albums by touring the country, taking advantage of the nightly on-stage jam sessions to write, road-test, and perfect a noticeably heavier batch of new songs. Such new material would help them attain a deal with Thrill Jockey Records, which issued the trio's second album, Sun on Sun, in September 2007. Widespread critical acclaim ensued, and on the first day of 2008, Pontiak began making waves again, having released a split EP of John Cale covers (simply entitled Kale) with labelmates and future touring partners Arbouretum. In 2009, the band hit a creative groove, and recorded the full-lengths Maker and Sea Voids, followed by a steady succession of albums: 2010’s Living, 2011's Comercrudos, and 2012's Echo Ono. 2012 also saw the release of the Heat Leisure I,II 7" while the band was hard at work recording the material that would become their 2014 release Innocence.