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About A.A. Bondy
A singer and songwriter who feels most comfortable pondering the darker side of life, A.A. Bondy first made his name playing tough, blues-based rock, but after earning recognition as a grunge-inspired alternative rocker, he finally found his voice as an indie folk artist. Bondy made his solo debut with 2007's American Hearts, a spare and moody set that revealed strong blues and country accents as Bondy sang evocative but downbeat numbers about life's other side. Bondy followed a similar creative path on 2009's When the Devil's Loose and 2011's Believers, but after an eight-year recording layoff, 2019's Enderness revealed a new side of his talents, embracing electronics and more timely themes without turning away from from the difficult circumstances of his characters.
Augeste Arthur Bondy was born and raised in Mountain Brook, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. He began his music career in the early '90s when he was in high school. Bondy, then using the name Scott Bondy, began making music with some of his friends from school, and they formed a band called Volume. Bondy sang and played guitar in Volume, with Daniel Johnston on bass and Les Nuby on drums; the trio grew into a quartet with the addition of Anne Marie Griffin on guitar and vocals, and they adopted the new name Shallow. When Nuby left the band, former Remy Zero drummer Louis Schefano joined up, and after changing their name to Verbena, they cut a single for Merge Records, "I Say So" b/w "Silver Queen," and "Ever Rent a Heart" in 1995. When Merge released Verbena's first full-length album, 1997's Souls for Sale, Les Nuby returned to the band, and they caught the ear of both Capitol Records and Dave Grohl of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters. Capitol signed the group, Grohl agreed to produce their major-label debut, and the Rolling Stones-inspired bluesy rock of Souls for Sale gave way to a tougher, grunge-adjacent sound not dissimilar to Nirvana on 1999's Into the Pink. The single "Baby Got Shot" proved to be a minor hit, but the group went through numerous personnel changes before they cut 2003's La Musica Negra as a trio, with Bondy and Nuby joined by bassist Nick Daviston (Anne Marie Griffin did contribute guest vocals). By the end of 2003, Verbena had called it quits.
After the breakup, Bondy retreated to his new home in New York State's Catskill Mountains. There he focused on his songwriting, moving away from rock and exploring blues and folk sounds as well as a more literate and personal lyrics. In time, he began recording his new songs in a barn on his property, and changing his stage name from Scott Bondy to A.A. Bondy, he released an album, American Hearts, in September 2007. Originally issued by Superphonic Records, the album's strong reception in the music media led to Bondy signing with the respected indie label Fat Possum Records, which reissued American Hearts in 2008. While American Hearts was primarily recorded without additional accompaniment, Bondy opted for richer arrangements for 2009's When the Devil's Loose, which was recorded during sessions in New Paltz, New York and Water Valley, Mississippi. After releasing his third album, Believers, in 2011, Bondy took a break from recording, and though he played occasional live shows, he maintained a low public profile. In May 2019, Bondy returned with a new album, Enderness, that revealed a new creative direction for the artist as he combined electronic instruments and percussion (all played by Bondy himself) with the spare, somber approach of his earlier solo work. Given the downcast nature of Bondy's work, it was strangely fitting that the artist revealed that his house burned down the day after he completed work on Enderness. ~ Mark Deming
- Birmingham, AL
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