Tag Archive | AA Bondy

Ten Songs For Hating On Stupid Idiot Valentine’s Day

Ten Songs For Hating On Stupid Idiot Valentine’s Day
By Jaime Lees
Wed., Feb. 13 2013

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, y’all. It’s time to hate on all of this love bullshit and have sex with people that you don’t even like.

But what music should accompany your dirty deeds or heartbroken feelings?

I’ve used my decades-long experience as an expert soundtrack-chooser to bring you this highly-recommended list of tunes to get you through this most terrible and torturous of holidays. I tapped ten of my all-time favorite artists for inspiration. Here you go:

The Ronettes – “Is This What I Get For Loving You?
Key lyric: “It’s such a cruel world to be alone in”
When in doubt, turn to the classics. The Ronettes’ “Is This What I Get For Loving You?” is not just one of the best anti-love songs ever, it might be the best anti-love song ever. The Spector girl-group harmonies make the heart shrivel in unmeasurable proportions. Lyrics like “And now I’m so afraid I’m losing you” bring us all right back to our worst, most heartbreaking moments.

The Cardigans – “And Then You Kissed Me II
Key lyric: “I tell you now like I told you before: Love is a powerful force”
My favorite Cardigans album is Gran Turismo, but it does not reflect the depth of the Swedish band’s love-hating. For that, you need to bust out SuperExtraGravity. “Losing a Friend” and “I Need Some Fine Wine (And You, You Need to be Nicer)” are for hatin’, but give “And Then You Kissed Me II” a spin. With lines like “Your name used to taste so sweet / Then you beat the love right out of me” it is bitter until the end.

Iggy Pop – “Some Weird Sin
Key lyric: “Some weird sin / Just to relax me”
Forget making love. You just want to get laid. You want to give in to all of your worst desires and just get f-u-c-k-e-d. If you don’t have a sexy little thing and you just want to go to the bar and then pick up some one-night-only, then this is your song. If things get too straight, you can’t bear it and you are searching for some weird sin, son. Hopefully it’s weird enough that you forget this whole ugly day. This song comes on, and Good Lord, it is time to bang.

Sex Robots – “We’re Thru!
Key lyric: “My girlfriend’s in therapy / I did too many dog shit things”
St. Louis band Sex Robots always gets right to the point. The songs are short and oh-so-sweet and this song blasts though all of those negative, crushed emotions with simple honesty. (“I think she’s beautiful she thinks I’m sliiiiiime!”)

AA Bondy – “A Slow Parade
Key lyric: “Tide will bring and tide will take / Find another horse to break”
He’s not very well known, but this singer-songwriter single-handedly renewed my faith in new music some years back. His songs always remind us that all good love can go bad, and that all bad love can make you weaker.

Patti Smith – “Pissing in a River
Key lyric: “What more can I give you, to make this thing grow? / Don’t turn your back now, I’m talking to you”
One of her most depressing performances, the poet Smith embraces the full emotion and the weird power that one can find in heartbreak.

Teenage Fanclub – “Mellow Doubt
Key lyric: “I’m in trouble / And I know it / What I’m feeling / I can’t show it / But these feelings / Don’t go away”
Grand Prix is a emotional ride of an album, and “Mellow Doubt” is the song that you want if you’re feeling heartbroken. The song captures that miserable, regretful feeling perfectly. Think: driving in the cold winter rain with the windows up while an old lover is packing up your shit at their house.

R.E.M. – “Country Feedback
Key Lyric: “You wear me out / You. Wear. Me. Out.”
R.E.M. was a band that was about feelings. This track off of one of the bands darkest albums, Out of Time, is slow and tentative and tiptoeing, much like an elongated breakup. (“It’s crazy what you could’ve had”) The song is sad, even gut-wrenching, and all of the obtuse lyrical dances that R.E.M. was known for are cast away in favor of a pure expression of grieving.

Beach Boys – “God Only Knows
Key lyric: “If you should ever leave me… the world could show nothing to me / So what good would living do me?”
A deep song with conflicting messages, wrapped up in a beautiful package. Completely parallel, emotion-wise, with “Wouldn’t it Be Nice?” Brian Wilson is a genius.

Otis Redding – “I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)
Key lyric: “You are tired and your love is growing cold / My love is growing stronger, as our affair grows old”
An anti-love song list wouldn’t be complete without him, so we look to the king of heartbreak, Otis Redding. Otis always understands. I want to find the woman who made him so sad and bash in her face.

link: Riverfront Times

Ten Songs To Get Busy To On Valentine’s Day

Ten Songs To Get Busy To On Valentine’s Day
By Jaime Lees
Wed., Feb. 13 2013

It’s almost Valentine’s Day, y’all. It’s time to get all up in your significant other or your someone special.

But what music should accompany your dirty deeds or love-struck feelings?

I’ve used my decades-long experience as an expert soundtrack-chooser to bring you this highly-recommended list of tunes to get you feeling lovey and freeee-kay. I tapped ten of my all-time favorite artists for inspiration. Here you go:

The Ronettes – “Be My Baby
Key lyric: “I’ll make you happy, baby, just wait and see / For every kiss you give me, I’ll give you three”
When in doubt, turn to the classics. The Ronettes’ “Be My Baby” is not just one of the best love songs ever, it might be the best song ever. The Spector girl-group harmonies make the heart swell in unmeasurable proportions. Lyrics like “The night we met I knew I needed you so” bring us all right back to our best, most hopeful moments.

The Cardigans – “And Then You Kissed Me
Key lyric: “It hit me like never before / That love is a powerful force”
My favorite Cardigans album is Gran Turismo, but it does not reflect the height of the Swedish band’s lovey-dovey-ness. For that, you need to bust out Long Gone Before Daylight. “For What It’s Worth” and You’re the Storm” are for lovin’, but give “And Then You Kissed Me” a spin. With lines like “My heart overfloods,” it is super-duper smoochy squishy.

Iggy Pop – “Sixteen
Key lyric: “Show you my explosion, sweet sixteen”
Forget making love. You just want to get laid. You want to give in to all of your worst desires and just get f-u-c-k-e-d. If you have a sexy little thing and you just want to go out to the bar and then get down and dirty, try out this naughty little number. You will both cream your jeans to lines like “Body and soul / I go crazy.” (Bonus points for lyrical nod to “leather boots.” Mmm-hmm.) This song comes on, and Good Lord, it is time to bang.

Sex Robots – “Think I’m In Love
Key lyric: “I think I’m in love / I think I’m in la la la-la la la la la la la-la la la la la la-la-la la la la la la-la la la la love”
St. Louis band Sex Robots always gets right to the point. The songs are short and oh-so-sweet and this song blasts through all of those nervous, crushy emotions with simple honesty. (“I feel so outta my miiiiind!”)

AA Bondy – “There’s a Reason
Key lyric: “The love that’s tearing you down / Is the love that will turn you around / Say it is so”
He’s not very well known, but this singer-songwriter single-handedly renewed my faith in new music some years back. His songs always remind us that all bad love can go good, and that all good love can make you stronger.

Patti Smith – “Because the Night
Key lyric: “Love is an angel disguised as lust / Here in our bed until the morning comes”
One of her most uplifting performances, the poet Smith embraces the full emotion and the weird power that one can find in love.

Teenage Fanclub – “Sparky’s Dream
Key lyric: “If she lived in space, man / I’d build a plane”
Grand Prix is an emotional ride of an album, and “Sparky’s Dream” is the song that you want if you’re feeling like you’re in love. It song captures that buoyant, effervescent feeling perfectly. Think: driving in the warm summer sunshine with the windows down while a new lover is at your side singing along.

R.E.M. – “At My Most Beautiful
Key lyric: “At my most beautiful / I count your eyelashes… secretly”
R.E.M. was a band that was about feelings. This track off of one of the bands sunniest albums, Up, is slow and tentative and bashful, much like young love. (“I read bad poetry into your machine / I save your messages just to hear your voice”) The song is bashful, even tender, and all of the obtuse lyrical dances that R.E.M. was known for are cast away in favor of a pure expression of romance.

Beach Boys – “Wouldn’t It Be Nice?
Key lyric: “Maybe if we thinkandwishandhopeandpray it might come true”
A deep song with conflicting messages, wrapped up in a beautiful package. Completely parallel, emotion-wise, with “God Only Knows.” Brian Wilson is a genius.

Otis Redding – “That’s How Strong My Love Is
Key lyric: “I’ll be the rainbow after the tears are gone / Wrap you in my colors and keep you warm”
A love song list wouldn’t be complete without him, so we look to the king of love, Otis Redding. Otis always understands. I want to find the woman who made him so happy and send her some flowers.

link: Riverfront Times

Interview with A.A. Bondy, Playing Tonight at the Gargoyle

A.A. Bondy

Interview : A.A. Bondy, Playing Tonight at the Gargoyle
By Jaime Lees
Fri., Nov. 20 2009

From television to the radio to the internet, indie-folk newcomer A.A. Bondy has been popping up everywhere lately. In addition to touring with Bon Iver, the Felice Brothers and Conor Oberst, he’s appeared at Bonnaroo, recorded a session for Daytrotter.com and performed for Conan O’Brien (to name a few). Furthermore, his music has been roundly praised by influential tastemakers such as Brooklynvegan, Pitchfork, Stereogum and– ahem– the Riverfront Times.

Yep, Bondy seems to be steadily climbing the ladder of success, but it’s not for nothin’. His debut album, 2007’s American Hearts, was so warm, so hauntingly beautiful, that audiences immediately took notice. His glowing arrangements carry just the right amount of magic to induce fuzzy, slow-motion Winnie-Cooper-standing-in-the-sunshine Wonder Years-type moments.

Critics frequently describe him as “the next Bob Dylan,” but this weighty comparison doesn’t seem to have gone to his head. For all of his musical intensity, Bondy comes off like a normal dude. We caught up with him on the road last week while he was en route to an Atlanta gig and he was both humble and humorous. (Bondy is currently on the road with Elvis Perkins in support of his sophomore release, When the Devil’s Loose.)

When did I last interview you? At the beginning of 2008?
Yeah, I remember. But I last saw you there when I played with the [Felice] Brothers in the fall at that weird cafeteria.

Well, what has been happening with your career since then because your shit has been blowing up!
Is it?

Don’t play. I have a list here in front of me. Uh… NPR. Conan. Good Morning America… I could go on.
Oh. I mean, I guess so? I just keep my head down and try to do my job. And if there’s money to be collected, I certainly get it. But, um, I don’t know. I’m all right with what’s going on. I mean, it’s not, like, to the point where it’s like drastically life-changing. [It] feels good, you know, when you go to a town and people show up or people buy records. I like all that stuff.

Do you feel like you’re doing pretty well? Are you getting stuff done that you wanna get done?
It depends on what you mean by that. I mean, I’m able to make records and live off of it. That’s pretty, uh, a big thing, I think. If anybody gets to do what they really feel like doing and make a living off of it — one should sleep well at night, I guess.

How are you doing on your tour? You’ve been touring pretty much non-stop for two years and you’ve got tons more dates scheduled still, right?
Yeah, we’re hitting it pretty hard right now. We’ve crossed the month line and we have five weeks to go. [We have] one month off for Christmas, then we get to go back out. Yeah, I mean, right now I’m alright. It feels pretty good. Some times are better than others, but that’s to be expected in anything.

What’s up after the tour stuff?
Uh, probably looking at what another record is going to be like.

Do you know where you’re going to record it?

Probably in Mississippi, but I don’t know yet. I don’t know. I’ll start there, and then, I don’t know. I don’t know. I can rarely think about it. I just listen to this little box that tells me where to go.

The “little box” being the dude that tells you where to drive? [OnStar]
Yeah. I wish he would tell me everything else to do like, “Pull over in 2.1 miles because you’re having fried chicken.” That would be great. [laughs]

[laughs] Do you know what I think is weird? You’re funny, but because your music is so serious nobody would suspect it. I mean, all of the press I read about you has this ultra-romanticized old-timey stuff in it like, “Oh, he’s a lone troubadour,” and “He probably rides from gig to gig on a horse,” and stuff like that.
Fuck that. Fuck. That. [groans, laughs quietly] You know what I mean? Whatever. I have no answer for why anybody says what they say, you know? Like, you go to a movie and you get sad at the things other people think are funny and vice versa. [adopts a hyper-Southern country accent] Yeah, let me cut this interview short because a train is about to come by and I’ve gotta jump onto it.

Exactly! That’s what I’m saying!
Yeah, [they say] I’m basically a fucking hobo, you know. Whatever.

So, I imagine that when you’re on the road you’re talking to people all day, you’re doing interviews, you’re shakin’ hands and kissin’ babies and whatever. How do you get writing done on the road? Do you have to find quiet time?
Uh, sort of. I mean, when you do get time it seems like better things come out. You don’t have to work as hard to get to them. You just have less time to work things out. And my brain works more slowly at home, so it takes a lot to get to a place where I can get anything done [at home]. I do a lot of laying around in the grass and smoke cigarettes. Ride my motorcycle. I’d like to have more time out here to get stuff done cause I feel like I could get better things done but, you know, really you just do what you can.

Now that there’s more people paying attention to your work, do you feel like more under pressure to be good or– more to the point– are you ever intimidated by all the stuff that’s happening now?
Not at all. Nuh-uh. I mean, I’m too old for that. Like, I just wanna do my job, you know. That’s all I care about. It’s like a series of absurd situations. But I don’t know, I feel more capable now than before. And hopefully that’s how it goes with anything. So of course you get into situations where… I usually just beat myself up. I don’t need anybody else to do it for me.

Aw. That’s sad.
Well, no, it’s not like that. Anybody who makes anything has to go through that.

I’ve got one more question for you and I’ll let you get back to driving. It’s a question that I ask everyone I know. And it’s very serious.
Uh… ok.

Who do you think is a bigger alien? Prince or David Bowie?
[laughs] Prince or David Bowie? [laughs] Hmmm… I think there’s equal amounts of alien in both of those guys. Maybe from different planets. I mean, if I had to pick… I don’t know… they’re both just… I’m going to call it a draw. Hmmm… But David Bowie had that eye thing going for him and when he was taking all of the coke he definitely appeared much more Close Encounters than Prince but… Prince is weird as fuck, too, so…

And he’s so tiny!
I know! But I say Tyra Banks is more alien than both of them.

2008: My Favorites

TV Blinded Me With Science

My favorite major release of 2008 was TV on the Radio’s Dear Science. Holy crap, was I unprepared to deal with the magnetic, schizophrenic brilliance of that album. I tried to listen casually — you know, in the car, while doing the dishes, etc. — but I soon found myself up late at night, incapacitated by the weight of big-ass headphones, wide-eyed in wonderment and smiling in the dark.

After bumping hip-hop newcomer Kid Sister’s tune “Beeper” on the daily, I spent an unprecedented amount of time — and a sickening level of ass-kissing — trying to scam an advance copy of her debut LP, Dream Date, from better-connected industry friends. Though it won’t be released until March 2009, Kid Sister’s playful, fly girl charisma permeates every song on the debut, and this hip-hop cutie has the skills to back up her Next Big Thing hype.

There were some hot reissues this year, including R.E.M.’s Murmur, Verbena’s Souls for Sale, A.A. Bondy’s American Hearts and the remastered Replacements discography. All were greatly appreciated — and rocked accordingly.

The best concert I saw in town was Sharon Jones at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room in January. I knew she would be good, but I had no idea how good. The sold-out, sticky, sweaty, shoes-off, swinging hair, soul-filled basement show had me jumpin’ and forced my booty to do things heretofore unthinkable. Hallelujah.

Locally, I still crush on Bunnygrunt, the Humanoids, Sex Robots, Rum Drum Ramblers and Pokey LaFarge. I’ve seen each about 27,856 times this year and I’m still amazed at the spirit and passion their performances ignite. In addition, I can’t say enough good things about the Livers. This extraordinary rock duo is relatively new, but it consistently churns out one of the most exceptional live acts in the city.
— Jaime Lees

[“the RFT’s music writers weighed in on what they liked this year” – HERE]

The Felice Brothers + AA Bondy – concert preview

Felice Brothers/AA Bondy
9 p.m. Wednesday, September 24. Billiken Club, in the Busch Student Center on the campus of Saint Louis University, 20 North Grand Boulevard.
By Jaime Lees
Published on September 17, 2008

Coming straight outta the Catskills, the Felice Brothers play a twanged-out style of gypsy Americana, music which drips with bayou-sounding horns, humming accordion and light tinkering on a tinny, old-West-saloon-sounding piano. With nods to ’60s protest songs and gritty swells of dark-folk, it’s perfect campfire music for a cool fall night. The Felice Brothers are currently on the road with their real-life brother-in-law, AA Bondy. Bondy is a singer-songwriter touring in support of his crushingly beautiful debut album, American Hearts (which Fat Possum Records re-released earlier this year). With just a harmonica and a stellar command of his acoustic guitar, Bondy crafts pure, sophisticated, Dylan-esque compositions with solid conviction, quiet determination and grace far beyond his years.

> SEE HERE <

SXSW: The Random Picture Post

These snaps were just too hot not to post.

photo by Jaime Lees
PHOTO: Dead Confederate
WHEN: Wednesday, March 12, 11p.m.
WHERE: Stubb’s BBQ, big outside stage
NOTE: This band opened for R.E.M. (Athens represent) and might have been the best surprise of the festival. Read our coverage here.

photo by Jaime Lees
PHOTO: AA Bondy
WHEN: Thursday, March 13, about 9:30p.m.
WHERE: The gorgeous poolside rooftop stage of a heavily sponsored free party.
NOTE: This was one of 12 AA Bondy shows in a 3 day time span in Austin.

photo by Jaime Lees
PHOTO: downtown Austin, TX, view from the AA Bondy rooftop show
WHEN: Thursday, March 13, late night
WHERE: at 3rd Street and Guadalupe looking East
NOTE: There should be more rooftop shows. Always.

photo by Jaime Lees
PHOTO: Autolux’s Eugene Goreshter
WHEN: Friday, March 14, afternoon
WHERE: Red Eyed Fly backyard venue
NOTE: Goreshter’s amazing vocals on Autolux albums? Not studio magic. Dude actually sings like that.

photo by Jaime Lees
PHOTO: J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, solo show
WHEN: Saturday, March 15, mid-afternoon
WHERE: Garden Party (read: gorgeous yard), the French Legation Museum
NOTE: J Mascis is a God among men (who just happens to use a baby pink Razr as his preferred cellular device.)

photo by Jaime Lees
PHOTO: Thurston Moore and the New Wave Bandits
WHEN: Saturday, March 15, afternoon, slot after J Mascis
WHERE: East Austin, French Legation Museum
NOTE: Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore stole the show with his expansive talent and boyish charm. Read our coverage here.

photo by Jaime Lees
PHOTO: The Breeders
WHEN: Saturday, March 15, about 9p.m.
WHERE: Waterloo Park, north of downtown, 2nd stage
NOTE: Two Deals are always better than one. Read our coverage here.

photo by Jaime Lees
PHOTO: Kid Sister at the Fool’s Gold Showcase
WHEN: Saturday, March 15, 1a.m. (after Flosstradamus, before Chromeo)
WHERE: Volume nightclub, next to the told Emo’s on 6th Street
NOTE: Kid Sister claimed she was crunk but she still held down her raps with a little help from brother Josh “J2K” Young (of super-fly duo Flosstradamus) as back up.Category: Music, Reviews, SXSW, Snapshots

Interview with A.A. Bondy


AA Bondy reinvents himself as an indie-folk artist

By Jaime Lees
Published: February 6, 2008

Though few outside of the indie circuit recognized Verbena, critics and fans hailed the group as the second coming of Nirvana. The comparison was easy to see — and not just because former Nirvana drummer Dave Grohl produced the band’s 1999 major-label debut, Into the Pink. When Verbena emerged from Bir­­m­ing­ham, Alabama, in the late ’90s, its sound was dark, powerful and based on a foundation of big pop hooks. Lead singer Scott Bondy in particular came across as very Kurt Cobain-esque, with his lazy, marble-mouthed singing style, snarky attitude and bleached-blond hair. These days, Bondy is all grown up and no longer playing the role of snotty rock kid. Performing solo under his birth name of AA Bondy (the initials stand for August Arthur), he composes enchanting, elegantly sparse indie-folk music. The songs often feature just his voice and an expertly strummed guitar, with the occasional hint of mournful harmonica and handclaps used as percussion.

When he tries to explain the difference between the louder Verbena and his current stripped-back project, Bondy confesses via phone, “I don’t really know what I was doing before.”

He’s certainly figured out what to do on his solo debut, American Hearts (which will be re-released on Fat Possum Records in April). Hearts is a bewitchingly beautiful album that’s been embraced as an impressive contribution to the world of nü-folk — largely because the songs don’t sound like the “unplugged” indulgences of a former rock guy. They’re not stripped down; they’re just not decorated with unnecessary wrapping. The songs overflow with unflinching sincerity, and the tiniest details — like the delicate noise of fingers sliding across guitar strings — stand out and seem purposeful.

The way Bondy constructed Hearts reflects this simplistic style: He recorded it in a rickety old barn next to his house in New York. (“It’s a really good-sounding barn,” he says with a chuckle.) Perhaps as a result, Hearts‘ lyrics are also unadorned and straightforward, relying heavily on the polarities of good vs. evil, apathy vs. love and God vs. the devil. Still, Bondy finds plenty of room for shrewd statements (“Love, it don’t die/It just goes from girl to girl”) and optimistic observations (“The barroom is filled with the joy/Of making old friends.”)

Many of Hearts‘ songs also carry a twinge of the ’60s protest vibe — meaning that the Bob Dylan comparisons are inevitable. It’s no surprise that Bondy has absorbed a penchant for clever lyrics; he cites Tom Waits, Nina Simone and Tom Petty as classic favorites. But of these influences, he fondly explains, “You can’t really speak to the nature of what makes things special. But whatever does make things special doesn’t really matter. I guess for a listener you just know it is special to you — and that’s all that matters.”During live shows, Bondy is frequently accompanied by his wife, Clare Felice, who plays the organ. She’s from the same family that produced the up-and-coming Americana band the Felice Brothers — a group Bondy lovingly refers to as his brothers and source of inspiration.

Jaime Lees: The stuff you’re recording seems very… like, if someone walked into your house, you could be sitting there playing it.
AA Bondy
: Yeah, I could.

It seems very intimate — like you’re not putting on a kind of show.
Yeah, those songs could exist without any other accompaniment. And they were written that way. Which is one of the main differences between this stuff and anything that happened before it. Those other songs weren’t brought to the light of day in that fashion. They were always pieced together. They were… like, a guitar part always came first. They never started with, like, basically a finished song. Which all of these songs did. They were finished songs that things got added to — or didn’t.

Is it scary for you to stand up there alone?
When I first started playing by myself, I’d played tons and tons of shows with a band. I didn’t even understand how freaked out I was. If you’re getting up on stage with a band, it’s like you’re part of a team. But once you get up there by yourself, it’s totally different. ‘Cause you’re responsible for it all. I like it better. It’s more thrilling, at least. I don’t get too freaked out anymore, but I used to. When you’re by yourself, it’s so much easier.

How is your writing different as you’ve gotten older?
I actually write songs now. [Laughs] You know, I don’t just, like, play a guitar part and put some stuff over it. I just know that it feels completely different than it used to. It feels like there’s something contained inside of it, as opposed to being like a shell.

The topics seem pretty grown-up — relationships, war. Do you feel like you’re getting something out? Does it make you feel better?
Maybe it makes me feel better only in the way something gets completed that I’m somehow satisfied with. Not in the way that I’m saying something, you know. Like, it could be a song about a pile of leaves that I lit on fire and I could feel just as good about that as if it was, like, a so-called song that had something to say.

8 p.m. Wednesday, February 13. Off Broadway, 3509 Lemp Avenue. $8 advance, $10 day of show. 314-773-3363.

>> EXTENDED INTERVIEW HERE <<

  • 02-06-08 Riverfront Times (St. Louis) – article link
  • 02-07-08 reprint in the Pitch (Kansas City) – article link
  • 03-27-08 reprint in the Dallas Observer (Dallas) – article link
  • interview outtakes here
  • AA Bondy – MySpace