Supposedly, jail can change a man. To my knowledge, none of the 3hive men have done time in the joint — I can’t speak for Lisa. Duquette Johnston did, in Etowah County, Alabama. According to the publicity people, his album Etowah “is a reflection on where life can take a wrong turn…” I guess Duquette would know. A few years back, Johnston and Superphonic labelmate Scott (A.A.) Bondy were recording for Merge Records as Verbena; now, he’s laying down heavy southern rock all on his own. That is, when he’s not in jail.
A.A. Bondy’s new album, American Hearts, is easily one of my favorites of the year, and it comes just at the right time. Summer’s going to fade soon, the leaves will change and Michigan will be at its absolute most beautiful before we get buried in winter. Bondy’s sparse folk rock will make a nice soundtrack for that transition, like Springsteen’s Nebraska or Will Oldham’s Days in the Wake. The other artist that comes to mind here is Steve Earle; “Vice Rag,” my favorite of the two songs below, is essentially a lilting country version of “CCKMP,” and is as disarming as the original. Bondy makes less more on American Hearts, much to this listener’s pleasure.