Last time you heard from Scott Bondy, he was fronting an Alabama grunge act called Verbena and ripping off, first, the Rolling Stones and, then, Nirvana, with the help of producer Dave Grohl. Now he's going by A.A. Bondy and channeling Bob Dylan. The name change seems to be a transparent ploy to put himself at the top of the world's iTunes libraries, but the switch from grunge to folk is where the good news starts. Cutting slower, bluesier tracks that sound like they were written in a boxcar manages to strike an original chord. His latest album, American Hearts, two years old and recently re-re-released by Fat Possum Records, is darker and heavier than his previous work. It's heavy-handed at times, but Bondy seems to have found his voice. And if that means an acoustic guitar and harmonica, I'll take it. We all love Nirvana — and really, who never tried to be more like Kurt Cobain as a teenager? — but those who can overlook the vampire references and Biblical allusions will hear in Bondy an artist who's separated himself from muddled singer-songerwriter pack.
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