A.A. Bondy, Gold Leaves

A.A. Bondy is well into his second act as a musician after the dissolution of his band, Verbena. That Alabama outfit released one of the best unsung albums of the '90s, 1997's Dave Fridmann-produced Souls For Sale (Merge), full of delicious boy/girl harmonies and Sticky Fingers-era Stonesy country-rock swagger. They went out with a whimper rather than a bang after two under-promoted Capitol Records releases. Bondy sold all his equipment, gave up music and moved to upstate New York. But as fate would have it, he married Clare Felice around the time her brothers were launching their own careers, prompting Bondy to restart his.

"Some of what they were doing rubbed off on me in terms of they don't give a fuck. They only do what they want to do," Bondy says. His solo debut, 2007's American Hearts, explored minimalist folk-blues. The 2009 follow-up When the Devil's Loose embraces a band setting, though it's still pretty austere. Nonetheless the album is more fleshed out, its foreboding melancholia and stories of lives in transit dovetailing with the collapse of Bondy's marriage. His new album, Believers, retains the loping pace and late-night longing, but the mood's more spectral and dreamy, supported by supple organ peals and a sense of resigned acceptance.

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