February 15, 2009
The Von Bondies are back with two new female members, a new sound and a new album that boasts old school influences. Since their last release five years ago, the Michigan band has ditched their bluesy feel in lieu of garage rock and grunge beats consistent with “C’mon C’mon,” the song that put them on the map back in 2004.
“We didn’t know what to expect, I mean we started off as a blues band. I grew up listening to Pavement, Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, so this is kind of a mish mash of blues and that,” vocalist Jason Stollsteimer said.
Their show at the Horseshoe Friday was absolutely packed and for good reason. With co-founder Don Blum on drums, Christy Hunt on rhythm guitar and Leann Banks on bass, their set was filled primarily with solid new tracks and a sprinkle of old tunes.
They were put on the radar when “C’mon C’mon” became the opening track for the TV series Rescue Me and also as one of the tracks in the sexually explicit British film 9 Songs. Stollsteimer’s marriage and divorce sparked a four-year hiatus for the band. Plum took up gardening and pursued a t-shirt company while Stollsteimer took a brief break from music. Despite this, they had things to write about and finally put out a new record after signing with Majordomo Records after SXSW in 2008.
“I was done with that homeland stuff. I do better on the road,” Stollsteimer said. “I honestly miss seeing kids get really excited the way I used to about music. I don’t go to shows anymore. I don’t miss driving for 16 hours, but I miss the kids.”
The caliber of talent on these new tracks and the catchiness of the lyrics prove they’ve got the substance to surpass TV fame. The new single “Pale Bride” is equally as charming as album opener “This Is Our Perfect Crime” as well as standouts “21st Birthday” and “The Chancer.” Some of the tracks border on post-marriage bitterness where as others are hopeful and happy about moving on. An EP that was released last year featured a couple of these songs, easing fans into the new style.
“You might as well go slow, I don’t like to rush things. I like to romance people into liking the music. You have to woo them. You can’t just get them drunk and expect them to sleep with you. I take them out for a nice dinner; play smaller venues, a nice intimate setting. Then I’ll suddenly play the Phoenix…or hopefully play the Phoenix,” Stollsteimer laughed.
The Von Bondies will continue to tour their new record through March, with a Canadian tour in May. Definitely check these guys out when they come back to Toronto. For now, new tracks can be heard at www.myspace.com/vonbondies.