A. A. Bondy

When The Devil's Loose

Biggie said it, and time and time again we see how right he was: “The more money you make, the more problems you get.” Take Canadian rapper/singer/serial blog muse Drake, for example. The man has “Trust Issues,” an emotional hangup that would seem to fall squarely within the subset of problems about which Biggie waxed philosophical. It’s a shame, because trust is the foundation of any healthy relationship, and even famous people deserve love. And while I don’t have millions of dollars and can’t exactly relate to Drake’s worries that bitches are going to slip something in his drinks, trust does figure prominently when I’m thinking about how to dole out my dozens of dollars when I’m at the record store, as I was this past Saturday.

I’d been in a months-long self-imposed record-buying timeout (my 45 binge in Portland was proof positive that I needed a break), so Saturday’s trip to Steady Sounds was kiiiind of a big deal. I felt that familiar rush of excitement as I flipped through the new releases and sale items before digging into the used records, whereupon I ran smack into my own trust issues, which on this occasion manifested themselves in the form of A. A. Bondy’s 2009 album When The Devil’s Loose. See, I didn’t know much, if anything, about Bondy when I started listening to his most recent effort, Believers, but I’ve enjoyed it immensely, especially “Surfer King,” which sprinkles in just enough of a Motown feel that the song seemed timeless and canonical almost immediately. And as many times as I’ve listened to that song (zillions) and the rest of Believers, I still haven’t taken the time to learn about Bondy’s back-story and other releases — the kind of details that inspire you to dig deeper into a musician’s catalogue.

Regardless of my ill-preparedness, there I was at Steady Sounds, face-to-face with a $6 used copy of When The Devil’s Loose, trying to decide whether to break my streak of uncharacteristic self-control for a record that I hadn’t sampled and knew almost nothing about. But after a few seconds of reflection, I came to a crucial and decisive realization: I trust A. A. Bondy. I believe in Believers (feel free to re-read this last sentence in your best Pentecostal preacher voice). That album is so good that there’s no way songs recorded by the same person just two years earlier could be so bad that I’d regret betting $6 on them. Sure enough, my wager paid off handsomely. When The Devil’s Loose is outstanding from start to finish, exhibiting the same mastery of mood and uncanny timelessness that made me a Bondy believer in the first place.

Check out the title track below, and if you enjoy it, let your own music-buying devil loose by grabbing the album on iTunes.

A. A. Bondy — “When The Devil’s Loose

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