Enderness, 180G White Vinyl LP
Auguste Arthur Bondy has never been one for the modern world. He once described his time in the alternative rock band Verbena as like being “an infant in a crib full of bats.” After that band folded, his solo records eschewed the glossy electronics and rousing crescendos popular in the late 2000s. Instead, he wrote unfashionable, blues-steeped country. Try as they may, placements of Bondy’s songs in popular television shows like “Friday Night Lights” couldn’t lure him from the margins, where he was content to play intimate rooms—just a simple guy with a guitar, a harmonica his only shiny thing.
It’s been eight years since Bondy last released a record, and his distaste for the present day has intensified. But rather than avoid popular sounds, on Enderness he gathers and subverts modern tools to construct his indictment of the modern world. With an arsenal of synthesizers, drum machine, sparse electric guitar, and a skeptic’s pen, he builds a plodding dystopian story of living death stoked by internet anti-reality, big pharma conspiracy, and environmental apocalypse—aka 2019. It’s existential dread as mid-tempo cradlesong, the music of our worst sleepless nights. “Stranger if you come/Know that much is broken/I forget the way/Surrender is spoken,” he sings on album standout “Images of Love,” bass pulses driving the caustic groove.