Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Detroit's Von Bondies ready to tie in more fans with new music

It's been more than three years since we've heard from Detroit city rockers the Von Bondies, but they're back and they're on a mission. With a new lineup and more new songs than they know what to do with, they're approaching 2008 like they're running for re-election on a multi-tiered campaign.

Step One: Release an EP. We Are Kamikazes Aiming Straight For Your Heart is a collection of four songs, all of which you can hear on their MySpace page ( and which you can pick up at shows throughout January (they're at Abbey Pub on Friday). Cleaner than anything on Lack of Communication or Pawn Shoppe Heart -- but with the signature howling vocals, sleazy guitar and swaggering drums -- singer Jason Stollsteimer says Kamikazes is a collection that re-introduces "two of our better songs and two that the band love." Since Pawn Shoppe Heart's 2004 release, there have been a lot of changes in the band's world. Stollsteimer says the last two records were "writing about being in love, and now I'm not for the first time since I was 16." And while he says "it's always just been me ... it's not a band experience" in the studio, there is a new lineup to go with the renovated sound. Joining Stollsteimer and Von Bondies drummer Don Blum are Alicia Gbur, Matt Lannoo and Leann Banks.

Which leads us to Step Two: Bring your music to the kids. The first time I saw the Von Bondies in a small club in London I nearly went deaf, got knocked around and witnessed my first guitar solo played on the shoulders of an audience member. The last time I saw the Von Bondies was a few months ago at a small club in New York where they road-tested a few new tunes -- and the new members threw down on the old songs. The Von Bondies live show is, without question, the best way to experience the new music, and Stollsteimer offers a challenge for Friday's show: "Bring your dancing shoes." Although he does add a caveat: "We're not the Klaxons."

Step Three: Give them more music than they know what to do with. This summer the Von Bondies will release their third studio album, Love, Hate and Then There's You. But proceeding that there will be another EP out in the spring. Stollsteimer's philosophy is refreshing in the ever-changing terrain of the music biz. "Put out four or five songs at a time that are all good and have kids come out to the shows." Sounds like a winning campaign slogan, eh? Check out the new tunes, both on MySpace and at the Abbey Pub, where they'll be supported by fellow Michigan bands SSM and Freer, and fall for the Von Bondies all over again. - Christen Thomas