Verbena - La Musica Negra (Cover Artwork)


La Musica Negra (2003)


A recent review in the Portland Mercury labeled Verbena as "The Paul Simon's of grunge."

Whatever the fuck that means.

They have been around since 1996 and have released four albums to their name. They have met and hung out with David Grohl from the Foo Fighters, who eventually went on to produce Verbena's third album, "Into the Pink."

"La Musica Negra," Verbena's first venture into the ethic album titles, is by far their greatest accomplishment yet, and barely anybody has even heard about them.

We've seen it done before, a band taking their blues and punk influences and blending them together to form their own private little genre. It rarely works, but for some reason this does.

Scott Bondy, Alabama's own Kurt Cobain, has become known as the next, well, Kurt Cobain. Verbena's music, which is obviously inspired by the likes of Nirvana, the Stooges and the Foo Fighters, have brought their own cards to the table, and have the balls to make all the other bands call.

But even Verbena is unhappy with the comparisons to the previous grunge bands.

"I don't even own a flannel shirt." Bondy once said.

"La Musica Negra" is the first album without Bondy's female counterpart, Anne-Marie Griffin, who went off to school. Verbena's first three albums relied heavily on the male/female vocals, which gave into numerous comparisons to the Pixies. Which, by the way, can never be a bad thing. So Scott is left alone to do the vocals, but it doesn't seem to matter. Scott's southern drawl makes almost every word in every song feel just a little more sexier. I never thought that I would use the word "sexier" in a review.

"Way Out West," Verbena's first single off of "La Musica Negra" features Verbena at their best with straight ahead rock music. And the video is pretty cool and features both Keifer Sutherland and Wee-man from Jackass.

Verbena can play anything from punk, "Killing Floor (Get Down on it)" to southern blues with tunes like "Devil in Miss Jones" and "I, Pistol."

Bondy has an obsession with guns and angels, much like the late Cobain, so almost every song contains references to the above subjects. Bondy has an amazing way at using his voice. From a growl to a whisper and to an obvious southern drawl, he does it all, and his lyrics are beautiful.

On their first two albums, Verbena tried to play the blues and on their third album they tried to play punk. "La Musica Negra" finally takes both genres and blends them to perfection.

The first intelligent man to lead an intelligent rock band who can actually blend blues and punk and create their own private little genre. It's just plain beautiful to listen to and after it's over, all of your senses seem to be fulfilled, and that is exactly what I want after listening to an album.