Search Results for "AJJ"

AJJ announce “People Who Can Eat People Are The Luckiest People In The World” 10th anniversary tour

AJJ, or Andrew Jackson Jihad as they were happily known as back a decade ago, are doing a lengthy tour to mark the 10th anniversary of their seminal second album, “People Who Can Eat People Are The Luckiest People In The World”.  The tour will feature the band’s original lineup of Sean Bonnette on acoustic guitar and Ben Gallaty on stand-up bass. A full list of cities the tour hits are belowTickets go on sale in the usual places on Wednesday June 28th.

AJJ’s most recent effort is last year’s “The Bible 2,” released on SideOneDummy.



Watch: AJJ perform “Junkie Church” at SideOneDummy HQ

AJJ, who will always-and-forever remain better known as Andrew Jackson Jihad, are among the myriad artists putting out special releases for Record Store Day today. Specifically, the Arizona-based quartet are slated to drop Decade of Regression: Live at SideOneDummy, and have now debuted the video performance of that album’s version of “Junkie Church” for your viewing enjoyment. Check it out below.

“Junkie Church” originally appeared on AJJ’s latest album, last year’s “The Bible 2,” obviously released on SideOneDummy.



The Bouncing Souls announce West Coast tour

New Jersey punk icons The Bouncing Souls have announced dates for a west coast tour, which will take place this March. The band will be supported by AJJ, Get Dead and The Bombpops.

Dates and locations can be found below.

The Bouncing Souls released their latest album Simplicity in July, 2016. It was their first album in 4 years, serving as the follow-up to 2012’s Comet.



DS Staff Picks – Bizarro Dustin’s Top Albums of 2016

In a lot of ways, 2016 kinda sucked. You can probably figure out what I’m talking about when I say that, and I hope that you would agree. Yet, somehow it was also a really good year. On a personal level, I moved into a new apartment with my girlfriend, left an emotionally abusive and draining job of three years, and started not one, but two jobs, one of which could very well become a career (the only downside to working two jobs is that it gives me less time to devote to Dying Scene). And then there was the music.

Oh yes, the music. Maybe 2016 wasn’t a great year for most things, but the music was terrific. I started narrowing down my list at the beginning of December, and after a day and a half I decided that, much like last year, I wasn’t going to limit myself to ten records. I know that’s against the rules, but breaking all the rules is punk rock.

You can find my list below.

I guess I’ll also throw this out there: I enjoyed Tacocat’s Lost Time, Chris Farren’s Can’t Die, Jeff Rosenstock’s WORRY., Doe’s Some Things Last Longer Than You, and Petrol Girls’ Talk of Violence this year, but not to the point where I felt like they were essential listening in the same way that the following albums were.

 



Album Review: AJJ – “The Bible 2”

There’s a certain level of goodness that makes things hard to talk about, and maybe even harder to fully digest. There’s the very good, where perfection is attained and you’re left with the rather dull prospect of pounding out what sounds like hyperbole for four to six paragraphs. There’s very bad, that while more fun to write, is often a dedication of time and energy to describe something you most likely never cared about in the first place. And then, there is the pretty good– the okay– which leaves you sorting through tracks looking for the exact moment a listenable album just didn’t do enough to make you love it.

It’s never fun to write the latter. Because, for me, it oftentimes becomes a chronicle of when one of your favorite bands ceases to be your favorite. You all know the Frost line, “This is the way the world ends. Not with a bang but a whimper.” That’s how it always goes. A great band doesn’t just turn in an album that wrecks your appreciation of them in one mighty display of incompetence, usually it’s a simpler and subtle deviation from the roots that made you love them in the first place. Against Me! was one of those bands for me. Where I loved the first three, really liked the fourth, uncomfortably liked the fifth, and then Transgender Dysphoria Blues came out and finally solidified my alienation: this band isn’t mine anymore. And it wasn’t. But it wasn’t a bad record either, it just wasn’t for me. That was my whimper– no satisfying bang of hatred and confusion, just a whine and a “move along, folks, nothing to see here.”

AJJ (formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad) was my band for awhile. I remember watching videos of them with buddies, cringing and laughing aloud at some of their more cutting lyrics. They were an introduction into a punk I didn’t know existed. Watching them play on trains, on sidewalks, and wherever else they could was watching someone make good on all the promises punk made. People Who Can Eat People…, Can’t Maintain, and my favorite, Knife Man became veritable classics for me and my close group of friends. It just clicked.

And then Christmas Island came out and I liked most of it. It came burdened with production choices I couldn’t quite jump on board with, along with an increasing diminishing of their folk punk early days. But still, this was my band, damnit! I loved them still, and I met them halfway and ended up finding a bunch of songs I really dug.

And now, we have The Bible 2— a continuation of latter-day AJJ as much as it is a rebranding– packaged with the same codifying authority as a self-titled record. It calls in a deep booming voice: “Behold ye mighty and despair, we were Andrew Jackson Jihad, but now we are AJJ.” The new name comes with a new identity and it wouldn’t even be unfair to call this a first album by a new band. And while, I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that the band would welcome this consideration, the similarities and love of what once was might be too hard to shake for some listeners.

This problem rears its head immediately, as a lot of The Bible 2’s faults are holdovers from Christmas Island. The vocal distortion effects are present, and they once again open the album with a fast punk track covered in them. “Cody’s Theme” (name checking the “kid who is most-likely named Cody” from “Angel of Death”– further solidifies the kinship between Christmas Island and The Bible 2) throws some synth melodies in too, but isn’t catchy or specific enough (save for the chorus, which I like decently enough) to form an attachment to.

And the thing is, everything is still there. Nothing has quite changed enough to say that they have turned their backs to their roots or have decided to go soft to get love from the kids. I believe the decisions they made were made in earnest. AJJ has a different focus than Andrew Jackson Jihad, and it maintains elements of the latter, but diminishes others. The greatest example is The Bible 2’s mission statement, detailed in the song title: “No More Shame, No More Fear, No More Dread.” They’ve switched gears into something vaguely positive and inspirational, like Christian rock for misfits. Of course, it is most likely agnostic and probably irreligious, but it carries the same sense of affirmation. No More Shame, No More Fear, No More Dread is the YOLO for teenagers who feel like they don’t belong.

If I’m being fair though, I have to admit that Sean Bonnette’s lyricism has grown on this album (while the more cynical part of me would say it has simply changed, politely excluding for better or for worse). Christmas Island was mostly decent, but it showed a trend of Bonnette giving into some of his worst tendencies as a songwriter, leaning hard on non-sequitur lists and free association surrealism. The Bible 2 feels more personal and focused overall, even adhering pretty well to its own themes, where Christmas Island felt a little scattered and less cohesive than the epic concept album that was Knife Man.

And, despite my whimpers, there are some great lyrics across The Bible 2, and some of the best songs here are the best AJJ has ever written. “Goodbye, Oh Goodbye” is one of its catchiest, and its bridge has one of my favorite lines across the album. “7th grade was hard enough/ Someone thought that they knew me/ If I stay in bed long enough/ They’ll go to church without me.” It’s packed with honest pathos and relatable imagery, while continuing the album’s themes of childhood, and how childhood experience forms us.

This theme is established early on in “Cody’s Theme,” but is brought to a satisfying conclusion with “Small Red Boy.” On it, Bonnette describes cutting a “small red boy” out of his stomach and uses it as a metaphor for the worst parts of all of us, and how they define, destroy, and ultimately provide us with beauty. Reading through the lyrics, while listening to its rumbling crescendo, it would be hard to believe that AJJ has or will ever write a better song.

And that’s what makes The Bible 2 disappointing in some respects. Where “Small Red Boy” is the AJJ I want, the one that I get is weighed down with forgettable songs and unpalatable effects. The best compliment I ever heard the band get was from one of my friends. He said, “Listening to them makes me uneasy.” That’s the AJJ I want, the band that finds beauty in destitution and depravity, that takes long unbroken gazes into the eyes of families on the verge of breaking, on the emotional collateral damage that’ll splatter brains across floral print wallpaper. This is the band that wrote, “Backpack,” a song that you’d probably choose to skip more times than not– and it might still be your favorite off Knife Man. Horror writer Jack Ketchum wrote this essay on violence in fiction, and it boiled down to the idea that as a writer, you shouldn’t “look away.” Violence is real and it is awful, and doing anything less than presenting it and everything it touches does it a disservice. Looking away makes it too easy, it makes it not real. The Bible 2 doesn’t share the same obsession with with transgression that made me fell in love with the band, it dips its toes every once and awhile, but it doesn’t want to tell us how drowning people’s lungs fill with water– it wants to pull them out of the ocean. I think both are valid. But, its not what I want to hear. Which brings us around to an uncomfortable truth worthy of the band at their most gnarly: maybe I’m not the audience anymore. They switched gears and I’m left wanting something they’re not really that interested in anymore. The album is chock-full of their new perspective and direction and the themes of rebirth and perseverance are enough to say that the move was intentional. Like after years of negativity and bullshit, someone just said, “Enough, enough, enough. This is no way to live.” Then one of them grabbed a self-help book, tried to find religion, and then did their best to reconcile it all with who they are and what they know.  There’s still a lot to like, even if its not what I wanted. But for me, it’s summed up as follows: AJJ was a band that didn’t look away. And on The Bible 2, they sometimes still don’t.

 

3.5/5



AJJ announce East Coast tour with Diners and Chris Farren

Arizona’s AJJ is heading out on a fall tour to support their new album, The Bible 2. The tour, appropriately titled The Bible 2’r, will feature support from Diners and Chris Farren. You can check out the dates and locations below.

AJJ will release The Bible 2 on August 19, 2016 through SideOneDummy Records. Chris Farren will be releasing his solo debut LP, Can’t Die, on September 2, 2016 also through SideOneDummy.



AJJ stream new album “The Bible 2”

Arizona’s AJJ (formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad) are streaming their new album The Bible 2 in its entirety. You can give the record a listen below.

The Bible 2 releases on August 19th through SideOneDummy Records. It will be the band’s 6th full-length album, and their first since shortening their name to “AJJ.”



Music Video: AJJ – “Junkie Church”

AJJ (formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad) have released a new video for their song “Junkie Church.”

Check it out below.

“Junkie Church” comes from the bands’ upcoming album The Bible 2, which releases on August 19th through SideOneDummy Records. It will be the bands’ 6th full-length album, and their first since shortening their name to “AJJ.”



AJJ announce Midwest tour w/ Kepi Ghoulie

AJJ (formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad) have announced they we be touring the Midwest in support of their new album The Bible 2 this fallArizona’s Diners and ex-Groovie Ghoulies frontman Kepi Ghoulie will be tagging along for the tour.

Check out the tour dates below to see if there’s a show near you.

The Bible 2 releases on August 19th through SideOneDummy Records. It will be the band’s 6th full-length album, and their first since shortening their name to “AJJ.”



DS Exclusive: Plan-It X Fest Day 1

Throughout most of my drive from Indianapolis airport to the Plan-It-X venue, I was roughly 80% sure I was totally lost. The terrain around Spencer is almost exclusively farmland, and the town itself is small and quiet, a place where near half of the store fronts looked permanently closed. Just when I was on the verge of pulling over and checking my map, I saw six hitchhikers, all in a row, walking in the same direction and all wearing the same look of triumph. That was a good sign. Then, as if on cue, I passed an orange sign with an eye-patched smiling cat, and below that words “You’re Close!” were written in sharpie.

At a quick first glance, the Festival almost seemed like a summer camp- a summer camp populated by mostly-drunk adults in patched jackets, tattered shirts, and muddied boots. All of the acts played on a stage in an old barn. Beside the barn, lay a green pond, within which five people were splashing around an inflatable pond, and around which groups of people were sleeping and jamming. Beyond the barn and the pond, a small tent shanty-town stretched for about half a mile through the nearby woods. As I set up my tent, some nearby speakers to my left was blasting Mischief Brew’s “Thanks Bastards”, while to my left a guy with a guitar was giving his rendition of “Three Chord Circus”. This impromptu tribute to the late Erik Peterson was simultaneously beautiful, and strangely haunting, yet the mood was quickly lightened when two of my neighbors walked by, inexplicably chanting “STD’S WERE CREATED BY THE GOVERNMENT!”

Throughout most of the day, people followed a fairly simple routine; watch the performances in the barn until the heat and humidity become unbearable, return to your campsite to rehydrate on water and beer, then repeat as necessary. Every group played a short, sweet, half-hour set, and unfortunately I missed Dakota Floyd, the first act of the fest. Fortunately, I was able to make the latter half of the set played by Double Jinx, a two-man group that played pop-punk tunes that, while bursting with bright energy, actually played immensely political songs about police brutality and homelessness. They were immediately followed by Ugly Lover, a duo with a considerably darker tone that delivered moody dark wave tunes about healing and grief, both members erupting with desperate rage.

While the first two bands created two vastly different sounds, they both paid careful attention to the making sure their respective messages were conveyed to the audience. The songs would be preceded with short, earnest explanations of their nestled ideas, and while Ugly Lover focused more on themes of personal healing, both bands conveyed the same call for solidarity, as well as a love of being surrounded by friends of allies.

As the day progressed, the bands differed vastly in musical sensibilities, but the themes of love and community remained as a prevailing constant. Dog Years played jumpy, short songs that let every guitar riff and vocal line shoot up with an unquenchable energy. The Minor Kind delivered slow, wistful Americana tunes about staying true to oneself. Some of the acts weren’t even musical; Julia Eff, for example, delivered a beautiful poetry reading that explored the role of music in becoming something else, and in transcending ideals of gender and identity. Anywhere else, this shift in tone would seem slightly discordant, but Eff’s reading ultimately stood as something wonderful delivered to the prefect audience, one that could completely relate the struggles of understanding oneself, and would cheer at all the nostalgic references to Myspace and early-2000’s pop-punk.

At nightfall, the oppressive heat of the day finally lifted, only to give way to a swarm of mosquitoes. People gathered around separate campfires, all cooking their own, unique, ramshackle dinners. When I finally made it back to the barn, I could hear Terror Pigeon, a one-man act, blasting dreamy electro-punk riffs while screaming the repeated line “you make my heart explode!” He was then followed by Dogbreth, a pop-punk act that mixed melancholy lyrics with totally unrelenting energy and movement, with both guitarists collapsing to the ground throughout the final solo.

Unfortunately, The Taxpayers had been forced to drop out of the festival at the last minute. So, the climax of the evening was delivered by Your Heart Breaks and Ghost Mice. I had absolutely fallen in love with “America”, Your Heart Breaks’ incredibly mellow previous album, so it was quite a (pleasant) surprise when they delivered an fast, electric set that focused on their earlier work. When Ghost Mice took the stage, the barn was now completely packed full of people. The group was fully prepared for this turn out, forgoing their usual acoustic sensibilities in favor of something faster, with Chris Calvin absolutely killing it on an electric guitar. The audience absolutely adored this decision, singing along and jumping in unison to songs like “Critical Hit” and “Song For Tomorrow”. With the conclusion to the set, someone even jumped on stage, tossed an inflatable raft onto the crowd, and spent the final song crowd water rafting (I don’t know if that’s a thing, but I’m going to call it that).

The night was concluded with Super Famicom, a solo experimental goth punk act. Then, from 1 am until about 2, there was a karaoke show. As I walked back to my tent, three young punks were delivering an… unconventional rendition of Vanessa Carlton’s “A Thousand Miles”.

I spent the rest of the night sitting around a lantern with my neighbors, listening to distant covers of AJJ and Ramshackle Glory songs. A guy named Elton told me how, the previous year, an ambitious washboard player decided to spend an entire night playing, and re-playing, the entire Johnny Hobo discography, much to the frustration of the rest of the camp. As we all sat there, slowly succumbing to our exhaustion, I was struck by the tremendous friendliness and generosity of the people around me. Beer, food, and cigarettes were constantly being traded; while stories and ideas flowed freely from person to person. Lying in my sleeping bag, I found my mind running through the final lines of The Mountain Goat’s “The Color In Your Cheeks”:

“But they came, and when they finally made it here
It was the least we could do to make our welcome clear
Come on in, we haven’t slept for weeks
Drink some of this, it’ll put color in your cheeks”

 



AJJ announce new album “The Bible 2,” release music video for lead single

AJJ (formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad) have announced they will be releasing a new album titled The Bible 2 on August 19th through SideOneDummy Records. They’ve also premiered a music video for the LP’s lead single “Goodbye, Oh Goodbye.”

You can check out the video as well as the record’s tracklist and cover art below. Pre-orders are available here.

The Bible 2 will be the band’s 6th full-length album, and their first since shortening their name to “AJJ.” Their last LP Christmas Island was released in May of 2014.



AJJ tease new music in perhaps the strangest way possible

When AJJ (formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad) announced that their new album would be releasing sometime this year, I for one was absolutely brimming with excitement. I guess the band must have sensed the general anticipation, because ever since releasing the video for “Top of My Game”, they’ve switched to teasing their music in the most esoteric way possible. Members of the group have been posting weird Vlogs to Facebook of themselves eating cereal, opening random boxes, and even digging through their own trash, all of which have been accompanied by brief snippets of their coming songs. The videos themselves are funny, in a typically weird AJJ kind of way, and from what I’m hearing, this could be shaping up to be an awesome album. You can check them out here.



New Music: AJJ (formerly Andrew Jackson Jihad) cover PUP’s “Reservoir”

AJJ, a band comprised completely of former members of Andrew Jackson Jihad, recently covered a track by their SideOneDummy labelmates PUP. Check out AJJ’s rendition of “Reservoir” below.

In its original form, “Reservoir” appears on PUP’s self-titled 2014 full-length.



Plan-It-X offer entire catalog for $134.96

So this is something a little different. Those fine folks over at Plan-It-X have just put their entire catalog on sale for exactly $134.96. It’s definitely a hefty sum, especially since punk-rockers of the folk variety aren’t exactly known for rolling in disposable income. Than again, this collection does include albums such as The Taxpayer’s “God Forgive These Bastards”, Ramshackle Glory’s “Live The Dream”, and the Ghost Mice/AJJ split, arguably three of the greatest folk-punk albums of all time. So hey, if your wallets feeling a little hefty, and you wanna hugely expand your folk-punk collection, check out the labels Bandcamp page here.



Andrew Jackson Jihad shorten name to AJJ, stream new song “Now That I’m at the Top of My Game”

Andrew Jackson Jihad have announced that they are officially shortening their name to AJJ. Here’s an excerpt from the band’s Facebook post explaining the change:

“The two biggest reasons for this are:
1.) We are not Muslims, and as such, it is disrespectful and irresponsible for us to use the word jihad in our band’s name.
2.) We no longer wish to be a living reminder of president Andrew Jackson. Interesting historical figure as he was, he was an odious person and our fascination with him has grown stale.”

You can read the whole post here.

Meanwhile, the band have also shared a new song titled “Now That I’m at the Top of My Game.” The song will appear on the band’s upcoming studio album, and you can listen to it below. No other information has been released on the new album yet, but we’ll keep you posted.

AJJ last released Christmas Island on May 6, 2014 through SideOneDummy Records