Search Results for "AJJ"

AJJ streaming “A Poem” off upcoming album “Good Luck Everybody”

Arizona folk-punks AJJ or the artist formerly known as Andrew Jackson Jihad are streaming the first track “A Poem” off their upcoming album Good Luck Everybody, which is due out in January of next year. Sean Bonnette former social worker and front-man for AJJ had this to say about the new album: “There’s something that comes along with scrolling through your phone on Twitter or Instagram and seeing a puppy, and then a joke from a comedian, and then a young black person being shot by police, and then another puppy, and then your friends announcing a tour, and then children in cages,” says Bonnette. “There’s something in that, that fucks your brain up. I don’t know if it’s made me more of a passionate arguer or just made me confused and numb.”

Check out the new song below.

AJJ last released Ugly Spiral: Lost Works 2012-2016 earlier this year.



Album Review: AJJ – “Ugly Spiral: Lost Works 2012-2016”

B-side and rarities compilations can be hit or miss. On the one hand, they’re a way to collect and gather non-LP tracks into one place, which is particularly great for non-obsessives who don’t track down every out-of-print 7-inch or promotional flexis with demos. On the other hand, because these songs are from a number of recording sessions, putting them together in one place can give the final product something of a disjointed feeling. AJJ’s Ugly Spiral: Lost Works 2012-2016, released last summer on SideOneDummy, largely avoids the latter while gathering a number of unreleased songs, a handful of non-LP singles, and alternate takes.

As the title implies, these songs only span a four year gap. Specifically, they come from a four year gap in which the band released Christmas Island and The Bible 2– two albums that have a fairly similar sound in a discography that is overall varied from album-to-album. In fact, one of the unreleased songs is the title track from Christmas Island and it sticks very closely to that album’s aesthetic. Opening track, “Space & Time,” similarly sticks to the optimistic side of AJJ shown on The Bible 2 with declarations of “I’m close enough to happy to say that I won’t throw my memories away.”

Out of all of the songs here, the one that sticks out the most is the band’s cover of Pink Floyd’s “The Final Cut.” AJJ has recorded plenty of covers in the past (many of which have made their way onto the band’s previous rarities collections Rompilation and the digital only Rompilation 2) but this is the first one that really feels surprising because Pink Floyd hardly seems like the type of band AJJ would cover. And yet they do an admirable job- you can tell it’s not the band’s usual style but it doesn’t feel out of place even on a collection of songs that are from a handful of different sessions.

Like almost any other b-sides compilation, Ugly Spiral isn’t likely going to turn on new listeners (or win back any former ones) but it still provides access to unreleased songs and a way to tide over fans while the band gears up for their next proper studio album.

4 / 5 Stars



AJJ stream new rarities album “Ugly Spiral: Lost Works 2012-2016”

Arizona’s AJJ are streaming a new album consisting of never-before-heard studio cuts, live favorites, songs previously only available on vinyl, and alternate takes of album highlights, all spanning the years of 2012-2016,  The new album is called Ugly Spiral: Lost Works 2012-2016, and you can give it a listen below

AJJ last released Back in the Jazz Coffin in August 2017.



Jeff Rosenstock announces 2018 tour dates, including some featuring AJJ’s Sean Bonnette

Jeff Rosenstock has announced some 2018 tour dates, including a run with Remo Drive, and another with AJJ’s Sean Bonnette.

You can check out the full list of dates and locations below.

Jeff Rosenstock last released Post- in January 2018.



Album Review: AJJ – ‘Back in the Jazz Coffin’

AJJ’s Back in the Jazz Coffin was a nice little mid-summer surprise. There was no announcement about its release, and what little promotion there was for the mini-album has already taken a backseat to the band’s current tour celebrating the tenth anniversary of People Who Can Eat People Are the Luckiest People in the World. Which is okay, because even though Back in the Jazz Coffin is a fine listen it’s not exactly essential.

Back in the Jazz Coffin is mostly notable for scaling things back. The band has stripped away most of the instrumentation and members that they’ve added over the year, leaving the duo of Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty, best known as the band’s “classic lineup.” This lends a slight “back to basics” feeling on this album, so if your major complaints about Christmas Island and The Bible 2 were more about the oddball production and stylistic choices rather than the lyrical content, then this collection is for you. However, keep in mind that this is still the same band that did record the aforementioned albums, so even though they’ve scaled back here it’s still slicker than the bathroom recording quality of Plant Your Roots.

“American Body Rentals” is the band’s best intro track since “The Michael Jordan of Drunk Driving” off Knife Man, which is to say, rather than being a full fledged song, it’s a quick ditty that’s over in a flash but still manages to conjure up lyrically absurd images. Unfortunately, it’s mostly middle-of-the-road stuff from there. “Blood, Hatred, Money & Rage 2” and “Border Patrol (Yuma)” have some redeeming qualities: the former has some fun with words in the chorus (“blood, hatred, money and rage / that’s the food I eat / that’s the juicebox I crave”) and the latter would slide in easily somewhere between “Backpack” and “Linda Ronstadt.” The same can’t really be said for “My Crooked Leg,” which is just kind of there.

The highlight of this collection is the final track, “Fuckboi.” In true AJJ fashion, the song tells an uncomfortable tale with coming to terms about being a terrible human in the past, and having to live with that in the present. “I don’t deserve the chance to say I’m sorry but I must because I have to live with me. I have to live inside of me,” the narrator sings to a pregnant woman that he previously mistreated. It’s not easy to come to terms with realizing the awful things you’ve said or done in the past- and it’s even harder when you realize that no matter how badly you feel about it, you’ll never feel as badly as you made them feel and saying “sorry” isn’t going to be enough to heal every wound. As uncomfortable as it can make the listener feel, “Fuckboi” is AJJ at the top of their game.

Back in the Jazz Coffin will be fun to revisit occasionally, but first and final tracks aside, it doesn’t make a very big splash in AJJ’s discography. Completists and fanatics will gobble it up, but the casual listener is best off waiting for the next LP that gets the full promotional treatment instead of a single Facebook post.

3 / 5 Stars

You can stream Back in the Jazz Coffin below.

RIYL: Ramshackle Glory, Mischief Brew, Mountains Goats (circa 2002)



AJJ (folk punk) are streaming their latest EP “Back in the Jazz Coffin”

Folk punk quartet AJJ are allowing fans to stream their latest EP release. Entitled Back in the Jazz Coffin, the record is the seventh studio effort from the band. It features five tracks of introspective acoustic punk music, and is available to stream in its entirety below.



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.”