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Day 214: Andrew Jackson Jihad – Knife Man

30 Sep

American Tune

 Swole Ear, you’re killing me.  I didn’t just miss the announcement of the new Andrew Jackson Jihad record, I didn’t hear the actual album for almost an entire month after its release.  I blame this blog because it sucks up all the time that I can possibly devote to music—instead of wasting my time by reading other music blogs, I’m wasting my time on a music blog of my own.  I figured that this site would keep me in the loop—with a record a day, how could I possibly miss anything?  I was wrong.  No regrets, though.

Yes, there will be a discussion of an album in this post, believe it or not.  Way back in March, I listened to Andrew Jackson Jihad’s People Who Can Eat People are the Luckiest People in the World, and fell in love.  I immediately ordered everything that I could find by them, which didn’t even cost too much, as they really do stay true to their punk ethos.  The duo’s furious brand of folk rock remains exactly what I’m looking for in my angry music.  While Knife Man is not as strong as either of their other LPs, it’s still better than most music that I listen to.

Knife Man’s main problem is its length.  Like any good punk band, AJJ usually keep it short and sweet—both of their other albums clock in at under half an hour.  This time around, the two hardly keep it under 45 minutes.  This wouldn’t be a problem if the energy level remained high for the record’s duration, but there are a few too many filler tracks this time around.

I’m going to overlook that, though.  Sean Bonnette remains today’s greatest lyricist, as far as I’m concerned.  The darkly hilarious American Tune, a satirical track about the joys of being a heterosexual white man in the United States, sees Bonnette wailing “…no one clutches their purses when they’re in a room alone with me / …I’m a straight white male in America / I’ve got all the luck I need.”  Whether hating on love songs or jams about the summer, I’m glad that Bonnette maintains a not-so-cheery disposition in his writing.  He says it himself on Sad Songs, “I’m happy that you’re happier than me.”  

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Day 4: Andrew Jackson Jihad – People Who Can Eat People are the Luckiest People in the World

4 Mar

Rejoice

Damn.  Sean Bonnette is quite the lyricist.  In this album alone, he manages to touch on murder, cannibalism, arson, and what I’m sure are a few other morbid topics that I haven’t picked up on–all in under 26 minutes.  I’ve heard good things about AJJ for years now, but for some reason, I never got around to listening to them before this.  I’m kicking myself for that now.  Fortunately, Bonette has a couple of Chicago shows coming up that I’ll be able to make.

AJJ have a very unique sound.  They’re described as folk-punk, which I guess is pretty accurate.  Aspects from both of those genres are evident on People… The instruments–an upright bass and an acoustic guitar–represent the folk side, while the destructive, angry lyrics show the duo’s punk side.  They pay their dues to folk lyrics, though, especially on the awesome Survival Song. After throwing in a couple of lines from the Dust Bowl classic Do Re Mi–with tongue in cheek–Bonette shouts “And we totally ripped off a man named Woody Guthrie/And I bought a restaurant for his son named Alice/And I fed false information to the audience/And that’s how I learned how to survive.”

This album helped me figure out what I like most in music: misleadingly happy instrumentals and musical arrangements, with unconventional, melodramatic lyrics (i.e. Los Campesinos!, a few Titus Andronicus songs).  These traits are hard to come by, so when I find a group that exhibits them, I’m going to latch on.  Which means there will be a whole lot of Andrew Jackson Jihad in my future.