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An incredibly flattering analysis of our songwriting :-) thanks so much ELMH!!
‘Heartilation’ by Andrew Jackson Jihad
Despite its tendencies in a commercial outlet to be just a genre specifically intended for going wild, throwing shit, jumping off stages and generally having a good time, the nature of punk has always, at its core, been about saying the wrong thing. And about the discussion of matters far too many people are committed to glazing over and building a wall around. A lot of people who would consider themselves ‘punk’, as such, try to be outspoken members of a society that they do not believe to be functioning well. This kind of person, perhaps fighting through a cruel youth, has learnt to see the world by the harsh reality it can hold. It’s fair to say that most people do not do things for the right reasons. And it is this curiosity and fascination with tragedy and the mistakes that people make which drives a lot of people to want to either do something practical about it, in the form of protest and activism or to want to write about it and shout about it in hopes to educate the world, and cast light over the dirt that mankind refuses to acknowledge. And I would say that Andrew Jackson Jihad are very much one of the many proud barers of that torch.
For those unaware, Andrew Jackson Jihad are primarily a two-piece, consisting of Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty. They are mainly known for writing socially analytical, introspective and politically scathing songs to the key of folk punk. They have the backbone and spirit of punk, but often incorporate folk instrumentation with acoustic guitars (very present in their early material), mandolins, violins, stand up bass, horns and just the general chord progression you would find in a folk song.
I first got into the band just soon after they released their last album, ‘Knife Man’. I was struck by how earnest it was, how personal it was and how conscious it was. Personally, I always strive to be as aware of myself and the world around me as much as I feel I can, and KM definitely had a similar mentality within its content. From it’s tender but passionate songs that took apart the human condition. I identified with Sean Bonnette, the primary voice of AJJ. His honest view of himself in relation to the world consisted of him concluding many times that despite how much hate he had for himself most of the time, he couldn’t see the world as much better. Struck with neurosis, paranoia, depression, and a general inability to find comfort in purely existing, throughout his songs, you see almost a stream of understanding of who he is and the many things he thinks about himself and the world. Plus, whenever you hear him sing about these problems, you can tell he really means it. Every word sang is delivered with such sincerity and you realize that this is a very intelligent man, struggling to make sense of everything, bearing his soul to the world, and almost breaking down doing it.
His intelligence is seen through many things: the way in which he discusses his inner wars, his hate for how evil men can be, how unforgiving circumstances can be to the innocent and his self awareness for everything he says - his self esteem and his inner obligation to discuss the things he feels he needs to sing about are constantly at war, but always come out at the end in a very clever way. His wit defines that, he knows exactly how he sounds when he appears to preach, and he is the first one to question himself after he has made a claim or come to a conclusion. Some could say that AJJ could be described by the line (from ‘Heartilation’), from this song: “If all I see is the worst in everything, that’s all I’m gonna get”. He is constantly trying to better himself and his understanding of the world, but he always feels himself falling short. Always burning to make the wrong right.
I love the instrumentation throughout their catalogue, and it may be one of my favourite things about them. It’s less notable on ‘Heartilation’, the track that I have highlighted today, but is definitely explored throughout the rest of the album of which it is lifted, being ‘Can’t Maintain’. The drive of this song defines the passion that the band has. Despite how sentimental and reflective their songs can be, ultimately, their energy and intention is most comfortable in a song like this, full of punk spirit and charge. I think it is this type of performance that lets the listener know just how much the subject matter matters to the band; its immediacy and tempo grabbing you and making you pay attention to just what they want you to know about. Things that matter.
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Sean and Ian’s Chicago show is sold out, so we’ve decided to do a 4 pm matinee!
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Two Shows have been added to the Sean and Ian tour, the Black Sheep Cafe in Springfield, IL and Frequency in Madison WI http://www.facebook.com/andrewjacksonjihad/app_123966167614127 …
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Hi Gang! Sean here. In April, my good friend Ian Graham and I are going on tour.
On this tour I will be playing lots of different kinds of songs. Old, new, covers, deep cuts, etc… There will probably be a clipboard at the merch table where you can write in requests. Mark from Anxiety Machine Records will be there too. It will be a truly fantastic voyage.
Dates and stuff can be found here: CLICK THIS
4.10 @ 8AM (Chicago, IL) (Presale Only) Tickets
4.11 @ House Café (Dekalb, IL) Tickets
4.13 @ Blue Moose (Iowa City, IA) Tickets
4.15 @ Firebird (St. Louis, MO)
4.16 @ The Owlery (Bloomington, IN) *With Ghost Mice!
4.17 @ 222 Ormsby (Pittsburgh, PA)
4.19 @ The Champ (Lemoyne, PA) Tickets
4.20 @ Stevens Institute of Technology (Free for Stevens students, $5 general public)
4.21 @ Ottobar (Baltimore, MD)
4.22 @ Firehouse 13 (Providence, RI) Tickets
4.23 @ Great Scott (Allston, MA) Tickets
4.24 @ Tralf Music Studio Stage (Buffalo, NY) Tickets
4.25 @ The Basement (Columbus, OH) Tickets
4.27 @ Mac’s Bar (Lansing, MI) Tickets
Matt Price can make anything look good. Minutes before knocking the wind out of myself.
Sean Bonnette, FS rock, Scottsdale AZ, 2012.
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We’re not that different after all @jeffrosenstock @littletimmkins
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Played Detroit last night and my amp magically turned into a Juggalo. Miracles, bro!
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ANDREW JACKSON JIHAD/ FUTURE OF THE LEFT/ JEFF ROSENSTOCK
98-104 MESEROLE AVE/ 8:30 PM/ $10 / ALL AGES
GET YR TICKET FROM THE POISSON ROUGE SHOW REFUNDED.
THIS SHOW IS GOING TO RULE, PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD, SORRY ABOUT THE CAPS.
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