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|The Evolution of AJJ|
This list took me a very long time to make but here it is! I have gone into way to much detail on my favorite bands progression over time. All the albums/songs not on Sput will be filled in with Rompilation. Releases that didn't fit with the progression have been left out. Thanks to Sounds for approving this.
Containing mostly early workings of songs from later releases, these releases are rough and lackluster. Despite this, they are vital as it showed the group knew what direction they wanted to take there music. It’s truly hard to view these demos without thinking about how the band would go on to improve the songs, but these releases, although slightly mediocre, are the roots of Andrew Jackson Jihad.
Recommended track: These demos aren't really worth hunting down, to be quite honest.
Candy Cigarettes and Cap Guns
Fitting with the name Andrew Jackson Jihad, the group’s first full length is angry and aggressive, delivering punk sensibilities with the instruments of folk. The songwriting, while fun, is very immature, as is the lyricism. The band was in an awkward place musically, as they were transferring and tweaking songs that were written in the past. It’s very much hit or miss, with some songs being fun and precarious and others being cringe inducing and eye-roll worthy.
Recommended track: Dylan Cook’s Theme Song
This short EP, despite containing irritating production and panning inconsistencies, shows the band maturing by writing more interesting and thought out songs. The aggravating, demo-quality recordings take away from this record and the inexperienced band still feel like they are awkwardly stumbling to find a place. Although these flaws take away from the record, Issue Problems still stands out as showing the band attempting to take steps forward, no matter how sloppy these steps are.
Recommended track: Randall’s House
Live At Trunk Space 08/25/05
This live record is a huge step in the balancing act of the intimate, the technical, and the structure. The performance from Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty is extremely personal, playing songs with a striking amount of genuinity. Made up of, yet again, early workings of later album and compilation tracks, this opportunity allowed the two to further hone their skills and their songs.
Recommended track: Scene Song
Golden Boots/Flaspar Split
Andrew Jackson Jihad’s first split is very hard to come upon, but many songs from it can be found on the Candy Cigarettes, Capguns, Issue Problems, and Such compilation. The duo incorporate more surreal, dark humor stylings, like on Candy Cigarettes and Cap Guns. It is obvious that this was the band’s first attempt to play their music with other musicians and it does show a better approach to DIY production than Issue Problems. Mostly though, these songs have a consistent level of humorous lyrics and fun music, which makes them at least somewhat worth checking out.
Recommended track: The Freedom Tickler
Andrew Jackson Jihad/Ghost Mice split
The absolute jump in quality from the last split and this split is practically unreal. The once clumsy, yet charming, sound has come into true fruition, as Bonnette and Gallaty have strengthened their core and built upon a fresh, new foundation. The writing is the wittiest since the early drafts of Issue Problems, while the performances are extremely tight and, over all, their work on these recordings are leaps and bounds above where it had been in the past. The group took their folk punk sound and nearly perfected it.
Recommended track: Little Prince
People Who Can Eat People are the Luckiest People
Utilizing the leaps and bounds made in the Ghost Mice Split, the duo have refined the ideas from their half and created an anxious and witty album full of punky, zesty folk rock. The intimate nature of the Trunk Space show is blended with the excellent structure of the Ghost Mice Split and the spontaneity of their earlier demos, resulting in a slice of clever, emotional music.
Recommended track: People II: The Reckoning
Partners in 818 Split
The three songs seen on this split show the band’s first major usage of electric instrumentation, as everything before this contained mostly acoustic sounds. These recordings also implement heavy usage of drums and a much more raw, punky sound. While these songs are fun, there is none of the folk inspiration. Despite the lack of what makes Andrew Jackson Jihad that much more different, this is a fun look into what the band would sound like if they were a straight punk group.
Recommended track: Hate & Kill
Only God Can Judge Me
After the sound deviation, the next step was making a short EP that would show a complete return to folksy instrumentals, but also showed the band’s interest in in more ambitious songwriting. Many of the songs here display more intricate ways of explaining worries and sadnesses. The music itself is also more serious and heart-wrenching. The songs here are very melancholic, in a way that the group hadn't done in the past and would go on to do more in the future.
Recommended track: Guilt: The Song
Under The Influence Vol. 8
The influence that Neutral Milk Hotel had on Andrew Jackson Jihad was always felt, in a way. Regardless, this split with the Cobra Skulls contains only one song from Jihad, a cover of Two Headed Boy. The performance is both faithful to the original and faithful to their own sound, making the song both worth your time and an indicator that Neutral Milk Hotel’s influence will go on to be felt in the future.
Recommended track: Two Headed Boy
Being the Can’t Maintain equivalent of Issue Problems, this obscure EP contains demos on their next full length. As well as this, Andrew Jackson Jihad wear their influences on their sleeves, covering the likes of David Bowie and French Quarter. Bundled with other songs, this was another fun release for the band, although it is a bit of a mess, in terms of organization.
Recommended track: Still Smokin’
This record shows the group blending electric instrumentation, sorrowful themes, a tale of maturing, and masterfully executed songs that build a cohesive story. This is Andrew Jackson Jihad reaching their full potential, bringing the best elements of all their LPs, EPs, and Demos and blending them in a way that lets Bonnette and Gallaty display their most sturdy story and a record that the group was destined to make.
Recommended track: White Face, Black Eyes
Andrew Jackson Jihad/The Gunshy
After the duo’s first main foray into electric guitars and heavy usage of background instruments, Andrew Jackson Jihad’s short split with The Gunshy shows an even further disassociation with their folksy roots. Instead, the two groups mesh their sound into a punkier form, with a subtle sweetness. Regardless, this would show the folk side melting away.
Recommended track: There Is No War In This Love
Chronicles of Sheriff Joe Arpaio
The singular track featured on this short compilation, which was created in protest and mockery of Arizona’s Joe Arpaio, is a straight-forward punk song with samples from the Misfits and the Dead Kennedys. Not only was this another step in the more punk direction, this was also where their interesting form of music sampling started, where they lift melodies and build upon them in different ways.
Recommended track: Joe Arpaio is a Punk (Only Andrew Jackson Jihad song on the 7”)
Knife Man is a culminating album that showed the largest jump in Jihad’s career at this point. The defocussing of folk is apparent here, as is the flagrant use of electrified instruments and more precise production. The songs range from different punk styles to songs that still retain whatever’s left of the folky twang, making it the group’s most eclectic record to date. Over all, it is a lot stranger than their other LPs and cemented that Bonnette and Gallaty were not content to stay where they started.
Recommended track: People II 2: Still Peoplin’
The jump from Knife Man to Christmas Island makes the jump from Can’t Maintain to Knife Man look like a simple hop. After a 3 year gap between major releases, Andrew Jackson Jihad as added more members to their band and have altered their sound, taking on a “garbage pop” sound, which refers to a fuzzier and lower fidelity take on indie rock/pop. Despite a fresh, new direction, this is the band's most confused release to date, getting caught between different musical styles. The inspiration from Neutral Milk Hotel is found in spades here, with a similar approach in production and lyricism. Although there are some key tracks here that should not be missed, it overall is jarring and conflicted.
Recommended track: Coffin Dancer
Keep On Chooglin’ and Now That I’m At the Top of My Game
The stark contrast between these two singles is both surprising and reassuring. 2015’s “Keep On Chooglin’” still resembles the the confused state of Christmas Island, complete with inane lyrics and the lackluster compositions. On the other hand, 2016’s “Now That I’m At the Top of My Game” is much more upbeat and is a catchy sign of their next LP. Sure, it’s still not the Andrew Jackson Jihad we knew, and much of that has to do with the name change, but AJJ’s first song is a triumphant proclamation of pride and confidence.
Recommended track: Now That At the Top of My Game
The Bible 2
With The Bible 2, the sound first attempted on Christmas Island has been made more clear and has much more confidence. Bonnette’s clever and bitter lyricism is back in focus and the group is now utilizing their larger ensemble to create abrasive and subtly sad music that walks the lines between indie rock, pop, and punk. The abstract wording and fuzzy production style adds to the release, showing that the band has clearly found out what they would like to do now.
Recommended track: Terrifyer
Back in the Jazz Coffin
The band’s most recent release, which is a short EP, finds the group as a duo again, with just Bonnette and Gallaty being featured. The projects finds the group in a more eclectic offshoot of the sound found on The Bible 2 and, in some places, Christmas Islands. Although the songs are all too short to do too much, they all contain catchy hooks, interesting musical choices, and various different experiments. While it still resembles the other “garbage pop” releases, it also shows the two attempting to get a feel for what else they can do with this new sound they have.
Recommended track: Fuckboi
Masturbate in Praise of Black Satan
But, where will they go from here?
|My favorite band! Yay!|
|The way you omit criticism of the Bible 2 makes me happy. I feel like I'm the only one who loved that record.|
yeah, that's all I really came for, to see if you too would dare shit on that album, but you don't, you a good chap
|real amazing list dude. the bible 2 is also incredible |
|love ya bloon. great list and great band. |
19. still bad
|oh, I get it, Ryus. you're a cunt..|
|*scrambles to find popcorn*|
|@unique i have it 5'd lol|
|good for you, Bloon|
|Great work, Bloon. (: Obviously a lot of effort put into this. |
|you'd have to be a real asshole to not dig this band|
|fucking phenomenal list my dude it’s always really cool to see people go into detail about shit they care about on here|
|@sat u right now http://www.sputnikmusic.com/images/members/1083207.jpg |
|sry that my opinions make you angry :/|
|Shit band |
|shoot him again cos I can see his soul dancing|
|and if i see a penny on the ground, i leave it alone and fucking flip it|
|ghost mice split to knife man is peak ajj|
so much good shi
el principito is a 5/5 song
|hell yeah nice feature|
|20 is my favorite ajj tbh|
|This is an impressive piece of work, bloon.|
I plan to check all of your recommended tracks.
|cool list bloon man|