This past week I was introduced to the musical stylings of a folk punk band called Andrew Jackson Jihad (I know, it’s a fabulous name) thanks to my internet friend Wes, who sent me a playlist to cheer me up and get me out of my funk. It worked.
Here’s a random picture of them I stole from Google Images, which I chose because shotguns and beer. Yeah.
(Image credit: PunkNews.org)
AJJ is certainly not the type of music I typically listen to. Probably the closest thing I could compare them to from my nebula of familiar bands is Violent Femmes. Or perhaps Flogging Molly if Flogging Molly wasn’t Celtic. But as I told Wes, I do consider my musical tastes pretty diverse and I’m always willing to try something new, so I was pretty pleased to find their discography on Spotify.
I started with the handful of songs Wes recommended: “Candle in the Wind (Ben’s Song)”, “People II: The Reckoning”, “Principito”, “People”, “Evil”, and “Rejoice.” From there I then moved on to Knife Man, an album the band released in 2011, which I’d like to point out has a song on it called “The Michael Jordan of Drunk Driving.” I feel this is important for you to know. There’s also a song on there called “Zombie By the Cranberries By Andrew Jackson Jihad” which is actually nothing like Zombie by The Cranberries. That both confused and disappointed me.
Anyway, my point is, I listened to a fairly diverse selection of AJJ’s music and got myself acquainted with this whole folk punk thing. When I think of punk, I think of punk rock like The Clash, The Ramones, or even The Revillos (one of my faves). I’m not used to this stripped-down, acoustic flavor of punk and I’m not sure if it’s something I could listen to all the time, but I do know this: I felt a lot better after listening to it.
AJJ’s style seems pretty lax and down to earth, even silly. They’re not great singers–pretty terrible, actually–but the lyrics are clever and at the same time right-to-the-point and completely relatable. It’s not like a good singing voice matters much with this type of music anyway when the point is to distill the world’s problems into an entertaining few minutes of melodic whining and imparted wisdom that everyone can relate to. Sometimes it’s pretty catchy, too. I can see myself knocking back a few beers with these guys, drowning my problems as I attempt to sing along in a drunken, disorderly fashion before one of my friends takes my keys away. It would be a good night.