It’s been a couple of years between drinks, but now US folk-punk band AJJ are set to return in early 2020, announcing their new album, Good Luck Everybody.
Back in 2015, Australia was graced with the first-ever local tour from Arizona-based folk-punk outfit AJJ (who were then known as Andrew Jackson Jihad). By 2017, the group had returned to Australia, having unleashed their sixth studio album, The Bible 2, and even paying tribute to both OK GO and The Wiggles with the video for ‘Goodbye, Oh Goodbye’.
Since then, they’ve been busy celebrating anniversary tours, releasing an EP and a compilation album, and hitting the studio to record their seventh album. Now, the band have revealed that their new studio effort is set to be unleashed in early 2020 under the name Good Luck Everybody.
Despite having risen to fame as an acoustic folk-punk band, recent years have seen the group expand their sound, causing frontman Sean Bonnette to summarise the new record in a single sentence: “Sonically, it’s our least punk record, and lyrically, it’s our most punk record.”
While still utilising their classic sound, the band’s new record seen them testing their limits, diving into new territories, and showcasing inspirations from Laurel Canyon folk-rock of the ’60s and ’70s, avant-garde artists like Suicide, and even orchestral pop.
“I think it explores some of the weirder sides of AJJ, the more experimental leanings that we’ve had in the past,” adds bassist Ben Gallaty.
Check out ‘Goodbye, Oh Goodbye’ by AJJ:
While The Bible 2 at times served as something of an exercise in surrealism thanks to Bonnette’s idiosyncratic songwriting style, Good Luck Everybody features a thematic lens focused more closely on the atrocities of the world around us, and serving as something of a return to the social commentary fans found within 2011’s Knife Man.
“I usually try for a timeless effect in songwriting, so that you can hear a song and generally not think about the context under which it was written,” Bonnette explains.
“But for this one, I was trying to write, and all the bad political shit just kept invading my brain and preventing me from writing that way. So I decided to fully embrace it and exorcise that demon.”
With lyrics that focus on politics (‘Mega Guillotine 2020’), the normalisation of the atrocities in the world (‘Normalization Blues’), and the orange man at the heart of it all (‘Psychic Warfare’), Good Luck Everybody and its title seem to serve as something more of a hopeful parting phrase as we cautiously head into the future.
“It’s pessimistic and sad, with small pockets of love and grace. It’s bitter. And funny. And scary, like a scroll through your endless feed,” Bonnette adds. “Showing you everything all at once, whether you were prepared to see it or not.
“I don’t particularly enjoy writing topical, political songs, but I have no control over what I write. We can only hope that this material will be dated next year and AJJ can move on to worthier subjects.”
With the new record out on January 17th, AJJ have left their previous labels – Asian Man Records and SideOneDummy Records – and launched their own; AJJ unlimited LTD.
Self-produced, the record features the band’s usual cast of collaborators (Preston Bryant, Dylan Cook, Mark Glick, Owen Evans), but also features guest appearances from the likes of Thor Harris, Jeff Rosenstock, and Laura Stevenson.
“One thing that makes me rather giddy is that without a label or a producer, our listeners will have no one to blame besides us for the way our sound has changed,” concludes Bonnette.
Good Luck Everybody is set for release on January 17th, and is available for pre-order now in a wide variety of unique packages.
Check out ‘A Poem’ by AJJ:
AJJ – Good Luck Everybody:
1. ‘A Poem’
2. ‘Normalization Blues’
3. ‘Body Terror Song’
5. ‘No Justice, No Peace, No Hope’
6. ‘Mega Guillotine 2020’
9. ‘Psychic Warfare’
10. ‘Your Voice, As I Remember it
11. ‘A Big Day For Grimley’