i hate the sound of guitars

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quick take : Andrew Jackson Jihad : Candy Cigarettes, Capguns, Issue Problems! and Such

17 Feb 2011 · No Comments

Andrew Jackson Jihad definitely put the “punk” attitude into folk punk. Candy . . . reminds me of the first Violent Femmes albums, only more: faster, more frenetic, more impassioned (Sean Bonnette’s aspiration-heavy voice has a timbre that at times sharply recalls The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle or The Thermals’ Hutch Harris) and much, much ruder. Like the the Femmes, they play a lot with the concept of sincerity, and whether their record has any at all or not. My expectations of the punk scene lead me to think that maybe the songs about how cool it is to smoke and about glorifying sexualized violence against women are satirical and the songs about how it sucks that people aren’t nicer to each other more often are more heartfelt, but you never know, it could be the other way around.

Any strummy folk act (as opposed to a tarantula-fingered, alternate-tuning prog folk act) has to deal with the fact that countless musicians have used these chord progressions and mostly likely melodic phrase fragments before; the trick is to tie your words to the notes through conviction, metrical trickery, or sheer alchemy. AAJ do pretty well with this; “Ladykiller” follows classic earworm-construction rules, and there are a few nice arrangement/production details throughout, like the “what the hell is that?” sound that decorates “Dylan Cook’s Theme Song.”

Any band of this ilk worth its salt ought to be able to offend all of its listeners at least some of the time. They get me by deploying the “c”-word for shock value in one tune, and not in the British sense. Like the “n”-word, it’s too thermonuclear for it to matter whether it’s used satirically or not, and it makes me cringe a bit, especially coz they also detonated it in the otherwise unreservedly awesome “We Didn’t Come Here to Rock,” a seemingly sincere song about how asshole rock critics should just shut the hell up from 2009’s Can’t Maintain, which I’ve also been listening to lately.

Note: Candy Cigarettes, Capguns, Issue Problems! and Such is a reissue of the 2005 LP Candy Cigarettes and Capguns combined with the 2006 EP Issue Problems!

Tags: 2005 · 2006 · 2011 · a · anti-folk · asian man · folk · punk

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