AJJ Presents: "Desert Trash" hosted by Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall

Psyko Steve Presents

AJJ Presents: "Desert Trash" hosted by Kevin McDonald of Kids in the Hall


Sat, February 3, 2018

Doors: 5:30 pm / Show: 6:30 pm

The Van Buren

Phoenix, AZ

$20.00 - $25.00

This event is 13 and over

For their sixth album, garbage-pop veterans AJJ chose to reinforce their strengths and leave any limp frivolities behind. They reconvened with producer John Congleton, who oversaw 2014’s sonically expansive Christmas Island, but recorded and mixed the album in a mere nine days, having arranged most of the songs during tour sound checks and down-time in the van. This made for a confident stride into more elaborate arrangements and wider dynamics while staying just as dour. They also opted, amid some sensation, for the simplified band acronym (previously Andrew Jackson Jihad). Singer Sean Bonnette told The AV Club that, among many reasons, the change cleared a space for new imagery and allowed their music to define them, not their band name.

As a result, their new album, The Bible 2, is their most ambitious and assured collection of scuzzy punk screeds, employing even more production heft while sparing none of the vulnerability. The album’s mantra is placed right at the center: “No More Shame, No More Fear, No More Dread”. The Bible 2 finds the band choosing intimacy over isolation, gravity over the vacuum, the stage instead of the scene. The album is also an examination of boyhood from an adult distance, putting some of its tumult and pain to rest.

It’s also the most impressive work of Bonnette’s, who has honed his confessional lyrical prowess into a punk inflected mire of Trent Reznor’s unrestrained turmoil, Jamie Stewart’s profane gallows humor and a touch of David Berman’s surreal quotidian imagery. Opener “Cody’s Theme” rings like Jay Reatard distorted with Neutral Milk Hotel neuroses (“I set the mommy on fire / I set the baby on fire / not even Jesus could stop me”). The character of Cody, a recurring Bonnette motif, returns as a kool-aid stained kid navigating transience, intrusive thoughts and involuntary delusion, brimming wild with destructive energy and having nowhere to put it. Elsewhere, cross-eyed metaphors float above the shredded acoustic Pixies tension of “Terrifier” (“Some days you’re a member of Queen / other days you’re a Kottonmouth King”), and some of Bonnette’s most intense grotesqueries (“My blood is worse than your blood / this heart pumps baby piss”) get bit-crushed into the lo-fi Guided By Voices pop of “My Brain is a Human Body”.

But Bonnette’s narrative skills, and the band’s growing nuances, have never been more heartbreaking than on “Junkie Church”, a tender acoustic tale about affection and companionship on the lowest rung of society (“I used your ribs as ladders / and I climbed up on your chest / and I jumped up and down just like a trampoline” Bonnette sings). Preston Bryant’s synth, Mark Glick’s cello and Ben Gallaty’s bass are employed to haunting Leonard Cohen-like production ends, staccato plucks and serrated chords hiving like gnats then quickly dissolving into darkness. This cinematic arrangement also bolsters the power-folk epic “Small Red Boy”, organ heaves and cymbal swells coloring Bonnette’s vivid story of rebirth.

Near the album’s midpoint, right after spelling out their thesis, AJJ pounds through the jangly throb of “Goodbye O Goodbye”. The song is a cathartic fever dream, the band walloping furious chords, a kiss-off to so many things worth shedding: the emotional heap of a past life, some long-aching baggage, any and all expectations.
Experimental noise pop group formed in 2002 from San Jose, California. The current lineup is Jamie Stewart (2) (the only constant member), Angela Seo and Shayna Dunkelman.
In collaboration with the Italian group Larsen the project Xiu Xiu Larsen / XXL (4) was established.
Founded somewhere in the 2010s by David Marquez, the Phoenix Afrobeat Orchestra, fronted by Camille Sledge, has grown into a diverse collective of musicians and artists representing over thirty Arizona acts from a variety of styles.

From clubs to concert halls, picnics to premiers, PAO is committed to playing social music, using one of the funkiest art forms on the planet.

Come out and dance with us sometime!
Chris Farren will be the first to tell you he's a "musician's musician" although he's not really sure what that means. Maybe it means that the Florida-based musician has been grinding it out for over a decade, making endless friends along the way. The charismatic frontman of the Naples band Fake Problems has toured with everyone from Against Me! to The Gaslight Anthem to Say Anything.

While not touring and recording with Fake Problems, Farren has been branching out and dipping his toes into other waters. He recently unveiled his two-man project with Bomb the Music Industry!'s Jeff Rosenstock called Antarctigo Vespucci, a refreshingly unpretentious pop machine. He's also been stripping things down and experimenting with solo material. Farren recently released a split EP with Grey Gordon, Ducks Fly Together. Without the comfort of a backing band, the self-made songwriter is seeing how far he can get on his own, with nothing but a ton of inspiration and a good reputation. After all, Chris Farren is a musician's musician. Ask anyone, just not him.
Life is all about transitions, the desire to get from who you are to who you want to be. Just like the people who comprise them, every band is on a journey to find an identity and become comfortable in it’s own skin. For Phoenix, Arizona indie punks, Sundressed, these changes are the foundation of their new EP, The Same Condition.

After a string of releases dabbling in different sounds, Sundressed began to truly find their unique voice on their early 2015 EP, Dig Up A Miracle. Now with the release of The Same Condition, the band continue to deliver on the promise of their earlier work, creating endearingly honest melodic punk mixed with shades of indie rock, and massive hooks to spare.

Sonically, Sundressed excel at writing soaring harmonies and ear warm choruses, but lyrically, The Same Condition touches on darker territory. Heartbreak, depression, and toxic relationships are commonplace in alternative music, but Sundressed singer/guitarist Trevor Hedges takes a unique approach, deftly balancing intensely personal stories with universally relatable truths. Hedges said of the EP, “being in recovery and having struggled with depression in the past always makes things harder, but these songs are my way of letting it out and realizing that you can get through just about anything without going down a dark path.”

Sundressed walk a line between youthful enthusiasm and adult thoughtfulness, energetic punk and quirky indie, harrowing desperation and uplifting hopefulness. On The Same Condition the band have embraced these dynamics, found solace in transition, and are well on their way to becoming who they want to be.

FFO: Modern Baseball, Weezer, The Menzingers
Tyler Broderick
fluid members:
Tristan Jemsek, Jill Frensky, Tony Di Domizio, Aaron Ponzo, Mitchell Keaney, Cesar Ruiz, Trever Ducote, Kyle Daniels, Robert Raya, Nick Shively, Amanda Pitsch, Zach Burba, Bob Vielma, Andrew Kendall, Kyle Burnett, Christian Reeb, jalipaz, Brianna Johnson, Matt Kimball, Kristina Moore, Talisha Royer, Alex Cardwell, Logan Greene, Mari Morton, Erin Caldwell, Mike Sherk, Samuel Regan, Jason Anderson, Stephen Steinbrink, Chaz Tyler, and Patrick Sexton
Venue Information:
The Van Buren
401 W. Van Buren St.
Phoenix, AZ, 85003