HOL! Babyshambles Banners Space Laces Ekali Natalie Red Jack Harlow Daniel Merriweather



Booking Request

Ever since Sean Bonnette and Ben Gallaty formed AJJ back in 2004, it’s felt like the world has been playing catch-up. That’s because the band—completed these days by guitarist/keyboard player Preston Bryant, cellist Mark Glick and (relatively) new drummer Kevin Higuchi—has always woven apocalyptic themes and imagery into many of its songs and lyrics. They even self-released a record called Good Luck Everybody in January 2020, as if they knew what was coming. Now though, in 2023, it feels like the world is finally aligned with AJJ’s doom-laden prophecies. Take “Death Machine”, for instance. The fourth track on this eighth full-length—and the band’s first for Hopeless Records—it distills the current environmental and political crises propelled by a capitalist society into one minute 53 seconds of jittery, feel-good, punk rock urgency, in only the way that AJJ can do. “Sean’s been on that apocalyptic trip for a while,” chuckles Gallaty, AJJ’s biggest bassist. “I was anxious about getting Good Luck Everybody released before the world improved. It clearly hasn’t, but maybe songs that address dark subjects are especially helpful in the worst of times." Bonnette says this record is less a prophesizing mirror held to a burning world than one inspired by personal grief. In fact, for him, this record is about what happens after the collapse—on both an intimately personal level and a much broader scale. “A large part of Disposable Everything is the terrible thing I’ve been imagining finally happened,” he explains. “A big theme is my mom’s death, which is something I think everyone lives in terror of. But once it happens and you’re still alive, you figure out how to move on. It is, in some weird way, our happiest record.”

Anybody familiar with the band knows that juxtaposition—between apocalyptic despair and the warm comfort of an electric blanket—is nothing new for AJJ, but these 14 tracks are the most firm example of that to date. Recorded with David Jerkovich over the first half of 2022 in various studios across the Southwest, Disposable Everything truly captures the simultaneous terror and wonder of being alive. It kicks off with “Strawberry (Probably)”, an uproarious blast of fast, glorious, carefree quasi-punk that descends into a warped blur of dissonance. That that leads into a song called “Dissonance” was, Bonnette says, unintentional, but nevertheless highlights the synergy that flows through these songs. Indeed, this feels more like a band record than AJJ have ever made before. Probably because it is. “I came into the recording session really wanting to have fun,” says Bonnette, “and to be in a room with my bandmates again. I love making decisions with people. Opening up a free exchange of ideas is just the best. The first couple of records, I couldn’t really wrap my head around it, but it’s something I’ve grown to love about being in the studio. This time, our goal was to just have fun and do that.”

That overriding sense of fun and solidarity pervades this album, exaggerated by the way the band look at it more like a mixtape than a record in the traditional sense--fully indulging AJJ’s wide musical range and their tendency to play with genre, while also defying expectations as to what songs about certain subjects should sound like. “That mixtape-ness factors into the life after trauma/everything is free now narrative,” explains Bonnette. “Old reality is shattered into 14 broken pieces that all reflect a little differently. How else would you get an album that has both “Death Machine” and “Candles of Love”?" “I feel like this record really represents the journey of everything that they can do,” says Jerkovich. “It doesn't feel like a band, it feels more like a collective of musicians, you know? It reminds me of the Elephant 6 stuff, where it can be whatever the fuck it wants at any moment. They can go anywhere with it.”

That’s why the afore-mentioned “Death Machine” and “The Baby Panda”, despite spitting horrific truths about what humankind has done to the planet, are both enjoyable, singalong anthems, and why the title track—which spells out the damaging impact of late capitalism—still shimmers with hope. There are moments of pure levity, too—in the humor of “White Ghosts”, the self-aware wordplay of “Schadenfreude” and the offbeat romanticism of “Candles of Love”. Combined, it all offers a quintessentially AJJ-esque vision of the world, which Bonnette, both jokingly and seriously, refers to as like “The Beatles on bath salts.” Much of that was down to their collaborative writing and recording process, as well as Jerkovich’s role as producer and engineer. “Making this record thoroughly felt like a group effort,” says Glick, whose writing contributions have increased with each album since joining the band over a decade ago. “It felt more like a six-piece band than a five-piece with a producer.” “It’s a more fully-realized sound too,” says Gallaty. “We’ve spent all these years experimenting, better understanding songcraft and studio craft and it feels like it all came into focus for this one.” “They were open to true collaboration,” Jerkovich says. “It was incredibly rewarding to work with a band that's not protective, that just wants the best for what they do. I got to see how their brain works as a band. It was some Quantum Leap shit—all of a sudden I got transported and was one of them, and it was a wonderful place to be.”

As the lilting “In The Valley” brings the record to an end, it defies—save for one ominous moment—the reality of the present moment, transforming its chasm of nothingness into something resplendent. It’s a powerful final statement that renders Disposable Everything anything but. Rather, it’s a vital, important and beautiful album that’ll make you feel better about everything while telling you just how terrible everything is. Bonnette has a simple explanation for that paradox. “A lot of the songs are just love songs and horny songs,” he quips. “And maybe where some sort of hope can be is within love, because no matter how fucked the world can get, people can love each other still.” That AJJ are still able to offer up irreverent horniness as a solution to the world’s ills almost two decades into their career isn’t lost on them, either. “I didn’t ever expect AJJ to be what it’s become,” says Gallaty, “but I’m really happy with it. Some of my favorite people play in the band, and the whole larger community we get to be part of just blows my mind. It’s honestly hard to imagine a life without it.”

2022 2023 2024
Jan Feb Mar Apr
May Jun Jul Aug
Sep Oct Nov Dec