What a Waste of a Great Band Name

Post Urban Culture

Andrew Jackson JihadCan’t Maintain – Asian Man Records.

When a friend asked if I’d like to go back to my music critic roots, my writing career started out at SPIN back in 1990, I jumped at the chance. Little did I know how hard it would be to find “hot new bands” in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. For the 5th largest city in the United States, the Valley of the Sun has a severe lack of culture and a propensity to keep it’s trailer trash/redneck/shit kicker past in the foreground.

Frustrated by the lack of any obvious worthwhile acts, I decided to ask TJ Jordan of Revolver Records to recommend something worth listening to. He immediately handed me Can’t Maintain, the latest release by the Andrew Jackson Jihad.

“It’s quirky and cool. Not the music I’d usually listen to. I like it,” he told me.

According to their Wikipedia page Andrew Jackson Jihad has obtained much coverage for their songs about “serial killers, cigarettes, child abuse, and a vengeful Jesus” [3]. They were also the subject of controversy in HeartattaCk issue #49 regarding their “Love Song,” which is narrated by a character who “smoke(s) crystal meth” and “laugh(s) at retards,”

I was intrigued. After all what could be cooler than driving down a busy thoroughfare blaring tunes destined to upset the Soccer Moms driving past in their Mercedes and SUV’s.

Alas, my moment of teenage regress was not to be. Can’t Maintain is a piece of unadulterated shit. Lead singer Sean Bonnette’s vocals, an awful cross between Nick Drake’s odd warble and Paleface, are rarely in tune. You can get away with it if you are the Meat Puppets because the material is there and the musicianship strong. AJJ songs all run into one another, the same sonic groove, same key, the same everything, all over simple acoustic guitar figures.

However, I wanted to like this album, I really did. Maybe it was the band name or the Indie cred they were trying so hard earn. I tried to listen to the album again but found myself falling asleep at the wheel and the computer. One would think a song with the title of “Love Will Fuck Us Apart” would have a certain Butthole Surfer charm. In the hands of these anti-folkniks a great title and chance for some sorely needed sonic destruction is wasted.

The anti-folk movement was DOA at the Chameleon Club on 6th Street and Ave. B in 1985-9. Either the members of the Andrew Jackson Jihad didn’t get the memo or they don’t’ care and thus, we must endure this piece of desert detritus. Avoid Can’t Maintain like someone with H1N1 and save your hard earned duckets. These times are too tough for music this bad.

What a waste of a great band name.

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