Tuesday 22 August 2017

Post Apocalyptic Americana - TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb to Release Dancing out the Door - Friday The 13th of Oct.

Photo credit: Neil Santos

"Post Apocalypse Blues – that’s what people began calling our music," explains Dan Bruskewicz, frontman of four-piece garage/blues/punk act TJ KONG & THE ATOMIC BOMB. "This record is an exploration of that idea. Apocalyptic Americana. But besides all that, these songs are a celebration. A celebration of giving up control. A celebration of living in the eternal now. Of this very moment. The only moment."

This October, on the decidedly appropriate Friday the 13th, TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb will be releasing their third full length record, Dancing out the Door, via Good Behavior Records. The band sees this upcoming release as the third installment in a trilogy that began with their debut record, Idiots. According to Bruskewicz, "Idiots explores folk music, Manufacturing Joy explores garage, delta blues and country, and Dancing out the Door adds horns as well as organ and keys to explore our strange version of New Orleans, the holiest of the holies."

The album begins with the intimate and cinematic intro of “Black Bats” which pushes through into the lunatic party of its chorus. They display a laid-back twang on “Mulholland Drive” before an out-of-this-world quote from Muhammed Ali leads into the animated “California Basement Blues”. “Dancing out the Door” displays its strength as the album’s namesake through its powerful drunken sing-along sensation. The tracks “Heat Heat Heat” and “Long Black Dress” show off TJ Kong’s jazz and garage chops respectively, gearing the album up for it’s Herculean New Orleans finish on “Soul Asylum”.

The band's notoriety in the much-buzzed-about Philly music scene comes on two strengths: Bruskewicz's darkly poetic, catchy narratives and a raucous, high energy live show – the likes of which the band was determined to capture in the studio for their third record. Dancing out the Door was recorded to tape over two days at Kawari Sound Studios, enlisting the talents of producer Bill Moriarty (Dr. Dog, Man Man, Ron Gallo) and mastering engineer Joe Lambert. "We recorded the majority of everything you hear live, including vocals," says Bruskewicz. "It’s a very freeing way to work, knowing that perfection is out of the question. 'Perfect is dead.' James Taylor told me that once on a very strange evening in Philadelphia."

TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb was born when Drummer Dan Cask and Bruskewicz met while working at a bar in Philadelphia. Cask had grown up playing drums in the Philly punk scene, and ran a DIY music venue out of his home in South Philly. The pair bonded over music and film, finding common ground in Iggy and the Stooges, Tom Waits, Jim Jarmusch, Johnny Cash, Stanley Kubrick, David Lynch, punk music of all kinds and 90's grunge. On one fateful Easter Sunday the two decided to combine their talents on a few original songs, and the synergy left an impression that cemented their status as a band. They took their name from the infamous moment in Stanley Kubrick’s Dr. Strangelove, "The pawn of fate, Lt. TJ Kong rides the atomic bomb to humanity’s ultimate demise, waving his cowboy hat and laughing uncontrollably. That, in a nutshell, is what we’re going for here. Waving our cowboy hats at fate."

From there, the band took off - making a name for themselves with a storied live show that sends people into a dancing delirium. The band's infectious excitement led USA Today to describe them as "One of the most sought after bands in Philly." Soon they were invited to perform at the POP Montreal festival supporting well-known Canadian two piece, Japandroids. The festival extolled the band's performance saying, "Playing Americana 'slash blues', they sing, wail, lament, and brood over being drunk, hungover, alone, depressed, sweaty, and lost. A simple recount of a whiskey-inspired tradition on guitar and harmonica."

In an effort to capture the explosion of angels and demons that Dancing out the Door cultivates, Bruskewicz offers this: "We’re excited about what we found. A joyful madness. These songs all have a different story to tell, not the lame story of the band or our records, but real stories of strange humans doing beautiful things and being imperfect. Kaboom"

TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb is Dan Bruskewicz (Vocals, Guitar, Harmonica), Dan Cask (Drums), Joshua "J.A.M" Machiz (Upright Bass), and Josh Olmstead (Guitar). Dancing out the Door will be released Friday the 13th of October, 2017 via Good Behavior Records.

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