AJJ - a.k.a. folk-punk legends Sean Bonnette (guitar/vox), Ben Gallaty (bass), Preston Bryant (guitar/keys), Mark Glick (cello) and Kevin Higuchi (drums) - announce their eighth studio album, and debut for Hopeless Records. Recorded in 2022 in various studios across the Southwest with the band recording as a five-piece for the first time, "Disposable Everything" boasts apocalyptic themes and imagery like all the best AJJ records. But while it follows the outbreak of a pandemic and AJJ’s eerily prescient January 2020 album "Good Luck Everybody", the new LP is less a prophesying mirror held to a burning world than one inspired by personal grief and about what happens when you reach the other side. In fact, it’s a vital, important and beautiful album that’ll make you feel better about everything while telling you just how terrible everything is at the same time.
To celebrate the album announcement, AJJ share two new singles - the album’s title track "Disposable Everything" and “Dissonance”. These two songs follow the recently released “The Baby Panda”, with “Disposable Everything” spelling out the damaging impact of late capitalism while still shimmering with hope. Sean Bonnette says: "This video came together really naturally. My oldest friend is a master puppeteer by the name of Gwendolyn Bonar. We went to kindergarten together. I reached out to her at the beginning of December to gauge her interest in working with us on a video, to which she replied "Yeah, let's get weird." So I called Joe Stakun, director of AJJ's classic video Goodbye Oh Goodbye and in less than a month we were shooting the video at the Great Arizona Puppet Theater".
“The puppets used in the film are all made of trash and found materials, and coincidentally, so were the lenses that (director of photography) Eric Bader used in the shoot. Turns out his pandemic project was making camera lenses from broken camera equipment, found glass, and pipe fittings. As soon as he heard the song he knew what he had been building them for".
For AJJ, "Disposable Everything" is about what happens after the collapse - on both an intimately personal level and a much broader scale. “A large part of this album is the terrible thing I’ve been imagining finally happened” singer Sean Bonnette 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".
Ever since AJJ formed back in 2004, it’s felt like the world has been playing catch-up with AJJ’s cheery take on a collapsing society. Now, with their forthcoming new album, "Disposable Everything", it feels like the world is finally aligned with AJJ’s doom-laden prophecies - albeit one that still shimmers with hope. 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. "Disposable Everything" truly captures the simultaneous terror and wonder of being alive. Throughout the nearly 20 years since the band’s inception, AJJ’s music has always found its way to the irreverent, optimistic pessimists of the world. For example, 2020’s “Body Terror Song” which became a viral hit on TikTok.
Their unparalleled live show has always been a bedrock of AJJ, with memorable tours with Joyce Manor, Against Me!, ROAR, Jeff Rosenstock, Kimya Dawson, and huge indie punk festivals, like The Fest. And it’s that live energy and sense of community and collaboration that made its mark on the recording of Disposable Everything. For the first time recording as a full five-piece, the goal was to have fun, open up a free exchange of ideas, and just be together. That overriding sense of 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. Indeed, this feels more like a band record than AJJ have ever made before. Probably because it is.
That AJJ are still able to offer up their unique brand of humor and irreverence as a solution to the world’s ills almost two decades into their career isn’t lost on them. “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".
Disposable Everything track list:
- Strawberry (Probably)
- Moon Valley High
- Death Machine
- White Ghosts
- Disposable Everything
- The Baby Panda
- A Thought of You
- Candles of Love
- I Hate Rock and Roll Again
- I Wanna Be Your Dog 2
- All of My Woulds
- In the Valley