Tj Kong and the Atomic Bomb

The Deli Philly’s November Album of the Month: Manufacturing Joy - TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb

Twas a wise man who said, “Cocaine is a helluva drug.” TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb sound like they can attest to that. Their latest record, Manufacturing Joy, appears heavily influenced by the Philosopher James. It’s a testament to drug-fueled benders, whiskey-fueled bar crawls, and the heavy blues that accompany the mornings after. With the boot-stomping energy of a square dance veering out of control and vocals that recall the cigarette-weary drawl of Swans’ Michael Gira, the group has created a singular sound they’ve come to call “post-apocalypse blues.”
 
A weighty label to wear to be sure, but damn if it isn’t fitting; Kong and the A-Bomb’s brand of the blues isn’t spooky per se, but it carries an unsettlingly sinister undertone. On “10 Minutes,” vocalist Dan Bruskewicz sings, “I got my eyes on your bathroom window… I got just one reason to keep you around” in a devilish minor key while the drums pound just a little too angrily to just keep time. At some point in Manufacturing Joy’s universe, the liars, drunks and road-walkin’ bluesmen took over, and the resulting depravity is too enticing to not indulge.
 
Because at the center of Manufacturing Joy is the wild, reckless spirit of the blues, all the songs run at a tempo too infectious not to bop to, and all are decked with key blues-signifiers: finger-picking wizardry, hot harmonica solos, lyrics about criminals and cheatin’ dames. Manufacturing Joy is a fitting title not only because the record is littered with intoxicants and party drugs, but because the music itself is too peppy to ignore. One can imagine the joy that the band manufactures live simply by bringing the good times to their audiences. Picture them in a bar, energizing a stony crowd into a frenzy with the introduction to “Rock N’ Roll Club Bathroom Cocaine Blues.” Then there’s “Sweet Lorraine” striking a special chord with a guy five beers deep into forgetting his ex for a couple hours. If all bluesmen are storytellers, then Manufacturing Joy is TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb’s story of survival. For in these post-apocalypse blues, there’s a party still a-ragin’. - Adam Downer

   

TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb

CD Name: 
Manufacturing Joy
title_color: 
green
Music Link: 
http://tjkongandtheatomicbomb.bandcamp.com/
Album Cover URL: 
http://f0.bcbits.com/z/21/59/2159819341-1.jpg
body: 
<p>Twas a wise man who said, &ldquo;Cocaine is a helluva drug.&rdquo; <a href="http://tjkongandtheatomicbomb.bandcamp.com/">TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb</a> sound like they can attest to that. Their latest record, <i>Manufacturing Joy</i>, appears heavily influenced by the Philosopher James. It&rsquo;s a testament to drug-fueled benders, whiskey-fueled bar crawls, and the heavy blues that accompany the mornings after. With the boot-stomping energy of a square dance veering out of control and vocals that recall the cigarette-weary drawl of Swans&rsquo; Michael Gira, the group has created a singular sound that they&rsquo;ve come to call &ldquo;post-apocalypse blues.&rdquo;</p> <p>A weighty label to wear to be sure, but damn if it isn&rsquo;t fitting; Kong and the A-Bomb&rsquo;s brand of the blues isn&rsquo;t spooky per se, but it carries an unsettlingly sinister undertone.&nbsp;On &ldquo;10 Minutes,&rdquo; vocalist Dan Bruskewicz sings, &ldquo;I got my eyes on your bathroom window&hellip; I got just one reason to keep you around&rdquo; in a devilish minor key while the drums pound just a little too angrily to just keep time.&nbsp;At some point in <i>Manufacturing Joy</i>&rsquo;s universe, the liars, drunks and road-walkin&rsquo; bluesmen take over, and the resulting depravity is too enticing to not indulge.</p> <p>Because at the center of <i>Manufacturing Joy</i> is the wild, reckless spirit of the blues, all the songs run at a tempo too infectious not to bop to, and all are decked with key blues-signifiers: finger-picking wizardry, hot harmonica solos, lyrics about criminals and cheatin&rsquo; dames. <i>Manufacturing Joy</i> is a fitting title not only because the record is littered with intoxicants and party drugs, but because the music itself is too peppy to ignore. Picture them in a bar, energizing a stony crowd into a frenzy with the introduction to &ldquo;Rock N&rsquo; Roll Club Bathroom Cocaine Blues.&rdquo; Then there&rsquo;s &ldquo;Sweet Lorraine&rdquo; striking a special chord with a guy five beers deep into forgetting his ex for a couple hours. If all bluesmen are storytellers, then <i>Manufacturing Joy </i>is TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb&rsquo;s story of survival. For in these post-apocalypse blues, there&rsquo;s a party still a-ragin&rsquo;. - <i>Adam Downer</i></p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
   

TJ Kong Halloween Costume Ball Rock N Roll Murdershow at Underground Arts Oct. 27

Tonight is the return of the 3rd annual TJ Kong Halloween Costume Ball Rock N Roll Murdershow, which will be taking place at Underground Arts again! The debaucherous evening will include performances by local favorites On the Water, Levee Drivers, Juston Stens & The Get Real Gang, Grubby Little Hands and your larger than life hosts TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb. DJ Breakfast (Jonas Oesterle from Purples) will also be spinning all night. To quote one of my friends about her experience at it last year: “I showed up there late night. It was a cool venue with a lot of REALLY wasted people.” You can check out the promo video that Kong release yesterday below. Underground Arts, 1200 Callowhill St., 8pm, $10, All Ages - H.M. Kauffman

   

TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb Album Release Party at JB’s Sept. 27

The mighty TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb are taking over Johnny Brenda’s tonight to celebrate the release of their long-awaited and most enjoyable sophomore full-length album Manufacturing Joy. The second floor of the much-beloved Fishtown music venue will be filled with the stench of alcohol and sweat seeping from the pores of the crowd there to get down to new and old favorite from the band’s catalogue. (Check out our recent interview with TJ Kong, a.k.a. Dan Bruskewicz, where he talks about the new LP, why you should say “no” to drugs, and much more HERE.) They’ll also have the support of pals Toy Soldiers, Double King, and The Looks Of It this evening to warm things up while the beers and whiskey go down. Cheers fellas! Johnny Brenda’s, 1201 N. Frankford Ave., 9pm, $10, 21+ - H.M. Kauffman

   

Where Is My Mind?: TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb’s Dan Bruskewicz

I’ll always remember the first time that I learned about TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb. I was on a balcony in NYC at my friend’s housewarming party, and was talking to the guitarist (at the time) of the band Xylos. I had just started working with The Deli, and he was asking me about Philly acts that were good and were worth reaching out to for trading shows. Then he inquired if I had ever heard of a “great band” called TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb, which caught me by surprise because I hadn’t. I had also been doing some booking in Philly for the last few years and paying close attention to venue bills, but didn’t remember coming across that name. TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb was the first band that was suggested to me since beginning to write for The Deli. I came home after a fun, drunken night, and was surprised that I was able to remember their name. I checked out their MySpace, and he was right. They were great, and I eventually wrote my first of many pieces about TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb. Well, today is the release date for their long-awaited follow-up to Idiots entitled Manufacturing Joy. It’s another fantastic LP from Kong and his crew that you should definitely take a listen to and purchase. They’ll also be celebrating its release this Thursday at Johnny Brenda’s. First, check out our interview with TJ Kong and the Atomic Bomb’s talented, hard-livin’ frontman Dan Bruskewicz HERE.