I enjoy finding music that complements my current mood, it helps serve as a catalyst to create a much deeper emotional response than say, staring at the wall. At times I want to smash the world to pieces and at others I just want flop back and accept things the way they are, drowning myself in melancholy. TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb help with the latter.
This Philadelphia based garage blues quartet released their first full length, “Idiots” in May of 2010. Somewhat similar to the Dead Guys I mentioned here, TJ Kong play a much more folkabilly style of blues. Highlighted by a minimalistic, uptempo pace and song structure, they use this playful musical background to sing songs about hard times and broken bottles.
Usually this style of music doesn’t resonate very well with me, as I’ll just get disinterested halfway through. What’s caught and held my attention for the duration of this 10 track album is the dark charm of the whole affair. You can tap your foot throughout pretty much the entire release, one of the main reasons I like it so much. This charming simplicity is also what makes the songs so smooth and comfortable, easily worming their way into your brain, just like they were meant to be.
I don’t have enough experience in this genre to draw comparisons to other bands before them or comment on what specifically makes them sound so enticing. However I can tell you about how casually the mellow guitar and drum works meshes with the gruff vocals, or how the production is that perfect blend of ragged and smooth. Or how friggin’ amazing the tones from the upright bass slip their way into your ears.
If I was going to use one word to describe their sound it would have to be sublime. On the surface the music is charmingly basic, but it’s this charm that hides the beautifully layered melodies and vocal scores. The inclusion of a banjo, harmonica and a couple clever samples don’t hurt either. It really is a great listen, there’s no two ways about it.
“Idiots” is up for $8 on Bandcamp, your links await.