If you’ve followed Glide Magazine in recent years you might know that one of our absolute favorite bands is a South Philly outfit by the name of Low Cut Connie. The group are passionate purveyors of piano rock, which is not nearly as common as it once way in the golden days when acts like Elton John and Billy Joel ruled the airwaves. Well, recently we got enlightened to the fact that there is in fact another awesome piano rock outfit in Philly by the name of TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb who are doing things on their own terms and already kicking serious ass.
To be fair, TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb aren’t entirely piano rock. The group has been classified as “Post Apocalypse Blues” by their fans, which may just be because of their name or it may be because their music sounds like a unhinged rock and roll celebration that is filled with so much carefree energy and freedom that it would serve as a fitting soundtrack for a time when people have nothing left to lose. Either way, the group’s heady, joyous concoction of garage, blues, punk and piano rock is a welcome force in today’s daily turmoil.
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.”
Today Glide is excited to premiere the new song “John Wilkes Booth”. The tune opens with a quick tap of the cymbal and an onslaught of piano boogie before spiraling into a brassy rabble rouser of craziness. While who knows if there is actually a lyrical connection to the man who shot Lincoln, it hardly matters as the smooth vocals complement a down and dirty harmonica. “John Wilkes Booth” is a true party song with all of the attributes that make for great rock and roll. In other words, it solidifies TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb are one of Philly’s finest rock and roll attractions.
Interestingly enough, the band also found inspiration in the legendary wild man David Johansen. Front man Dan Bruskewicz has this to say about the song:
“I wrote this song on the back of a coaster at one of my favorite bars in Philadelphia. I was there to see the bartender and I was doodling with words and feeling sort of inspired and I drunkenly texted a good friend very late that night, the entire lyrics in one long screed. And I woke up and there were a couple replies from him basically asking if I was okay! Like, ‘This is kinda good, are you… okay?’ I knew then that I had something! At the time I was listening to David Johansen a bunch and really interested in his moves between punk and folk and just his voice in general. I was inspired by his really simple tune ‘Old Dog Blue’ to write music to ‘John Wilkes Booth’ that was super stripped down and simplified but with frayed edges and constantly moving forward. To do something raw with the raw unedited words.”
TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb release Dancing out the Door on October 13th. For more music and info visit tjkongandtheatomicbomb.com.