As the title suggests, TJ Kong & The Atomic Bomb’s latest full-length, Dancing out the Door, is a raucous romper-stomper from start to finish. Blending old-timey rhythm and blues, ‘50s rockabilly, a dash of big band swing, and a heaping helping of swampy folk, TJ Kong crafts arguably the ultimate amalgamation of rump-shaking Americana.
As PopMatters stated about the band’s 2008 The Hinterlands EP, “[TJ Kong features] a ragged, lo-fi aesthetic and lyrics drenched in heartbreak and whiskey.” The Difference now being, nearly a decade later, much of the heartbreak and whiskey has given way to joyful cynicism, a devil-may-care attitude grooving not softly into the night.
is helped in part by an enlargement of the band’s sound. Unlike early releases, which had something of a thin and tinny audio presence, Dancing out the Door takes advantage of the full nuances of each instrument present. Though the recording is still scratchy and lo-fi, the grit only enhances the record’s quality–drawing our attention to small details like light tarnish on a silver antique.
It’s difficult to name standout tracks. Each song plays well with the rest of the album. There is no padding, no fluff around particular “hit single” material. Yet if I were to name a personal favorite, it would be the final song, Soul Asylum. It’s a nostalgic trip through the narrator’s youth, rife with accents of disenchantment, surrounding a refrain of “They were all listenin’ to Soul Asylum / And I hated them.”
Though many songs start slow and rambling, they quickly bursts into an assault of strings and drums and horns, leading us slowly at first toward the doors of a backwoods party before pushing us head first into the hoedown. And once we get sucked in, we don’t want it to stop.
Dancing out the Door drops good ol’ lucky Friday the 13th, October. Request your copy at your local record store or download the album through iTunes.
Check out their single “Mulholland Drive” free via Baeble Music.
Like the band on Facebook.
Watch the official video for “Blood in the Bathtub” off their prior release, KONG: