By Gannopy Urena
October 21, 2021
I spotted Aznjujube on a poster on the Allston announcement board. It was advertising a concert at Looney Tunes Allston (an amazing record store by the way, a conversation with owner Patt McGrath might change your life). Unfortunately, I couldn’t make the August 29th date because I had to work (darn that annoying requirement to make money to live), but I did hop on my Spotify and listen to the band’s April 5, 2021 release “Quarantine”.
Aznujube has 23 monthly listeners on Spotify.
It’s honestly hard for me to pinpoint the genre of this artist, but in a good way. Their music is a little bit folksy, a little bit pop, a little bit dreamy, a little bit techno, and the Chinese inspiration can definitely be heard. Bedroom pop might be the closest genre I can pinpoint, but the music is still beyond a definition I can think of. This band sounds as if the Front Bottoms decided to switch their genre to pop. This EP has gorgeous melodic guitar and synth that often play off of eachother in a discordant yet pleasant way, religious choir like vocals, and lyrics that create their own rhythm beyond the beat of the music. J.K. Wong, the man behind the band, describes himself as an experimental looper who makes Canto-pop.
This EP does make me recall what it was like to live in Boston during the height of the pandemic. Especially in Allston, which is usually full of students or young people high or drunk, being a little loud, having a good time- having the streets completely silent for months on end was jarring. The tracks “Nobody’s Out” and “Ghost City” were the most literal interpretation of this feeling. I liked how “Nobody’s Out” sounded like it had an 80’s influence that has been creeping into most popular music lately.
The layering of the vocals made me feel the emptiness of the city. Like perhaps the echos are conveying how a singular voice could bounce off the unoccupied city streets.
In “Boulder”, “Nobody’s Out” and “Save Me” there is a synth instrumental and a guitar that are at equal volume, not playing in sync with each other, but not competing at the same time, which creates a discordant but pleasant experience. Personally, I interpret it as the calm experience of getting to walk through empty streets or ride on an empty train, but carrying the troublesome knowledge of why.
My favorite song is “Maze” and I can say that it is purely my biased personal taste. I am a huge Indie music fan and “Maze” has the simplest, strummy guitar song. It’s dreamy, almost ethereal. Objectively though, I think I would give “Nobody’s Out” or “Save Me” the most praise for their originality of layering both vocals and instrumentals in such a harmonious but simultaneously out-of-sync way.
I would like to give a special shout-out to my best friend Theo Vaillancourt for listening to this album with me.
I hope that I’m not working next time Aznjujube has a show. Maybe I’ll call out sick that day- promise not to tell my boss.