Album Review: A.J. and the Jiggawatts’ The Drop EP

A.J. and the Jiggawatts

The Drop EP

G.E.D. Soul Records

Track Listing

  1. The Drop
  2. Don’t Mess With Me
  3. Throw a Fit
  4. Brown Bottle Fever
  5. Pimp Decisions


A.J. Eason – vocals

Tim Hawkins – bass

Andrew Muller – guitar

Nick DeVan – drums

Austin Little – trombone

Andrew Hagen – saxophone

The 2010 release of DeRobert and the Half-TruthsSoul in a Digital World not only put vocalist DeRobert Adams and his incredibly talented backing band out into the national scene, the album put Nashville, TN on the map as the home of a burgeoning soul revivalist movement, while giving G.E.D Soul Records an increasingly national presence as well. Following in the footsteps of Motown Records, Muscle Shoals and others, the Nashville-based purveyors of all things soul have an eclectic roster of soul artists frequently backed by an informal group of locally-based talented house musicians which include the Grips, A.J. and the Jiggawatts, and several others.

   Now, if you’re a child of the 80s and you fondly remember the Back to the Future series, the term “jiggawatts” may be familiar – as in the 1.21 jiggwatts of energy Doc Emmett Brown’s DeLorean needed to take Marty McFly from the past to the future and even deeper into the future by the third movie. (Yes, the band’s name is a loving take on from the beloved movie series.) And although to a larger, national album A.J. and the Jiggawatts may seem like a new act, they bear some obvious similarities to their labelmates, the Sky Hi Funk Band – both have had members who have quietly developed reputations across the Southeast for the better part of a decade. In particular, the Jiggawatts consist of members of the Sky Hi Funk Band, Deep Fried Five, the Coolin’ System and DeRobert’s Half-Truths. So in some way, the Jiggawatts are essentially the G.E.D. Soul All-Stars …

  Sonically, the material on The Drop owes a great debt to the righteous, swaggering “pro-go out there and do big things, son”/’y’all motherfuckers better not fuck with me” feel of 70s-era James Brown with elements of funk, disco, rock and the blues. The first time I heard the album’s opening track “The Drop,” my immediate thought was “whoa, these guys can fucking play” We’re talking about an explosive, funky attention getting opening that says, “we’re kicking ass and taking names – now.” (Interestingly, I somehow wound up being the informal DJ at a friend’s party and I played this album, and the response was practically the same – who are these guys, playing that?) But what the album should hopefully reveal to the rest of the country is this: that Austin Little, Andrew Hagen, and Andrew Muller are among this country’s most unheralded musicians.  Lyrically, the EP leans more towards the blues, expressing the thoughts, observations and feelings of the downtrodden and fucked over who work hard to scrape by or do whatever they have to do to survive, and yet still barely make it. “Throw a Fit,” and “Don’t Mess With Me’ have extremely basic premises: they’re about men who have had enough – and are about to lose it. Although delivered in a half-joking fashion like George Thorogood’s “I Drink Alone” it describes a seedy, dark underside to drunkenness that sounds familiar. “Pimp Decisions” redefines what a pimp is and does – in fact, the song says it’s not about “slapping hoes and slamming Cadillac doors” but it’s about doing what you need to survive in a Darwinist universe. But seriously, The Drop EP is actually a lot of fun and will have you dancing like an idiot while actually saying something that manages to be both funny and profoundly true – and it’s the funkiest album I’ve heard all year, to boot.