No. 1, the Spooneristically titled “There Are No Foxholes in an Atheist.” After guitarist Timothy George’s brittle chordfest launches the track, singer Michael Medlock sings a love-as-war anthem over whiplash rhythm changes: “God bless the United goddamn States of amorous America…Hail to the wars of yesterday/You gotta fight for your freedom, and that’s OK.” The band’s funky emo may remind the wider world of At the Drive-In, but D.C. listeners may shed a tear for Frodus and the Impossible Five.
The band members handle lyrics as a group, but they’re reluctant to explain any impressionistic imagery. “I saw an interview Eddie Vedder did,” Medlock says. “Once you explain the meaning of your lyrics, you take something away from the listener.” Still, Medlock admits that “Atheist” asks its audience to “recognize the struggles you have had in your life in the past because you are fighting on for whatever you believe.” Alternately, he deems his poesy “verbal diarrhea.”
The Mount Pleasant band takes its moniker from Cormac McCarthy’s novel Blood Meridian. “There’s two characters in the book, both named Jackson,” says George, a graduate student in AU’s experimental psychology department. “One is black, and one is white.” Of course, a few listeners figure the quartet is referencing the famous Jackson who sang “Black or White.” But no name change is in the works. “I know a kid from college named Mike Haack, but he doesn’t change his name,” George says.
Black & White Jacksons play the Black Cat Tuesday, Feb. 19.