Wednesday, January 27, 2010

CD Review: Titus Andronicus - The Monitor

This is a pretty kick ass album from some of New Jersey's newer finest due out on March 9th. You got period references from the album title on down, which is awesome because there's a sense of consequence, of dramatic weight to historical ideas, even if it's just mentioned in passing. Oh and in the epic first track "A More Perfect Union" they mention the Fung Wah Bus, which has taken my ass PLACES.

The songs have such a rugged feel to them, the mid-tempos giving room for the crunchy instrumentation and vocals to affect you and grab your attention without dragging its feet. It's a total rush and you feel invigorated by it, because under all the raucousness there is a sometimes folk-punk feel that keeps everything grounded. Kind of reminds me of the Husker Du song "Folklore", which is one of my favorites by them. The whole album feels at times like a punked up version of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea, which may seem like a big comparison but it rocks that much. They are here to teach you a lesson. A lesson of how to breathe fire and ruin someone else's pristine and proper shit just for the hell of it.

There is some dilly dallying between some of the tracks, sound bytes, I would have probably left it as a separate track like "skits" in rap albums. I understand it helps the overall flow of the album but sometimes the listening experience can't always be so patient. Yet, on the snappy interlude between "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future" and "Richard II" the songs are bridged so wonderfully. In fact, I'm actually really liking the interludes, it is meant to round out the album and it makes it more of a continuous journeys, and I love journeys like I love potato skins, and I am all about the potato skins and run on sentences.

As I stated before there are some tracks that break 8 minutes in length, but for as much as I hate uber-long songs, I love The Monitor's lengthy work because it switches things up within the music, adding melodies along the way and keeping me constantly engaged, like the biggest, leave-everything-on-stage Bruce Springsteen tunes. The intros, the outros, pianos, rumbling toms on something like "A Pot In Which To Piss" is exhilarating.

It just feels like such an American record. Not that I'm a nationalist or anything, but couple this on a road trip with My Morning Jacket and you're pretty set for the east coast. I always have thought that there has been too much posturing in indie music and bad bands that look like they should just stick to being in Paper Magazine. These guys have testicles, a bad ass name, and for as much as people shit on Jersey, they should hold that state in esteem after listening to The Monitor.

For more on them, go to their MySpace (yes, still exists): Titus Andronicus

They will be swinging by Bowery Ballroom for The Monitor record release show with Brooklyn's excellent Parts and Labor. When you say? March 6th. The album is out on March 9th. 6. 9. I'm a pervert.

Titus Andronicus "Four Scores and Seven Years" parts 1 and 2 from Pitchfork

Parts and Labor "The Gold We're Digging"

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