Glen Rock, NJ
The Clash, The Replacements, Neutral Milk Hotel, Bruce Springsteen
Titus Andronicus is a band that comes fully prepared. Armed with a raucous collection of sprawling barroom brawling punk rock and the shout-out-loud mentality to go with it, these New Jersey boys are the hardest working band this side of Ashbury park.
Formed in 2005, the assembly of guitarist Amy Klein, drummer Eric Harm, keyboardist David Robbins, and vocalist/guitarist Patrick Stickles took their moniker from Shakespeare’s most brutal tragedy, Titus Andronicus. Their heavy distortions and loud presence caught the attention of XL Recordings, who picked up their debut LP, The Airing of Grievances, in 2009. The record displayed a ferocious raw energy and quizzical pop culture references (from Batman to Seinfeld), adding another dimension to the group’s prowess, a metaphoric and lyrical maze accompanying the fiery rhythms.
Titus Andronicus then set about an ambitious sophomore effort, upping the productions and enlisting the help of a small army of collaborators, including members of Vivian Girls and The Hold Steady. The result is the universally acclaimed The Monitor. With many of the lo-fi constraints of their previous efforts abandoned, the group delved into deeper musical waters, simultaneously reviving the bar band ethos of the likes of The Pogues, and encompassing the hard working pathos of the Boss himself, Springsteen. Already hailed as one of this year’s standout records, The Monitor is a uniquely skewed work that encompasses a recurring theme of the Civil War, eschews pretension, and resonates in its honesty long after it’s heard.