Titus Andronicus, punk rocker

I’m having an absolute blast listening to The Airing of Grievances, the debut album from New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus—who were recently recently anointed by Pitchfork with an 8.5 and a booking at this year’s festival. I’d say Pitchfork hit the nail on the head this time—this record is an energetic, rough-edged, punk rock joy, and one of the best indie rock debuts I’ve heard in recent memory.

The Airing of Grievances definitely doesn’t carve out any new musical territory; nor does it rely on exceptional chops or especially strong songwriting. Instead it’s one of those records that remind you why punk rock will always sound great—that there’s always room for another sloppy, noisy, hard-rocking record that careens along largely on the tremendous force of its own energy and excitement. The recording is appropriately lo-fi—everything’s turned up to the point of distortion, and it sounds perfect. The drums pound, the guitars crunch, and the singer screams, yelps, and bleats, and all of it sounds fantastic.

The lyrics are often depressive, and contain an element of self-aware scenesterism—not particularly likely to be a turn-on for me ordinarily, but the music is so genuinely joyful that it hasn’t become a problem for me so far (during the half-dozen or so times I’ve played the record in the last 24 hours). But the humor in the lyrics goes a long way—for example, here’s the first verse of “My Time Outside the Womb”: “The first thing you see is the light / And then you focus on a man with a mask and a knife / And then he cuts you away from everything you thought you knew about life.” And then there’s the record’s true highlight, the eponymous “Titus Andronicus,” an infectious, hilarious punk stomper anchored by a memorable (end very often repeated) chorus of “Your life is over / Your life is over.” The singer also details exactly what the end of your life will mean: “No more cigarettes/ No more having sex / No more getting drunk till you fall on the floor….”

I’m not sure if this is a record for the ages, but it sure is a whole lot of fun.

Advertisements

1 Response to “Titus Andronicus, punk rocker”



  1. 1 Best new music 2008 « Good Readings Trackback on December 16, 2008 at 2:18 PM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s




Recent Publications

Review of J.M. Coetzee and Ethics: Philosophical Perspectives on Literature, edited by Anton Leist and Peter Singer. The Quarterly Conversation, September 2010.

Review of Union Atlantic by Adam Haslett. The Region, June 2010.

Review of The Man in the Wooden Hat and Old Filth by Jane Gardam. The Quarterly Conversation, Issue 19, Spring 2010.

Review of 1989: Bob Dylan Didn't Have This to Sing About by Joshua Clover. ForeWord, November/December 2009.

Review of The Humbling by Philip Roth. Identity Theory, November 25, 2009.

Review of Imperial by William T. Vollmann. PopMatters, September 18, 2009.

Review of Wonderful World by Javier Calvo. The Quarterly Conversation, Issue 17, September 7, 2009.

Review of Of Song and Water by Joseph Coulson. Identity Theory, August 3, 2009.

Review of Digging: The Afro-American Soul of American Classical Music by Amiri Baraka. ForeWord, July/August 2009.

Review of Death in Spring by Mercè Rodoreda. Rain Taxi, Summer 2009 (#54). Viewable online via Powell's Books

April 2008
M T W T F S S
    May »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
282930  

%d bloggers like this: