Titus Andronicus' The Monitor: Patrick Stickles' Civil War Album
Titus Andronicus are a punk-y, shoegaze-y, 5-piece from Glen Rock, New Jersey. Their first album, The Airing of Grievances, released on Troubleman Unlimited, was well received by critics and fans alike.
Pitchfork even named it the 25th best album of 2008 and the album was re-released on XL Recordings in January, 2009. The band gained instant notoriety because of vocalist/guitarist, Patrick Stickles’ irreverent and clever lyrical content and the bands lo-fi guitar hooks. To see for yourself, check out these sites:
Titus Andronicus' The Monitor
On March 9th, TA will release their much anticipated sophomore LP, The Monitor, also on XL Recordings. First impressions are that many followers of the band, and fans of their first album, will find the album different due in part to a line-up change (there is less screaming).
The album kicks off with the seven-minute epic, “A More Perfect Union.” The “Union” may reference the link the album has to the American Civil War. The title, The Monitor, is a takeoff on the USS Monitor, the first ironclad warship commissioned by the United States Navy.
Stickles’ anthem- like lyric, “You’ll always be a loser” is chanted continuously to close out the album's third track, “No Future Part Three: Escape from No Future” and is not only humourous, but catchy.
The Monitor's Influences & Guest Appearances
The album dabbles in a slew of influences, ranging from California, second-wave punk, on “Titus Andronicus Forever” to a bluesy-folk angle on “Four Score and Seven.” The album’s best track is the 14 minute, “The Battle of Hampton Roads,” which takes its title from the battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia, which took place on March 8–9, 1862. The album embraces 5-minute-plus tracks, clocking in at 10 songs spanning 65 minutes.
The album also features guest appearances by members of Ponytail, Wye Oak, Hallelujah the Hills, Spider Bags, Vivian Girls, and The Hold Steady.
Patrick Stickles may have put it best, “Through and through, it is a whole-hearted and potentially ill-advised grab for some sort of imaginary brass ring, the sound of a band desperate for success and defiantly unafraid of failure. That was the idea, at least.”
Titus Andronicus at SXSW 2010
The album is a definite must for any fan of Titus Andronicus and if you’re a newcomer, it is worth a listen. Whether you’re into lo-fi, Modest Mouse-esque indie rock or something a little more up tempo, the album is sure to strike a chord with a wide array of music fans.
Titus Andronicus will be on tour in support of the record, dubbed the "Monitour," including stops at SXSW in March.