Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Titus Andronicus
Local Business
XL Recordings

This is another concept album from the band from Glen Rock, NJ, that musically stretches garage/punk and Springstein in all directions adds their own off-the-cuff, full bodied roar, with a sound that energizes and invigorates everything around it.   Lyrically the question, at least outwardly, is how to be an individual in a society where everything stands for mass consumption, including their music, and how does one be part of a community while still being an individual. The answer is first is fight like hell for your ideals, yourself, and your art, and  second realize that being accountable, not just to oneself, but to all the people we hold dear, the community, is also how you fight conformity and mass consumption.

On a more nuanced level, this is also a huge dig at hipsters, some of the most conspicuous consumers of all. Indie rock once stood for more than being a lifestyle accessory, another way to have a career.  It was a way to stand outside of the establishment, to fight the establishment, and hopefully win the battle. The key to this is on “Still Life with Hot Deuce and Silver Platter,” where context and content do battle, and content wins.  Content is meaningful, without any postmodern context so beloved by hipsters.

Marry these two subjects to music that wants to tear your head off, even while at times turning down the volume, like on “(I am the) Electric Man” and you get the best concept album of the year.  It’s a sound that while retro, is also not heard often enough in a musical world where acting cool is all the meaning that one needs.  And too often that’s not enough. True alternative music demands more meaning than that, and this band means it when they say they want to be an alternative. A very cool album, musically and lyrically, too. http://www.titusandronicus.net/
Andrea Weiss

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