Release Date: Oct 22, 2012
Record label: XL
Glen Rock, New Jersey's Titus Andronicus may be the most ambitious punk band in America. On 2010's The Monitor, they wrapped an epic breakup record around a Civil War conceit. Their third disc is a hilarious gut-wrenching mess that relocates the Replacements and Thin Lizzy at their most bracing and bighearted to the suburban skate-park diaspora – all centered around Patrick Stickles' glass-half-smashed existentialism.
For most, being a lively twenty-something year-old is merely a continuation of one’s teenage years, but with much more alcohol. However, for me, it’s a twilight period where the sun sets on my youth slowly enough that I can both bitterly scowl at my ignorant, “YOLO” chanting peers and reflect on my own mortality and the overall non-direction of my stagnant life. For anyone else going through this same predicament, I can only suggest that you listen to Local Business.
“I know the world’s a scary place/that’s why I hid behind a hairy face,” sings now beardless Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles in “My Eating Disorder. ” The eight-minute song is the centerpiece to the Jersey five-piece’s third LP, Local Business, which trades in the eccentricity of 2010’s Civil War battle cry The Monitor for more unfiltered personal tales set to stein-swaying pub punk. “My Eating Disorder” follows the 69-second “Food Fight!,” whose titular refrain is shouted over a glam-basted riff reminiscent of the New York Dolls’ “Personality Crisis.
Titus Andronicus used to make you work to come to a conclusion like this one: “Everything is inherently worthless / And there’s nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose.” Here, it’s the opening lyric of the opening track “Ecce Homo.” Few unpack their pain with as much charm as Patrick Stickles does on eight-minute centerpiece “My Eating Disorder,” and the group raging behind him on Local Business are minimalist punchers, cruiserweights mixing a little Thin Lizzy and Big Star pop-ulism in with the basement bile. .
Titus Andronicus started recording their third LP on April 1st, 2012, a date their liner notes call the “rare confluence” of Palm Sunday and April Fool’s Day. The epic entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, and the day when people think it’s a good idea to cover toilet seats with plastic wrap: could the band have picked a better duo of dates to commence the recording of Local Business? Titus Andronicus’ first album, The Airing of Grievances, was punk for punk’s sake. They got a little more purposeful with 2010’s The Monitor, which placed them on the sidelines of a Civil War battlefield, playing garage rock accompaniments to Gettysburg and Antietam, subbing in for the usual drummer boy and bugler.
After the rousing triumph of their 2010 album The Monitor, it was clear that Titus Andronicus were going to have a hard time topping themselves. Filled with manic intensity and a sweeping, civil war-inspired concept, the album made for an easy cause to rally around. With their third album, Local Business, the band seems to be turning inward, with singer Patrick Stickles laying bare his own internal conflicts for the world to see.
TITUS ANDRONICUS play Lee's Palace on November 27. See listing. Rating: NNNN On their third album, New Jersey's Titus Andronicus pare back the lush instrumentation and big concepts of their previous work in favour of capturing the raw power of their legendarily raucous live shows. Surprisingly, this approach results in a much bigger sound than they managed to get before, even without all the bagpipes, cellos, keyboards and guest musicians.
Following up a concept album that used the American Civil War in a contemporary framework and earned countless accolades sets a band up to deal with large expectations. New Jersey rockers Titus Andronicus realized this when they began making third album Local Business. They knew trying to do another imposing album like The Monitor would most likely kill them.
Review Summary: oh, they’re funny but they drink too much, and don’t be surprised if they don’t amount to nothing at allAs far as self-professed nihilists go, Titus Andronicus are the dingiest, the booziest, the most completely aware, revelling in their shit-stained universe like a technicolour dreamcoat of worthlessness. Local Business, their third album, comes essentially defined as an album of meaningless Replacements rock ‘n’ roll, beginning by celebrating resentment like the gang bumped into Michel Foucault ‘round the corner and decided there’s no escaping the bitter, repressive pill that is life. “I think by now we’ve established that everything is inherently worthless and there is nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose,” Stickles sings, like a song to self, a declaration that, after building up nothing and battling with it like an actual fucking civil war, there’s little to do but sit in the squalor and smile.
?Titus Andronicus the studious recording project and Titus Andronicus the raucous touring machine are no longer two distinct beings; there is only Titus Andronicus, rock and roll band.? So read Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles? Tumblr post announcing his band?s third album, Local Business. Indeed, the Titus that made 2010?s 65-minute, American Civil War-inspired The Monitor one of the best indie-rock/punk albums in recent memory is not quite the same band that earned a Live Act of the Year nod two years ago. For one thing, it was probably unrealistic to expect that the bagpipes, saxophone, trumpet, fiddle, and other instruments that made The Monitor such a blown-out album would be lugged from show to show in the band?s Vandronicus.
Titus Andronicus has always had ambitions exceeding that of most punk bands. They're just as likely to make an album about a Civil War ship (The Monitor) as they are to write a song featuring a poop joke (the amazingly-titled "Still Life with Hot Deuce on Silver Platter"). Their music, at once shambling and epic, serves these dual purposes perfectly, and their first two albums were equal parts hilarious, angry, and soaring.
Patrick Stickles announced Titus Andronicus' upcoming North American tour by proclaiming "PUNK IS BACK." I suppose it's only fair to point out this is a guy whose last record ended with a 15-minute epic based on a Civil War naval battle. (It also had a bagpipe solo.) But while "The Battle of Hampton Roads" and many other Titus Andronicus songs lack the structural qualities of punk rock proper, they more than compensate with a spirit of all-in commitment. This was music made without any sort of Plan B.
“I leave Sisyphus at the foot of the mountain. One always finds one’s burden again. But Sisyphus teaches the higher fidelity that negates the gods and raises rocks. He too concludes that all is well. This universe henceforth without a master seems to him neither sterile nor futile. Each atom of ….
Titus Andronicus is a band that is unabashedly New Jersey in all the best ways. They’ve got the contained-to-bursting fury of basement shows and the grandiose sound and lyrical aspirations of Springsteen. Their last album, The Monitor, was the band’s punk version of The River, a huge outpouring of creativity, something both much larger in scope and somehow more refined than its predecessor, The Airing of Grievances.
Titus Andronicus has always seemed at least nominally inspired by the tone of Shakespeare’s fiercest, least elegant play, from which the band took its name, churning out raucous, ambitiously nasty songs steeped in venom and gloom. Flipping the operatic romance of fellow Jerseyite Bruce Springsteen into invocations of the rotting underside of suburbia, the band combines braying vocals and flashy, distortion-muddled guitar work with a weird mishmash of influences: snide punk-rock sloganeering, jet-black existentialism, found-sound clips of historical speeches and theatrical monologues. This chaotic, chockablock presentation gets scaled back on Local Business in favor of a streamlined sound that doesn’t have quite the same impact, even if Titus Andronicus’s attitude remains just as unrepentantly baleful.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that Local Business, the new album from New Jersey-based indie punkers Titus Andronicus, is somehow less ambitious just because it isn’t a concept album like The Monitor, their acclaimed 2010 album which looked at a breakup through the allegorical lens of The Civil War. After all, every song that frontman Patrick Stickles writes is practically a concept album unto itself. Previous Titus albums were essentially solo albums writ large, with Stickles recruiting musicians on an ad hoc basis.
Titus AndronicusLocal Business[XL; 2012]By FM Stringer; October 29, 2012Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetI hate to do it, I really do. I want to say that the new Titus Andronicus album, while taking the essential step back from the monolithic ambition of the band’s previous two albums, The Airing of Grievances and, of course, The Monitor, accomplishes the organic punk-rock pathos that the project, Local Business, demands. “It isn’t as huge sounding, but there’s just as much at stake,” I want to write as a concluding remark before happily restarting the album for an indulgent post-review listen.
Much of the ever-expanding popularity of New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus comes from the band’s dedication to delivering prophetic and somewhat controversial messages by way of punk-influenced songs. On its newest release Local Business, the band hasn’t forgotten its duty to forewarn the masses, as all of the songs live up to the album title: Here you’ll find opinionated lyrics regarding consumerism, a lifestyle many of us have become accustomed to and have grown to love. Opening the album with “Ecce Homo,” the harsh, depressing lyrics of vocalist Patrick Stickles immediately wrap themselves around the listener’s mind with the basic philosophy of anti-consumerism: “OK, I think that now we’ve established everything is inherently worthless/And there’s nothing in the universe with any kind of objective purpose.
Titus Andronicus plays it straight. Two years ago, the Jersey folk-punkers released the most epic indie rock album of the new millennium in The Monitor, a 65-minute barn burner utilizing an extended Civil War metaphor to chronicle a sour relationship. There are no horns, skits, or muskets on Local Business, a flagrant, fists-first rock & roll jaunt.