Release Date: Jul 29, 2016
Record label: Merge
Titus Andronicus are clearly having a hell of a good time on S+@dium Rock: Five Nights at the Opera. The new live album chronicles the New Jersey punk band's 2015 five-night, sold out stay at New York City's Shea Stadium ("the longest-running active all-ages DIY space," according to a press release). It opens with the raucous "Dimed Out," on which the synchronized shouts and jabbing punk chords sound rowdy and visceral.
No band in the past decade has worked harder to reassert the notion that rock ‘n’ roll is capital-I Important than Titus Andronicus. Everything they do is powered by the belief that listening to rock ‘n’ roll can save your life and that playing it can save the lives of others. To ensure that transformative tradition carries over to future generations, they've resorted to the most extreme measures—epic narrative concept albums, encyclopedic cover-song selections, relentless touring, 9,000-word essays on The Replacements.
The ideal time to get into Titus Andronicus is somewhere between 14 and 17 years old. Nobody does suburban rebellion and revival punk the way they do, and they keep charging forward in a way that begs for more fists to be thrown into the air, for more DIY spaces to open up, for more friendships to be formed over shared CDs and pre-show conversation about a need to fight back against a system you’re only just learning is horribly corrupt. The New Jersey punks have a spirit within them that can’t be put out.
The goal of Titus Andronicus as a band is one that many artists have attempted over the years: that of making music with a grand, epic sweep that still touches on something deeply personal and intimate. Do it right, and you’re hailed as a genius. Do it wrong, and you become Angels & Airwaves. For Titus Andronicus, though, this goal isn’t just one they’re attempting to reach through music, but also through their conduct as a band.
Recently, Punk Rock has been doing some soul-searching. As an audience it feels like we’ve heard it all before. A riff here. An angry young man spitting there. Though there have been a few cases of true originality within the genre (Fucked Up, Sheer Mag, Death Grips, to name a few) the majority ….