New Music Monday: Titus Andronicus

Titus andronicus
527_titus_mostlamentabletragedy_2500pxOn their fourth album, Brooklyn-by-way-of-New-Jersey indie punks Titus Andronicus offer an allegorical story over the course of one hundred or so minutes. Titled The Most Lamentable Tragedy (and hereafter called TMLT), the 29-song record comes out July 28th through Merge. Anyone unfamiliar with the band might be surprised to hear that a group of so-called punks are releasing a triple LP, featuring two songs that break the nine minute mark no less. I assure you Titus Andronicus are a punk band, and TMLT is a punk album in the vein of The Clash or The Replacements.

That is to say that Titus Andronicus’ music has some of the best guitar riffs out there, but the band also understand when to pull back from eleven, in one sense. This is also a group that has never released an album without at least one seven minute-long song, and TMLT keeps that tradition alive gloriously. The album’s centerpiece is comprised of two songs (“More Perfect Union” and “(S)HE SAID/ (S)HE SAID”) that each break the nine minute mark. That’s hardly a strike against the band, though. From “No Future, Pt. 1” on their debut, The Airing of Grievances, through to TMLT’s “More Perfect Union” and (S)HE SAID/ (S)HE SAID” the band’s longer tracks more than hold their own.

Note well, though, that this is an album that should be listened to as such. TMLT is a story that follows an unnamed narrator through roughly a year of his life in “the big city,” with different songs occurring in different seasons and representing phases of the manic depressive mood cycle. The structure makes TMLT a more challenging record than Titus Andronicus’ previous albums. In addition to being their longest, the album is split into five acts, with each act containing its own suite of songs. Act II, for example, includes two of TMLT’s first three singles and was itself released as a short film titled “The Magic Morning.” The film gives an excellent idea of what to expect from the rest of the album, an introduction (to the new act) followed by anthemic guitar riffs.

Titus Andronicus have been been around for a decade, and in that time they have carved out a magnificent space for themselves. Few bands are able to sing about serious topics without coming across as humorless at best and dull at worst. Titus Andronicus, thanks to the energy they play with and the cleverness of their lyrics, avoid that pitfall. They are one of the best bands recording today.

The Most Lamentable Tragedy comes out July 28 via Merge Records and is available for preorder on Amazon, iTunes, and Merge.


Traveling Alone Can Be an Unforgettable Adventure with Contiki

Ever wanted to climb a volcano and make chocolate in the same trip? Check out Contiki and their curated trip to Ecuador.

Beards, Booze, and Bacon: The Leather-Working Episode

Levi Martinez of Orox Leather educates us on the basics of leather-working, tips for spotting quality leather, and how to keep good leather looking great.

Jaguar’s Newest F-Type is Rally Car Begging to Go Off Road

Jaguar XK 120 (left) and the rally-ready Jaguar F-Type (right). Dirt is a special substance. It can be both soft and hard. Dirty and clean. And when you’re flying across a section of dirt road in a specially outfitted rally car, it can be…

Beards, Booze, and Bacon: Interview with Mario Andretti

The Manual's podcast host got a chance to interview Mario Andretti. And ride in a race car. No big deal.
Food & Drink

The Best Playlist to Enjoy While Day Drinking

Next time you plan on day drinking, put on this Spotify playlist and ride the wave.

New Music Preview: Kamasi Washington, Neko Case, and Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever

June has plenty of new album releases in store, but there are three particular records coming out this month that we can’t wait to hear.

What You Need to Create the Ultimate Man Cave for Music Lovers

Immerse yourself in sound and style with these products perfect for your own personal listening room.

Best Road Trip Songs: Hit Play Then Hit the Gas

Ah, the open road! It beckons us to cast aside responsibility, embrace the unknown, jump in the car, and just go. Take this mixtape with you.
Food & Drink

Sink Your Teeth Into the Best Summer Barbecue Playlist

Take your cookout from genetically modified slumping to organic, farm-to-table bumping.

Cut the Cord with the Best Wireless Headphones for Running

It's easier to get in the zone with your favorite tunes when you don't have to worry about pesky wires.

How Bose Sleepbuds ‘Non-headphones’ Promise a Better Night’s Sleep

Replace snoring partners or screaming babies with soothing sounds to help you fall (and stay) asleep.

The Best Funk Songs for Getting Down

From roller rinks to velvet lounges, funk is the grout between the tiles of life that keeps our bathtub all sparkly, scrubba-dub-dub fun.

New Music Preview: Blood Orange, Ohmme, and Wild Nothing

August has plenty of new album releases in store, but there are three particular records coming out this month that we can’t wait to hear.