Titus Andronicus - The Monitor (2010)

"The Monitor", Titus Andronicus' second album is out March 9th, 2010, the 148th anniversary of the Battle of Hampton Roads, wherein the U.S.S. Monitor and the C.S.S. Virginia entered into their epic struggle off the coast of Virginia.

The Monitor is more or less a "concept album" – that is to say, it uses the American Civil War of 1861-1865 as an extended metaphor for the concerns addressed in a somewhat linear narrative. In said narrative, our hero leaves his humble birthplace of New Jersey - the oppressive and stifling qualities of which were discussed ad nauseam about one album ago – for the greener pastures of Boston, Massachusetts. His thesis – "the enemy is everywhere" – is put to the ultimate test as he pontificates on the topics of regional identity, emotional anesthetization, and the heavy yoke of trying to live decently in indecent times. All the while, he is forced to wonder whether said American Civil War was truly won or lost, or even completed. Will he find the supportive environment and like-minded compatriots he dreams of? Or will he be forced to leave his newly adopted home in ideological disgrace? What does it mean to be an American in 2009 anyway? Who are our so-called "friends" and how actually friendly are they? Is it necessary, or even a good idea, for an indie rock album to ask these sorts of questions? The Dark Knight, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and The Taming of the Shrew also fit in there somewhere.

The Monitor was recorded during August of 2009, under the watchful eye of producer and engineer Kevin McMahon (who oversaw our first album, as well as Pussy Cats by the Walkmen, Son of the Tiger by the Big Sleep, and Promises Promises by Die! Die! Die! among others), at his studio - Marcata Recording - in New Paltz, NY. The usual suspects from the world of Titus Andronicus were all in attendance, as well as an all-star cast of luminous friends (members of Ponytail, Wye Oak, Vivian Girls, Hold Steady, etc.) and a generous assortment of colorful New Paltz locals. The aforementioned Kevin McMahon also did the mixing during September and October, and Greg Calbi did the mastering (so chosen because he is the only person alive who can claim involvement in both The Chemistry of Common Life by Fucked Up and Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell by Meat Loaf) in early November.

So what does all this sound like? It has long passages of ambient drones, blazing saxophone, pianos homages to "A Charlie Brown Christmas," complete marching drumlines, Thunder Tube solos, fourteen-minute Billy Bragg knock-offs, backwards liturgical pieces, bombastic country duets, garbage cans hit with tambourines, choirs of angels with bromantic faces, probably too many spoken word interludes lifted from cassette tapes, and, of course, the hissy-fit punk songs and off-key warbling we have come to expect from Titus Andronicus. Did I mention that this record is sixty-five minutes long? Because that's kind of important. Through and through, it is a wholehearted 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.

Artist: 
Titus Andronicus
Album: 
The Monitor
Album art: 
Release date: 
09.03.2010
Quality: 
192 kbps
Tracklist: 

1. A More Perfect Union
2. Titus Andronicus Forever
3. No Future Part Three/Escape From No Future
4. Richard II
5. A Pot In Which To Piss
6. Four Score And Seven
7. Theme From _Cheers_
8. To Old Friends And New
9. ...And Ever
10. The Battle Of Hampton Roads

Music label: 
XL Recordings
Country: 
Glen Rock, New Jersey, United States
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