Saturday, August 20, 2011

Titus Andronicus and The Airing of Grievances

Titus Andronicus is a five piece band from the middle of suburban New Jersey, where there are still Main Streets, postcard like neighborhoods, and a music scene so small that everyone knows everyone else. The five friends and compatriots who make up Titus aren't even out of college yet but have turned their youthful experience into the basis for their entire existence.

Their debut album The Airing of Grievances (cue Seinfeld reference) was originally recorded in 2007 and initially released in May of 2008 to critical acclaim by the mainstream music press. XL Recordings hearing the potential of the band decided to take the record, remaster it, and re-release it in digital and physical formats. The Airing of Grievances is an incredibly raw and unpolished work of indie rock aggression. Sounding something like Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr, and (what the heck just because their from Jersey) Bruce Springsteen, the band cranks up their amps, shreds their guitars and come up with a spiky, speedy pop record that's as noise-filled as it is loaded with contagious songs.

Titus Andronicus take the lo-fi route to get where they're going and it sounds as if The Airing of Grievances was recorded during Festivus as they were conducting the Feats of Strength portion of the holiday. The record is so far from being Pro-Tooled that it sounds like they used 3/4 inch tape and a Tascam machine from 1975 to get the sound they wanted. While they might not have a glossy super high budget production on their hands they do have one cool group of powerful songs that sound like a frenzied attack of guitars, bass, and drums. It's thrilling impassioned stuff that's angsty and packed with the roller coaster ride of youth.

When the band rolls through a song like, "Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ," you can hear their sincerity. Like much of The Airing of Grievances it's a rambunctious ride that doesn't slow down and pretty much plows it's way through about six minutes of speedy indie rock. Even when they slow things down and bring out some Jesus and Mary Chain gloom on "No Future pt. 1," their hearts and guitars are still in the right place.

The Airing of Grievances isn't going to win any sort of awards for it's lo-fi sounds, but it doesn't need to because the quality of the songs that make up the record cuts through all the din like a knife through hot butter. Titus Andronicus have come up with an unstable and spazzy record that's about youth and noise. It's an exciting listen that might make you deaf but that's what rock and roll is all about. If you don't already have the Troubleman version of this, then XL has just released it and I'd pick it up if I were you.

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