In Praise of Titus Andronicus

I’ve lis­tened to this about 1,000 times. Don’t know if it’s the go-for-the-throat vocals, the clever Spring­steen ref, or the Dinosaur Jr. gui­tars, but I’ve been com­plete­ly cap­ti­vat­ed by a band I wrote off after their debut. ‘The Mon­i­tor’ blows away any­thing I remem­ber from ‘The Air­ing of Griev­ances,’ which isn’t say­ing much, since I remem­ber about zero from the lat­ter. I may need to revis­it that one.

For­give me for being turned off by a lack­lus­ter per­for­mance at John­ny Brenda’s once. There was a stretch where every hyped indie act I saw proved dis­ap­point­ing on any lev­el. Pret­ty sure they opened for the Ponys. I’m still recov­er­ing from that expe­ri­ence.

Suf­fice it to say that I have a very sen­si­tive BS detec­tor when it comes to bands that fall into that cat­e­go­ry of new truth in indie rock, but Titus Andron­i­cus have defied all expec­ta­tions. Sol­id. I mean, who even releas­es a sopho­more album any­one pays atten­tion to any­more? Con­grats, dudes.

MOVE TO TRASH: THE STREETS — “EVERYTHING IS BORROWED

I’m going to start “Move to Trash” as a recur­ring fea­ture for new albums that are big let­downs. First up? The Streets’ lat­est album, Every­thing Is Bor­rowed.

As I com­ment­ed on Stereogum’s Pre­ma­ture Eval­u­a­tion post, fame has not been kind to Mike Skin­ner. Like his last album, The Hard­est Way to Make an Easy Liv­ing, Skin­ner has a hard time recap­tur­ing the glo­ry of his mad­cap ram­blings on Orig­i­nal Pirate Mate­r­i­al and the bril­liant A Grand Don’t Come for Free. Instead of bizarre rhymes about every­day dra­ma, Skin­ner resorts to pre­scrip­tions for right liv­ing and hor­ri­ble self-help advice.

Where are the fun songs? Lul­la­by beats make me very sleepy. Can some­one remind Mike Skin­ner that he made “Fit But You Know It?” Every­thing Is Bor­rowed, like its pre­de­ces­sor, is the sound of a 12-step pro­gram put to music. It’s depress­ing to see such a promis­ing artist com­plete­ly lose track of what made him so inter­est­ing in the first place.

I take back every­thing I ever said about Mike Skin­ner being the new incar­na­tion of Mark E. Smith.