Thursday, January 21, 2010

The MONITOUR Phase One: "On the Record"

Hello dear friends. It is our pleasure this day to announce phase one of THE MONITOUR, which, as you may have guessed, is the tour during which we shall promote our new record The Monitor. Get it? Moni-tour? Anyway. This first bundle of promotional exercises will occupy our time between our record release show at the Bowery Ballroom with Parts & Labor and the Babies (but you already knew about that, right?) on March 6th, and the annual South by Southwest music conference in Austin, TX, beginning March 17th.

During this time, we will forgo playing the typical "rock concert," as it were, and play primarily independently owned and operated record stores. These shows will be free, all ages, and typically take place in the afternoon or early evening. Why would we do a thing like this, you ask? Well, we would do it because it is important to us to stack our chips with the mom and pop businesses, stores that represent the best of our free market system, capitalism not going awry (for once!), and enrich the culture of their communities in a sound and decent fashion. With the demise of Tower Records, Sam Goody, et al, it is essential that we all show our support for these businesses, who are on the front lines of the war on cultural whitewashing. Besides, since these performances will be the first that we do with our record officially available, where better to celebrate its release? Yes, you surely agree by now, it is all too sensible.

All this will begin with a performance at Vintage Vinyl in Fords, NJ, a place near and dear to the hearts of New Jersey indie rockers everywhere. The full itinerary is below.

3/8 - Vintage Vinyl
51 Lafayette Road, Fords, NJ
8 PM

3/9 - My Mind's Eye
13723 Madison Avenue, Lakewood, OH
7 PM

3/10 - Used Kids
1980 N. High Street, Columbus, OH
7 PM

3/12 - Ear X-Tacy
1534 Bardstown Road, Louisville, KY
6 PM

3/13 - Reckless Records
1532 N. Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL
4 PM

3/14 - Vintage Vinyl
6610 Del Mar Avenue, St. Louis, MO
4 PM

3/16 - Good Records
1808 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX
6 PM

Well, I would guess that those shows are all going to be a lot of fun! I hope that we will see you there, yeah?

Speaking of that quaint, archaic process known as "buying records," let me give a big shout out to everybody that helped make The Monitor pre-order #4 on Insound this week! It was enough of a watershed moment that I just received a congratulatory phone call from my father, who also would probably love for me to point out that he is not the bad influence that he was made out to be in the recent Rolling Stone blog about our band. My old man is mad decent.

In other news, I just read on the internet today that we are going to be taking part in a very exciting event indeed once arriving in Austin for SXSW. Of course I refer to the "Fucked Up Saves Music" showcase that will be going down Saturday the 20th of March at Red 7 Patio. We played with Fucked Up a couple months ago at the Brooklyn Masonic Temple, and it is a great treat to share the stage with the first ever band to concurrently hold the titles of Greatest Punk Band and Greatest Shoegaze Band (okay, JAMC maybe? But that was a long time ago). Also appearing will be none other than Greatest Guitar Player Who Ever Lived, J Mascis! Katie Stelmanis and Rival Schools also - neat! Let's rock!

I feel like I had something else to say... didn't I see something cool on YouTube or something? Oh well.

Yr friend,

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Indie Rock is Dead, Long Live Indie Rock

Firstly, I gotta give a big shout out to Extra Large Recordings, who, as we have surely all heard by now, are enjoying their first ever number one album in the form of Contra by Vampire Weekend. I feel like there is something to be said about this and what it means for our band and for indie rock in general, but I am sick as a dog right now and not feeling my most loquacious. I will simply say that this news merely reaffirms what we at Titus Andronicus LLC have long known to be true - Extra Large Recordings is the best record label. Fresh for 2010, you suckas.

So, speaking of alternative rock bands who have had number one albums, here is some good news for people who like bad news. I was thinking today about the tour that we are going to do in a couple months, and so I thought I'd see what was going on with the Monolith, an all-ages, DIY show space in Tulsa, OK for which I have great admiration. Imagine my disappointment to see on their MySpace that the space closed a long time ago due to "an inability to communicate effectively amongst ourselves in addition to a lack of turnout the past few months." Shit, what a fucking drag! The Monolith was a super-cool storefront with a comprehensive library of alt literature and was operated by a bunch of very cool, caring punks, and the show we played there back in January was one of the highlights of that particular tour. There is little that is more inspirational to a band such as ours than traveling into what are, for us, hitherto uncharted territory and finding such an oasis of ethical fun. You can see a little bit of that show, and a subsequent impromptu prop comedy performance by Eric and myself, in the video below.

It is a harsh truth that running a space such as the Monolith (the late, great Spazzatorium Galleria of Greenville, NC also comes to mind) is too often a thankless task and, thus far, the formula for making such a great idea financially sustainable outside of an established indie rock hub remains elusive. Doubtless we in the greater NYC area are spoiled by the wealth of all-ages DIY spaces and can't properly appreciate what a space like the Monolith closing means for a community like Tulsa. I feel, again, that
there is something to be said about this and what it means for our band and for indie rock in general, but, again, too sick and stupid. Maybe later on. Rest in peace, Monolith. You were too good for this world.

In other news, am I the only who sees stuff on the internet about this band the Besnard Lakes and immediately thinks of Barenaked Ladies? Not that they have anything to do with each other musically, but in, like, a Felice Brothers - Pernice Brothers kind of way. I don't really have a point, but I still love Barenaked Ladies. Would you believe I have seen them live FOUR times? They were also my first ever concert, at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ on the Stunt tour. That shit was awesome.

Also, am I the only one broken up about Stephen Page quitting the band? Feels like the end of an era. Get the whole story here.

I guess it is time to move on. Maybe the answer is this band Free Energy. Do you guys like them? Me and my roommates do, a lot, and can't wait for their show at Pianos tomorrow! Whee! We played with them at Georgetown University back in October, and they rocked. Surely, they will do the same tomorrow. Maybe we'll see you there? Look at this video if you are unconvinced.

Free Energy - Free Energy from DFA Records on Vimeo.

All right, I guess that is all.

Yr friend,

Monday, January 18, 2010

Meet our new team, plus: A punk band meets the "A-Punk" Band

Hello dear friends. If any of you happened to see our performance at last night's Vampire Weekend concert at the United Palace Theater, you may have noticed that (geez, how many times have I said this?) we have some new members. Yes, it's true - Titus Andronicus v. 6.0 Beta is up and running. Who are these people, you ask? Well...
The woman on the right is named Amy Klein, and she is a native of Glen Ridge, NJ, and a current resident of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. I have known Amy for a few years now, as she used to play in a band in college with a woman that I was dating at the time. Then she moved to Japan for a while and I was pretty sure I'd never see her again, but a couple of months ago, I happened to run into her at a Double Dagger/Future Islands show at Death by Audio (side note: the most recent Double Dagger album More is the best punk album since... gee, is there a better one? "The Lie/The Truth," which features the singer of Future Islands on backing vocals, is the sort of uplifting punk anthem that Double Dagger must not have heard isn't supposed to exist anymore. Anyway, I could go on and on), and I felt the hand of destiny on my shoulder. Maybe it was the Four Loco coursing through my veins, but I demanded right then and there that Amy join the band and, bless her heart, after a few meetings about logistics and other business related concerns, she did it! She will be playing the electric guitar (a beautiful, black Gibson L6, a precursor to our modern SG) and violin. Neat!

In point of fact, she has already contributed her violin talents to our organization. Here is a picture of she and I at Marcata Recording way, way back in the summer of 2007 during the recording of The Airing of Grievances (thanks to our main man Kevin Kearns for the picture).

Anyway, Amy is great. Speaking of great people...

This guy's name is David Robbins, and he will be playing the keyboards and the electric guitar in Titus Andronicus until further notice. This talented man was a roommate of Eric's back in their days at Bloomsburg University, where David majored in "Vocal Performance." This suggests to me we shall also hear Dave do some singing in our band, and probably Amy too for that matter. Hmmm... anyway, I digress. Here is a picture of Dave (top left) and Eric (bottom right) with the rest of their college roommates during a period when they all grew moustaches.

Dave first came to our attention when Titus Andronicus v 5.0 played a concert back in Autumn of 2008 at Oberlin College, where he was then working as an RD (Resident Director, I think that stands for?). He let us stay at his apartment that night, and a certain member of Titus Andronicus who shall remain nameless (it wasn't me!) cracked everybody up by making some truly hilarious/heartbreaking noises as he threw up outside! Oh my god, you should have heard it. Unbelievable.

Dave is remarkable for being the oldest ever member of Titus Andronicus, at a jaw-droppingly ancient 26 years old, and for being only the third member of our ranks who wasn't from New Jersey (he is from western Pennsylvania - close enough, right?). Yes, there in no doubt about it - Dave is the man.

It is worth noting that the pictures from last night's show were taken by someone named a Diana Wong. Thanks, Diana!

Speaking of that show, I am sure that enough about it has already been said. Suffice to say, it was one of the most bizarre nights of my life, but not in a completely unpleasant way. It looked and sounded a little like this:

All I have to say is, the bass player of this band is truly a fantastic dancer. Shit, that guy can dance his ass off. Who knew? I'd love to party with him sometime.

With all this talk of new members, maybe this is the right time to present a comprehensive list of all the people who have been in the band over the years, for prosperity's sake. Hopefully, this will be the last permutation, but I say that every time. In alphabetical order:

Sarim Al-Rawi: drums - Spring 2005 - Summer 2006
Liam Betson: guitar - Summer 2006 - Summer 2008, Summer 2009, Winter 2009
Andrew Cedermark: guitar - Summer 2007, Summer 2008 - Spring 2009
Martin Courtney: keyboard - Summer 2006
Alexi Crawford: guitar - Summer 2005 - Summer 2006
Ian Dykstra: drums - Summer 2006 - Summer 2007
Pete Feigenbaum: guitar - Autumn 2009
Ian Graetzer: bass - Spring 2005 - modern day
Eric Harm: drums - Autumn 2007 - modern day
Amy Klein: guitar, violin - Winter 2010 - modern day
Matt Miller: keyboard - Autumn 2005 - Spring 2006
Ian O'Neil: guitar - Autumn 2008 - Spring 2009
David Robbins: keyboard, guitar - Winter 2010 - modern day
Patrick Stickles: vocals, guitar - Spring 2005 - modern day
Dan Tews: guitar - Autumn 2005 - Summer 2008
Alex Tretiak: drums - Summer 2007

So many happy memories, so many heartbreaks. Let's hope that Dave and Amy bring more of the former and less of the latter, eh?

Okay, well, I guess that is all for now.

Yr friend,

Friday, January 15, 2010


Okay, gang. Perhaps by now you have heard that our new album, The Monitor, has been leaked onto the internet, and I would be remiss not to remind you guys that we'd really much rather you not download the record but actually just buy it when it comes out. I know that sounds pretty old-fashioned in 2010, but I had to say it.

I am glad that it seems those of you who have eaten from the forbidden tree of knowledge seem to generally enjoy the record, and it is a thrill to have Warren Ellis approve of our debt to Billy Bragg on Twitter (did I mention I love comic books? Because that is kind of important!). Still, you guys have to understand, that if you all just download the record for free, it will mean bad things for yr friends in Titus Andronicus, who, as we learned earlier, have to eat.

Also, there is going to be a two-LP vinyl release of this album that is going to sound way better than the lossy mp3 rips that you could listen to now. We expended a great deal of effort trying to make it sound as good as we could (no "lo-fi" aspirations here), and we want you guys to have the highest quality version possible, if that it something you care about.

That said, great big thanks to all the decent folks who made The Monitor pre-order the number nine seller on Insound this week! Woo hoo! You guys are the best.

All of you who are downloading our new album and sharing it with yr friends, we like you guys too and appreciate yr enthusiasm, but if you like the album, please buy the real thing and not just the digital bootlegs flying around, so that we may continue to survive while we attempt to see to yr rock and roll needs.

Obviously, once the proverbial genie is out of the bottle, there is no putting it back in, so... shit, I dunno. I hate to tell you kids what to do. Yr smart. I know you'll do the right thing.

Yr friend,

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

More pre-order info, Smoking Popes, hate mail

Hey gang. Guess what I just read on our favorite website, Apparently, when you pre-order our new record, The Monitor, you will also receive a free copy of the "Four Score and Seven" seven inch! Hey, wait a second - Four Score and Seven Inches? That's funny. It appears to me that this offer only relates to purchasing the vinyl edition of the full-length. Did I mention that it is a double LP? Damn, that's badass, right? Anyway, learn more here. How many times do I have to tell you this???

Anyway, remember that band from the 90's the Smoking Popes? I do. They were awesome. I recently obtained a used cassette copy of their 1995 album Born to Quit and it holds up nicely. Peep the video for their great song, "I Need You Around," which has some totally awesome fish-eye lens shot. I swear, if we ever get to make another music video, it is going to have so much fish-eye, it is going to be insane.

Why do I bring this up? Well, it is all because of that band Surfer Blood everyone is talking about. Amidst all this talking, why has no one mentioned that this Surfer Blood guy's voice sounds just like the guy from the Smoking Popes? Am I crazy? Just listen.

I am not crazy. This dude is taking a lot of his cues from the Smoking Popes, and you know what, that's great! Speaking of Surfer Blood, can President Obama or somesuch authority figure go on the record declaring this song "Swim" to be the best Weezer song since "Wasted and Ready" by Ben Kweller? It is decidedly so. Anyway, speaking of Smoking Popes, you know who else is taking a lot of their cues from them? GIRLS!

Doesn't that band sound like Smoking Popes too? And also, what is it with them and boobs? This video is like an awkward hipster version of the video for "Wicked Game" by Chris Isaak. They're pretty good all the same though, and I am especially fond of their drummer Garett, but maybe he isn't in the band anymore or something? Who knows. Point is: Smoking Popes - biggest unsung heroes of 2010 indie rock.

You know who else? Luna! Why don't any of these chillwave/glo-fi/hypnagogic pop bands give lip service to Luna? I would embed a bunch more YouTube videos to prove my point, but we've had enough of those by this point, right? Hey, all you chillwavers - give credit where it's due. Luna is the one.

Speaking of chillwave or whatever that thing is, I was reading a review of that great new album by our homies Real Estate earlier today, and man, was it harsh! And poor innocent Titus Andronicus got caught in the crossfire! Observe.

"Stereogum made some stink about how Titus Andronicus were in this band’s top friends on MySpace. I read this review (which was gleaming, for some reason) while listening to Real Estate and began to think about the relationship between New York (and her bands) and the national press. If there were one city that this dirty hipster would think would have the balls and the brains to boo a band like Titus Andronicus off stage, I though New York would be it. For one reason or another, TA continues to play in front of big crowds at Bowery Ballroom. Maybe we’re more polite than everyone thinks. Way more polite. TA seem to be at the forefront, or at least towards it, of a new wave of extremely unprofessional, unpolished, careless bands. Real Estate may the next in line to take the stage at Bowery and not only sing out of key, but bore the crowd half to death."

Whoa, that smarts! Here was the death blow at the end of the review.

"Real Estate’s latest release is a raggedly-constructed cobweb of reverb that leaves this dirty hipster crying, “NO MORE!” Grizzly Bear (though I personally prefer Department of Eagles) and Fleet Foxes deserve our attention. Real Estate, and the unbearable, Titus Andronicus, do not."

Uncle, Uncle! Read the complete character assassination here. This guy got it about half right - we suck, it is true, but Real Estate is great! Come on, man. Get yr facts straight!

Okay, I guess that's all for now.

Yr friend,

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pre-order info, Total Dis Part II

Hey guys. If yr interested, you can now pre-order our new record thanks to the good people at Do that here, or don't, whatever!

Speaking of Insound, here is a blast from the past - Kip Berman of TPOBPAH fame, back when he was still a lowly civilian with a flair for comedy, explaining how Insound works.

In other news, did you guys know that this was our first seven inch?
It came out way, way back in March, 2007 on Shake Appeal Records, a Chicago-based label run by jolly Uncle Joe Dixon. Our friend Brittany Botz did the art, and what a great job she did. You know who else must have thought so? Frog Eyes! Look at this record cover of this record they put out in MAY of 2007.
You snooze, you lose, Frog Eyes! Okay, that's all for now.

Yr friend,

Friday, January 8, 2010

Total dis!

On a lighter note, remember when we made this video?

Yeah, that shit was tight, I know. Well, just now, I was looking up information about the band Danananananananananaykroyd online, because they pretty much rock, and I saw this video.

Total rip-off of our video, right? Those posers! Well, I thought so too, but then further research showed that their video actually went up on YouTube two months to the day BEFORE our video! Oh geez, it was us that ripped them off! Sorry, Danananananananananaykroyd. We didn't do it on purpose!
Yr friend,

Fuck you, Jersey

And I'm not talking about the Situation.

New Jersey Senate Defeats Gay Marriage Bill

Hope is big, but they're always going to win.

Visit Garden State Equality for more info.

Yr friend,

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Points of interest for 2010

Hello friends. First of all, let me thank everyone who came out to our New Year's Eve show with the So So Glos at the Mercury Lounge - it was a lot of fun! Whee! I want to send a special message to one person in particular though. It was some sort of burly-ish gentleman in the front row who wore a big winter coat and scarf. We were playing "Where Eagles Dare" by the Misfits because that song rocks, and during the last verse, I saw this guy singing along, and so I decided to stick the microphone in his face to sing with him, because that is the thing to do when you are playing a song like "Where Eagles Dare." Imagine my delight to hear that this guy had a great voice! Really, I have put microphones in people's faces many times before during that part of that song, and I can honestly say, this guy was the best singer of them all. My thought processes were a bit of a blur at this point, being New Year's Eve and all, so I made a pretty lame attempt at mounting this guy's shoulders so that I could ride him around during the last chorus. I don't know - at the time, it seemed like the thing to do. It didn't really work out, and my girlfriend chided me later for sticking my crotch in this guy's face. Hey, guy - if you disliked that event as much as my girlfriend thought you probably did, I am really sorry! I was acting crazy because I was so excited about yr great voice. You did a good job. I was trying to do a good job too - if I didn't, many apologies. If you ever see me on the street, tell me who you are, and I will let you stick yr crotch in my face for a minute or so, and we'll be even Stephens.

In other news, it has been brought to my attention the recent publication of what may be the first piece of Titus Andronicus (the band) "fan fiction," if you can call it that.

The End of the 00s: The Ballad of That Guy From Titus Andronicus (As Told To Matthew Perpetua)

It is kind of funny, I guess, but it still makes me unhappy. It seems the joke is that we are greedy capitalists who are in it for money and fame. I suppose I brought it on myself by writing that blog about the Vice Halloween party when I confided that I was concerned about my finances and admitted that it was hard making a living playing indie rock music. That was wrong of me, I guess. Our new position for 2010 is that we don't ever, ever think about money, and that we have the luxury of making artistic pursuits our only priority. That's right, folks - we no longer require food or clothing or shelter. After all, we have sold, like, seven thousand records. Obviously we want for nothing! We're big stars!!

Anyway, at least this joker had the decency to take credit for his work. I mean, he could have easily just posted an anonymous comment in some internet dungeon about how we would like to see us castrated. Very admirable, how accountable this Matthew Perpetua is.

In other news, we watched the movie "Wisconsin Death Trip" on Netflix last night, and it was kind of cool, so here is a little video of us playing in Wisconsin way back in February 2009.

Okay, I guess that is all for now! Best wishes for the new year.

Yr friend,