Entries tagged with: Titus Andronicus

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photos by Sachyn Mital

Craig Finn at Lincoln Center - 2/3/16
Craig Finn

Although this was a Craig Finn "solo" show, he played with a full band of massively talented session musicians including the man who produced his last solo record playing lead guitar the whole night. I don't have the name handy of the multi-instrumentalist that Finn had on hand for his brass section, but the guy needs a raise. Whether it was the saxophone or the trumpet (and I think he even had him playing a flute at one point), the man brought an electrifying, jazz-y energy to the whole affair. I got to spend an hour and a half watching world-class musicians ply their trade, and it's hard to ask for anything more than that. [Baeble Music]
Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn played the ongoing American Songbook series in the Appel Room at Lincoln Center last night (2/3). He was joined by several musicians, including Walter Martin of The Walkmen. Were you there? Pictures are in this post.

Craig's next stint is opening for Titus Andronicus. He was previously billed for every date on their tour except the NYC show on February 29 at Webster Hall. Not surprisingly, now that the American Songbook show is behind him, he was announced for the Webster show too. Tickets for that show are still available. Updated dates are listed below.

The American Songbook series continues, including Laura Jane Grace on 2/19.

Continue reading "Craig Finn played the American Songbook series (pics), opening for Titus Andronicus (Webster Hall included)"

Merge Records

Merge Records have become one of the latest labels to join Bandcamp. Unfortunately the whole discography isn't there -- like no Arcade Fire, Neutral Milk Hotel or Spoon -- but still this is good news. You can now stream full albums by Superchunk, Seaweed, Ex Hex, Bob Mould, Titus Andronicus, The Mountain Goats, Destroyer, Polvo, Versus and more, and get digital downloads, often for cheaper than iTunes.

Bob Mould, Eric Bachmann, Mount Moriah, Titus Andronicus, The Mountain Goats, and more Merge artists are touring soon.

Stream some great Merge albums below...

Continue reading "Merge Records is now on Bandcamp"

Primavera

Barcelona's Primavera Sound festival returns from June 1-5, and as always, the lineup is pretty amazing. They've got Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Sigur Ros, PJ Harvey, Tame Impala, The Last Shadow Puppets, Air, Brian Wilson (performing Pet Sounds), Beach House, Suede, Beirut, Animal Collective, Pusha T, Action Bronson, Explosions in the Sky, Moderat, John Carpenter, Vince Staples, Drive Like Jehu, Deerhunter, Dinosaur Jr, Richard Hawley, Kamasi Washington, Neon Indian, Battles, Ty Segall, Julia Holter, Destroyer, Thee Oh Sees, Titus Andronicus, Tortoise, Mudhoney, Boredoms, Royal Headache, Shellac, Dungen, Beach Slang, Venom, Unsane, The Chills, Holly Herndon, Psychic TV, Mbongwana Star, U.S. Girls, Protomartyr, Julien Baker, Sheer Mag, Downtown Boys and still so much more.

Tickets are on sale now. Full lineup below.

Radiohead, who haven't played live since 2012, were also announced to headline Portugal's Nos Alive and Switzerland's OpenAir St. Gallen. They recently released their unused Bond theme and a new album is rumored to be imminent.

Continue reading "Primavera 2016 lineup (Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, Sigur Ros, PJ Harvey, Brian Wilson, Drive Like Jehu, Suede, more)"

photo: Night Birds at Warsaw in 2015 (more by Keith Marlowe)
Night Birds

NJ's xylophone-fueled punks Crazy & the Brains have a ton of shows coming up in NYC/NJ, as usual. Their NYC shows include Pianos on Friday (1/15) with The Black Clouds, Those Mocking Birds, Dead Stars and Darkwing (tickets); a free show at Pine Box Rock Shop on Saturday (1/16); one at Palisades on January 21 with Larry & the Babes, Bodega Bay and Little Cobweb (tickets); Good Room on January 30 with Philly folk punks Mischief Brew (headlining), The Homewreckers and Out of System Transfer (tickets); a release party for their new video at Le Poisson Rouge on February 6 with comedian Brett Davis (who they've played with before) and High Waisted (tickets); back to Palisades on March 5 with The Roaring 420s, Go!Zilla and The Dirty Blones (tickets); and The Studio at Webster Hall on May 22 with Tim & Eric's David Liebe Hart (tickets).

As for their NJ shows, there's February 13 at Funhouse (the Jersey city venue they run) with Joe Jack Talcum (of Dead Milkmen), American Anymen and Crushed Out; and March 4 at Monty Hall with the killer punk band Night Birds and Dirty Fences (tickets).

Besides all that, CATB play Albany's World Citizen Party House on February 5. You certainly can't say there's no chances to see them!

Speaking of Night Birds, they topped Punk News' Best Albums of 2015 list, which recently came out. The rest of the list includes Hop Along, Protomartyr, Desaparecidos, Downtown Boys, Titus Andronicus, Screaming Females, The Mountain Goats, Beach Slang, The Wonder Years, Sleater-Kinney and more. Check it out here. Night Birds have a few other upcoming shows, which are listed below.

Continue reading "Crazy & the Brains playing tons of NYC/NJ shows, one with Night Birds (who topped Punk News' Best of 2015 list)"

Sasquatch

Festival creator Adam Zacks and Live Nation have announced the lineup for the Sasquatch! Music Festival, taking place May 27th - 30th, with over 120 artists including performances by The Cure, Florence & The Machine, Disclosure, Major Lazer, Alabama Shakes, A$AP Rocky, Sufjan Stevens, M83, Grimes, Chet Faker, and Jamie xx. Created by Adam Zacks in 2002, the festival's stellar lineups have featured a blend of established and emerging artists at the stunning Gorge Amphitheatre set atop the cliffs overlooking the Columbia River, making this festival an international destination as well as a uniquely Pacific Northwest mainstay. Tickets to the 2016 Sasquatch! Music Festival will go on sale Tuesday, January 12 at 10 a.m. (PST) at SasquatchFestival.com
Co-headliner Florence & The Machine was also announced on Shaky Knees today too, and just announced a tour with Grimes.

Check out the full Sasquatch lineup below...

Continue reading "Sasquatch! 2016 Music Festival Lineup announced "

photo: Patrick Stickles at Webster Hall earlier this month (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Patrick Stickles

Titus Andronicus have announced a 2016 tour in continued support of this year's rock opera, The Most Lamentable Tragedy. Support comes from The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn, who released the solo album Faith In The Future earlier this year and has collaborated with Titus more than once. He's currently billed for every date except the NYC show, though he plays his own NYC show as part of the American Songbook series (2/3) before the tour.

Titus' NYC show, the first date of the tour, happens February 29 at Webster Hall. Tickets for that show go on sale Friday (12/18) at noon. All dates are listed below.

Just in time for the holidays, Titus have released a "Grandma-friendly 'remix'" (their words) of "Fired Up" off their new album, which is "ready for even the most placid holiday gathering, stripped of all potentially offensive sounds such as drums and electric guitars." It's now filled with string arrangements, and the band encourages you to "deck the halls with +@'s smoothest sounds yet." The song will get a physical release in early 2016 as part of the final installment of their Seven Seven Inches series, but you can stream it below now.

Continue reading "Titus Andronicus announce tour with Craig Finn, release "Grandma-friendly" version of "Fired Up" for the holidays"

Pitchfork

Pitchfork have published their 100 Best Tracks of 2015 list. The criteria was "any track that was released in 2015 or had its greatest impact in the U.S. during this year was eligible," which allows for stuff like 2014 releases from Fetty Wap and D'Angelo to count. Including guest appearances, Kendrick Lamar shows up four times, two of which are in the top five. Drake, Grimes, Jamie xx and Future all show up three times each. It includes a few singles off 2016 albums, like David Bowie's "Blackstar," ANOHNI's "4 Degrees" and Savages' "The Answer," one-off collaborations like WOKE (aka Flying Lotus, Thundercat and Shabazz Palaces), last-minute 2015 releases like Jeremih's "Oui," and surprise comeback singles like Missy Elliott's "WTF (Where They From)." If you were wondering, Adele's "Hello" is here (ranked very high), and yes, so is Justin Bieber. There's also some representation from less commercial stuff like the hardcore band G.L.O.S.S..

Check out the whole list below...

Continue reading "Pitchfork's Top 100 Songs of 2015"

Illustration by Ryan Casey
Rolling Stone

We already saw Rolling Stone's top 50 albums of 2015, and now they unveiled their top 50 songs too. It's got a lot of the songs you couldn't avoid this year even if you wanted to: "Hello," "Hotline Bling," "Trap Queen," plenty of The Weeknd, one appearance by Justin Bieber. There's also indie rock anthems like Titus Andronicus' "Dimed Out," "Kurt Vile's "Pretty Pimpin," Courtney Barnett's "Pedestrian at Best"and Tame Impala's "Let It Happen," a nod towards raw DIY with Sheer Mag's "Fan the Flames," and a lot more. Check the whole thing out below.

Continue reading "Rolling Stone's Top 50 Songs of 2015"

photos by Amanda Hatfield; words by Bill Pearis

Parquet Courts & Lee Ranaldo / Rainer Maria & Meredith Graves / Kurt Vile & Kim Gordon / Waxahatche & Mac McCaughan / Titus' Patrick Stickles
Ground Control Touring 15th Anniversary
Ground Control Touring 15th Anniversary
Ground Control Touring 15th Anniversary
Ground Control Touring 15th Anniversary
Ground Control Touring 15th Anniversary

None of the acts on any of Webster Hall's three stages last night (12/2) asked if anyone actually knows what Ground Control Touring is, but their name was on the marquee and many of them thanked them. I guess for those not in the biz it doesn't really matter when in one night you get to see Kurt Vile, Superchunk, Parquet Courts, Deer Tick, Rainer Maria, Screaming Females and more.The booking agency, who usually do their magic only behind the scenes, handles tours for many of indie rock's biggest names and was celebrating 15 years in business. The main ballroom was already packed when Hop Along kicked off the night and things stayed that way.

Very few of last night's acts played what you'd call a normal set, instead opting for fun collaborations and covers. Waxahatchee brought out Superchunk's Mac McCaughan and The Clean's Hamish Kilgour to cover The Clean's "Getting Older." Kurt Vile, with Violators guitarist Rob Laasko, played two songs before bringing out Kim Gordon, former Violater Steve Gunn (who'd just played a great solo set in the Marlin Room) and Woods' Jarvis Taveniere for a cover of Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray."

Kurt Vile would later turn up at Woods' set in the Marlin Room to cover Dylan's "Knockin' on Heaven's Door." Woods also had Parquet Courts' Andrew Savage out for two Neil Young covers" "Barstool Blues" and "Powderfinger." Parquet Courts' performance in the Marlin Room, meanwhile, basically had them as Lee Ranaldo's backing band, performing Sonic Youth's "Mote" and "Eric's Trip." (For those who already thought that Parquet Courts' Austin Brown looks like Thurston Moore, this underlined it.) That was the whole set. But cool. It was that kind of night.

Elsewhere at Webster Hall: Rainer Maria had Perfect Pussy's Meredith Graves onstage for "Tinfoil" ("Rainer Maria are my favorite band", Meredith said to the crowd); Titus Andronicus' Patrick Stickles played solo to a sardine-packed Studio; and Perfect Pussy finished off the night with a typical crazed energy, and Meredith Graves writhing on the floor. They played a new song. Superchunk, meanwhile, just did what they always do: knocked out the hits with an energy most bands half their age can't muster. Tonight's sold-out Superchunk show at Baby's should be a treat.

Deer Tick can sell out Webster Hall on their own, but were added last minute to a show full of big names after it was already sold out, so that surely contributed to them closing out the main room to a less than full crowd, but it was a special treat for their fans that were there, and John McCauley and his seasoned band still gave it their all. Catch them again twice this month at Brooklyn Bowl.

As the night progressed there was overlap, and with navigating Webster Hall's stairs (fine going up, slower going down) and set times which weren't always adhered to so closely, meant missing some acts. (Sorry Porches, Frankie Cosmos, Beach Fossils, Speedy Ortiz and Felice Brothers) But it was a fun, unique night even if don't know what the hell Ground Control Touring is. More pictures from the whole night (our photographers actually did catch everyone), plus some videos of those special collaborations/covers (with more on the way), below...

Continue reading "Kurt Vile, Superchunk, Deer Tick, Waxahatchee, Parquet Courts, Sonic Youth members & more celebrated & collaborated @ Ground Control 15 (pics, video)"

SPIN

Happy December! SPIN are celebrating the first day of the last month of the year by putting out their Top 50 Albums of 2015 list. It's a diverse list, with the top 10 ranging from DIY-indie (Alex G) to mainstream country (Kacey Musgraves) to leftfield major label rap (Vince Staples and Kendrick Lamar). The list also has metal from Deafheaven and Krallice, electronic from RP Boo, Rabit, Oneohtrix Point Never and SOPHIE, R&B veteran Janet Jackson, and plenty more. Check out the whole thing below.

They also put out their 101 Best Songs of 2015 list, which is topped by Justin Bieber.

Continue reading "SPIN's Top Albums and Songs of 2015"

photo: Deer Tick at Forest Hills Stadium in 2014 (more by PSquared)
Deer Tick

The Ground Control Touring 15th anniversary show at NYC's Webster Hall happens this Wednesday (12/2) with "short sets, collaborations, covers and surprises" from a very impressive lineup. That lineup now also includes Deer Tick, and other artists that were added since we last spoke are Screaming Females, Lee Ranaldo, Perfect Pussy and Woods.

Those additions join the initial lineup of Superchunk, Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee, Steve Gunn, Parquet Courts, The Felice Brothers, Rainer Maria, Torres, Titus Andronicus, Beach Fossils, Speedy Ortiz, Hop Along, Porches and Frankie Cosmos. (Conor Oberst dropped off.)

The show is totally sold out, but we're giving away tickets. Head below to enter our contest to win a pair. Also, if you're a Jukely member, they still have some tickets available too.

Also below is the flyer with set times...

Continue reading "Deer Tick added to GCT 15 show, set times revealed; Win tix to the sold out show (or get them on Jukely) "

Uncut

The new issue of UK music mag Uncut is out now, and it includes their Top 75 Albums of 2015 list. Like fellow UK mags MOJO and Q, they've got a lot of love for Julia Holter. They also have Sleaford Mods pretty high, lots of the 2015 year-end regulars in the top 10 (Kendrick, Sufjan, Father John Misty, Tame Impala, Courtney Barnett), and lots of older musicians throughout the list (Keith Richards, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Richard Thompson, Nick Cave, Killing Joke, PiL, Paul Weller, Robert Forster, etc). Check out the full list below.

Continue reading "Uncut's Top 75 Albums of 2015"

BrooklynVegan Spotify In ResidenceBrooklynVegan Spotify In Residence

We're happy to announce that BrooklynVegan is part of Spotify's "In Residence" series where we'll not only curate a monthly playlist, but premium users can hear us talk about it too. Head to Spotify HERE now and click "follow" to make sure you never miss an episode.

For our first show, BV editors Andrew Sacher, Bill Pearis and Dave sat down to talk about some of our favorite music of 2015 so far, and other digressions. We taped the show in late July, so keep that in mind if any of it sounds slightly dated. (A segment where Bill bets Dave a million dollars that Lush will never ever reform was cut.)

Anyone can listen, though you will need to be a Spotify Premium subscriber to hear our lovely speaking voices.

Other Spotify In Residence shows/hosts include former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones, dance act Jungle, and UK grime artist Big Narstie.

Stay tuned for a brand new BrooklynVegan episode in December. Meanwhile, listen to November's...

Continue reading "listen to BrooklynVegan's "Spotify In Residence" show"

photo: Superchunk at Riot Fest Chicago 2014 (more by James Richards IV)
Superchunk

Booking agency Ground Control Touring turns 15 this year, and they'll be celebrating that anniversary with a seriously stacked NYC show on December 2 at Webster Hall.

The show will take over all three rooms, and include Conor Oberst, Superchunk, Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee, Steve Gunn, Parquet Courts, The Felice Brothers, Rainer Maria, Torres, Titus Andronicus, Beach Fossils, Speedy Ortiz, Hop Along, Porches, Frankie Cosmos and more. Tickets go on sale Friday (10/23) at 10 AM with a presale starting Thursday (10/22) at 10 AM (password = GCT15).

You can catch Parquet Courts, Hop Along and Torres at other upcoming NYC shows too. Kurt Vile, Waxahatchee and Titus Andronicus just played.

Webster Hall show flyer below...

Continue reading "Conor Oberst, Superchunk, Kurt Vile, Titus Andronicus, Rainer Maria, Torres, Hop Along & more playing Ground Control 15"

Plus: a new Titus video and a WTF with Marc Maron episode ft. Patrick Stickles & Mikal Cronin

photos by Christina Domingues

Titus Andronicus / Ex Hex
Titus Andronicus
Ex Hex

Things remained at a fever pitch through the second half of "Four Score and Seven" and "A More Perfect Union." When the band left the stage after concluding with "Titus Andronicus" just before midnight, the crowd screamed for more until the lights came up and security started shooing us out.

I was covered in sweat and imagining the art project of bruises that would dapple my torso in the morning as I hobbled back toward The Gutter to see if my friends were still there. "Maybe I'm getting too old for this," I thought. "Maybe I should just stand in the back like the 45-year-old dad I am and save my body."

I don't think I can do it, though. It's two days later, and I'm still sore; but I can't trade the connection, the feeling of... ...euphoria... ...exhilaration... ...anger... ...frustration... ...SOMETHING... ...for the comfort that comes from standing in the back of the room and watching things unfold from afar. [Cool Dad Music]

Titus Andronicus celebrated their new 29-song rock opera The Most Lamentable Tragedy back in July with five Shea shows and on Friday (10/16) their tour brought them back to Brooklyn for a much bigger show at Warsaw with Mary Timony's band Ex Hex and Spider Bags. The show was sold out, and it doubled as the Merge Records CMJ showcase. As the Cool Dad Music review quoted above points out, Titus and their crowd were as wild as ever. Pictures are in this post.

Titus frontman Patrick Stickles and his Merge labelmate Mikal Cronin also both appear on the new episode of Marc Maron's WTF podcast. You can listen here. Titus also made a video for "No Future Part IV: No Future Triumphant" off the new record, which you can watch below.

More Warsaw pictures and Titus' setlist also below...

Continue reading "Titus Andronicus, Ex Hex & Spider Bags played Warsaw (pics and setlist)"

CMJ

The 2015 CMJ Music Marathon happens from October 13-17, and today the initial list of artists was revealed. A bunch of these are NYC shows we've posted about (browse our "CMJ" tag), but highlights include Car Seat Headrest, Cheatahs, Destruction Unit, Dent May, Dilly Dally, Doomsquad, Drinks, Eternal Summers, Evans the Death, Ex Hex, Expert Alterations, Ezra Furman, Frankie Cosmos, Hooton Tennis Club, Kamasi Washington, Kero Kero Bonito, Mercury Rev, Nai Harvest, Neon Indian, Panda Bear, Perfect Pussy, Protomartyr, S, Shannon and the Clams, Slim Twig, Stealing Sheep, The Album Leaf, The Dirty Nil, The Men, The Wonder Years, Titus Andronicus and Wildhoney. Check out the full list below.

Badges are on sale.

Continue reading "CMJ 2015 initial artist lineup"

by Andrew Sacher

The Wonder Years

"Pop punk" was once widely considered a dirty term in most indie rock circles, but over the past few years it's been sneaking into indie rock vernacular. We use it here on BV a lot. Pitchfork has used it when talking about anyone from Cloud Nothings to Upset to Joyce Manor. Stereogum has used it for The Sidekicks, Chumped, and Cayetana. NPR for Wavves, Title Fight and Waxahatchee. The list goes on.

It's easy to see what made "pop punk" such a turnoff as it became progressively more mainstream in the '90s and early '00s. "Punk" is a genre with a code of ethics that punk fans feel should be kept sacred, and "pop" is basically the antithesis of those ethics. So "pop punk" is theoretically the worst thing that could ever happen to punk. Indie rock fans adhere to similar ethics, so when "What's My Age Again?" hit TRL, it's no surprise that Sebadoh fans weren't gluing their eyes to their TVs.

But for a younger generation, some combination of Green Day, The Offspring, Rancid, blink-182 and New Found Glory (or all of the above) was a foundational listening experience, and an entry point into alternative music. Those bands may have made punk more mainstream, but they were also gateways to older and more universally canonized artists. blink-182 directly led to Descendents, Dinosaur Jr and Drive Like Jehu; Green Day to Husker Du; Rancid to Roger Miret and Sham 69; New Found Glory to Lifetime and Gorilla Biscuits; and so on. The people who grew up on those bands are becoming today's indie rock musicians, fans, and critics, so it makes sense that the sounds of pop punk are making their way into indie rock. Not to mention Best Coast, who started as a lo-fi band on Mexican Summer, went on to cover blink-182, collaborate with New Found Glory, and tour with Green Day.

photo: Best Coast opening for Green Day in 2013 (more by Dana Distortion)
Green Day

Right now, the amount of bands blurring the lines between indie rock and pop punk is pretty astounding. We saw pop punk's influence sneak into indie rock on a handful of our favorite records of last year, and this year we have great records from Colleen Green, Bully, Superheaven, Turnover, All Dogs, Radioactivity, Royal Headache, Titus Andronicus, Worriers, Hop Along and Adventures that all fit the description.

Even with this huge influx of indie rock bands taking influence from pop punk, it's not hard to see why there's still resistance against the "pop punk" tag. The kind of over-produced pop punk that critics cringed at in the early 2000s is still very popular. All Time Low's new album debuted at #2 on Billboard this year and there's nothing "punk" about this. 5 Seconds of Summer may be the biggest band in the world right now that anyone is calling "pop punk," but they also share management with One Direction, have toured with them, and are closer in sound to 1D than to any band who ever signed a contract with Fat Wreck Chords. If 5SOS can be called pop punk, or apparently anyone who plays Warped Tour -- like Front Porch Step, who in addition to his questionable actions, makes cringe-worthy music that has nothing to do with pop punk -- it's understandable why some people want to avoid the term.

There's also a group of bands who frequently play Warped Tour and not only warrant being called pop punk, but pride themselves on it: bands like Man Overboard, The Story So Far, Four Year Strong, Neck Deep and State Champs. Their approach is basically to take the moment pop punk took over the world and recreate it. (The Drive-Thru Records catalog is a big influence here.) They're not shy about their style -- Man Overboard make shirts that say "Defend Pop Punk" and Neck Deep make ones that say "Generic Pop Punk." They don't seem to be after hugely mainstream success and tend to build their fanbases like punk bands do, but to our ears they're usually unoriginal at best and still kinda cheesy at worst.

If you have any place in your heart for early 2000s-era mainstream pop punk though (and if you've read this far, you probably do), there's one band I think is doing a hell of a lot of justice to it: The Wonder Years. Unlike the bands bringing pop punk's influence into indie rock, The Wonder Years are making the kind of pop punk that is in fact pop music, but they also happen to make really fucking good pop music. It's becoming more prevalent for critics and "serious music fans" to discuss great pop music, and this is a good thing because great music can truly come from anywhere. The recent Beyonce and Justin Timberlake albums were steps forward for music in general, whether or not you normally listen to the radio. A lot of fans and critics noted that, but for whatever reason there's still a stigma when it comes to pop punk. You're more likely to see certain critics champion Fifth Harmony, a new teen-pop group formed by Simon Cowell on The X Factor, than even mention the latest Bad Religion or Rancid albums. It's a stigma that hopefully disappears, because The Wonder Years don't deserve to be ignored by any serious music fan.

photo: The Wonder Years at House of Vans in 2011 (more by Andrew St. Clair)
The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years started out as more of a generic pop punk band, and while in hindsight I respect the people who knew they were great from day one (or at least since their 2010 breakthrough The Upsides), they didn't really catch my ear until 2011's Suburbia I've Given You All and Now I'm Nothing. And it didn't really click until 2013's The Greatest Generation, which might be the greatest true-blue radio-ready pop punk record since Enema of the State. It probably owes more to New Found Glory and The Starting Line than it does to blink-182, but even if those bands have proved to be more influential, they never had this level of songwriting or maturity. Even on New Found Glory's "mature" album, they couldn't escape writing songs about girls who "smell like angels ought to smell." The Greatest Generation grapples with hitting your mid-to-late '20s, seeing your friends and cousins getting married and transitioning into adulthood, and thinking "did I fuck up?" When they do sound like they're singing about high school crushes ("I hadn't felt a heartbreak until now") you quickly realize they're singing about the death of a friend.

It's close to an absolute perfection of its form, and it's hard to say just yet if they've topped it, though they've undoubtedly made another artistic leap on the new No Closer to Heaven. It's the band's most overwhelmingly emotional album yet, and the most musically diverse too. In 45 minutes it touches on double-time pop punk, slower atmospheric songs, heavy rock riffs, and an acoustic song to close things out. It's the kind of record that might piss off some old fans and cause them to say The Wonder Years "aren't pop punk anymore," but it might win over a bunch of new fans in the process. It's pop punk's Sunbather. The thing is though, unlike say Title Fight's trek into atmospheric rock, this is a pop punk album. It pushes the boundaries of the genre about as far as they can go without losing the type of thrill you specifically get from this style of music. Really it shouldn't piss off old fans because it manages to retain the sound they've always had while clearly pushing it forward.

It makes me think a lot of Brand New's The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me. It doesn't sound like Devil and God, but that was the moment Brand New made a devastating, cathartic album that defied its genre without abandoning it, and that's what TWY do here. They're also similar to Brand New in that each record is a shift from the last, and that people (rightfully) worship these guys. To compare it to an album it does sound like, it's actually a little like The Hotelier's last one, and that may be the most acclaimed album the entire emo revival has given us. But it feels a little unfair to compare those two, because The Hotelier are a young (yet fully-formed) band and No Closer to Heaven is clearly the work of seasoned songwriters.

The Wonder Years are more dynamically diverse here than ever. They know just when to switch from a chorus turned up to 11 to a bridge of clean guitar arpeggios and back again. They know which lyric needs a three-part harmony, which needs frontman Dan "Soupy" Campbell to sing gently and which needs him at the top of his lungs. At least half the songs completely avoid the standard verse-chorus-verse. Recurring lyrics and themes throughout an album aren't new ground for The Wonder Years, but No Closer to Heaven might be the closest they've come to a true concept album. Death, if it wasn't obvious, is that concept here. The lyric we hear over and over is "We're no saviors if we can't save our brothers," and that's only one of the instantly-quotable lines packed into this thing. There's a harsh reality to Soupy's lyrics this time around, and when he brings his voice to a shout it feels more like a reflex than an artistic decision.

Like the last record, his melodies are familiar without being predictable. Thanks in part to the fact that almost every member can sing, they've mastered the kind of multi-part harmonies and overlapping vocals that most of their peers aren't even attempting. (My only complaint about the new album is the guest vocals from the singer of letlive. who come too close to a maligned genre I won't defend, nu-metal.) The production is once again shining with gloss, but nothing sounds artificial -- unlike many of their peers, the band and longtime producer Steve Evetts (who has helmed other pop punk classics like Jersey's Best Dancers and Through Being Cool) have long discussed avoiding auto-tune and sample replacing. The interplay between the band's three guitarists also make this far more detailed than punk's "learn three power chords, form a band" mentality. But The Wonder Years do stay true to the latter half of the phrase "pop punk," and if you've seen them live you know this. They typically fill big rooms these days, but they still play like they came out swinging from a South Philly basement. They might not win over a snobby punk purist, but for the genre-hopping listener who finds emotional depth and musical ambition in both the new Drake and the new Sufjan Stevens, you may find it in the new Wonder Years too.

photo: You Blew It! at Riis Park Beach Bazaar - August, 2015 (more by Mimi Hong)
You Blew It

No Closer to Heaven is out today via Hopeless (order yours) and you can stream the whole thing via Rdio, below.

They'll be on tour this year with another unique pop punk band, Motion City Soundtrack, emo revival darlings You Blew It!, and State Champs. That tour hits NYC for two Webster Hall shows in October, but first TWY play an acoustic in-store at Rough Trade on Wednesday (9/9).

Continue reading "Pop punk's complicated relationship with indie rock, and the great new Wonder Years album (which is streaming)"

by Andrew Sacher

Titus at Shea (photo via doNYC)
Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus may continue to increase in popularity and ambition, but the spirit of their band seems to actually get closer to their punk/DIY roots. Their newest album is the hour-and-a-half, 29-song song rock opera The Most Lamentable Tragedy, but it's got the rawest production since their debut and some of these songs could've been on late '80s Epitaph or Lookout! releases without anyone raising an eyebrow. So it makes sense that they'd celebrate the album at a Brooklyn DIY venue that normally hosts bands who play places like that out of necessity. Of course it makes even more sense that the venue in question would be Shea Stadium, which current Titus guitarist Adam Reich is a co-founder of and where several Titus members (including Patrick Stickles) work. And it makes even more sense that they'd do it over the course of five nights, all of which sold out well in advance.

They fancied the place up a bit for these shows too. They put up a screen next to the stage that projected the band's performance, the stage was covered by a curtain that dropped right before their set, and the backdrop of the stage was painted with Titus's "+@" logo. (If only they could've also installed air conditioning.) Those embellishments aside though, Shea was basically the same place it is any other night, and it was clear that that's the kind of place Titus are meant to play. It was the best I've seen them in a while.

They opened with "Fear And Loathing In Mahwah, NJ" and went right into "A More Perfect Union," and as you'd probably expect, the whole place was a massive blob of people bopping around and going nuts. There was no opener and Titus played for maybe two hours, hitting tons of favorites from all over the discography. We got "No Future Part Three," "A Pot In Which To Piss," "Still Life With Hot Deuce On Silver Platter," "Dimed Out," "Fatal Flaw," and plenty more. I don't remember the exact setlist, but I also don't remembering feeling like there was anything I was dying to hear that they didn't play. When they played "Joset of Nazareth's Blues" off the first album, they brought out Ian Dykstra, who drummed on that album and who Patrick called "the second original drummer of Titus Andronicus." The band seemed like they were having a great time, and they had fun with it too. They worked little jokes into the set (musically and during stage banter -- it seemed like they may have taken a jab or two at the Pitchfork review of their new album that they were tweeting about yesterday). And Patrick turned 30 at midnight, which he made reference to throughout the night.

"It was fun being dimed out in my 20s, but now I'm in my 30s and it's time to... take it easy," he said to introduce a cover of The Eagles' "Take It Easy," the first of three covers to end the night. After that came John Mellencamp's "Hurts So Good," and like they did at Warsaw last year, they wrapped up with Semisonic's "Closing Time."

The run of Shea shows concludes tonight (7/28), and Titus play NYC again at the larger Warsaw on October 16 with their Merge labelmates Ex Hex and Spider Bags. Tickets are still available.

Check out a short video of "Still Life with Hot Deuce on Silver Platter" from the first night of the run, below...

Continue reading "Titus Andronicus @ Shea Stadium (night 4 review)"

by Andrew Sacher

Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus' 29-song, hour-and-a-half-plus punk rock opera The Most Lamentable Tragedy comes out 7/28 via new label home Merge, and now the whole massive thing is here to stream. As you've probably guessed, there's a lot to take in here. Sometimes it's just a great punk song like lead single "Dimed Out." Other times it's colossal over-nine-minute prog rock adventures like "More Perfect Union" or "(S)HE SAID / (S)HE SAID" which sound like a garage rock band taking on Jethro Tull's Aqualung, or The Decemberists' The Hazards of Love.

The latter of those songs is introduced by an a cappella rendition of the traditional Catholic hymn, "Glory to God in the highest." "Forever" has Patrick playing off The Beach Boys' Dennis Wilson-penned "Forever" (and presumably intentionally singing off-key). What I'm pretty sure are bagpipes on "More Perfect Union" could be right off a Pogues album, and later in the album they literally cover that band's "A Pair of Brown Eyes." "I'm Going Insane ( Finish Him )" reprises Local Business' "Titus Andronicus vs. The Absurd Universe (3rd Round KO)." Interludes and intermissions are sprinkled throughout the album, and it starts and ends with almost the same thing. Again, it's a lot to take in. You can now do so below, via NPR.

TItus' tour hits NYC from July 24-28 at Shea Stadium (all sold out) and then again on October 16 at Warsaw with Ex Hex and Spider Bags (tickets).

Album stream below...

Continue reading "Titus Andronicus streaming their massive 29-song rock opera 'The Most Lamentable Tragedy' (listen)"

photo: Titus Andronicus at BV-CMJ 2014 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Titus

Titus Andronicus already released "Dimed Out" and "Fatal Flaw" from their upcoming 29-song rock opera The Most Lamentable Tragedy (due 7/28 via Merge), and today they reeased a short film featuring six more of the album's songs (tracks 7-12). The film's called "The Magic Morning" and is described via press release like this:

"The Magic Morning" was written and directed by +@uteur Patrick Stickles in a display of artistic hubris that no buzz band today could begin to attempt. Side by side with Stickles in the Welles / Toland tradition stands Director of Photography / Editor Ray Concepcion, who brought the hyperkinetic (yet somehow supremely patient) style that made him a legendary fixture on the late '00s NYC DIY scene, his epic portrait of which stands as a powerful testament to that now-bygone era.

WATCH "Our Hero" awake to a world of wonder! GASP at the shocking secret of "The Lookalike!" MARVEL at the mysterious transformative powers of the Vernal Equinox! DANCE to those which are already being called "+@'s Greatest Hits Yet!" UNDERSTAND the underlying themes and motifs that elevate TMLT far beyond the petty constraints of a mere "rock album" and into the realm of that which the German philosopher K. F. E. Trahndorff first called, in 1827, Gesamtkunstwerk ("total art"--look it up)!!!

"People have been putting +@ in a box for too long," Stickles says, having taken a little time out and feeling a lot better. "We can do anything we decide to be our will, and I am proud to say this little movie was done entirely 'in-house,' in one day. Doubt and deny +@ at yr own peril." Then he falls asleep.

He's not done explaining himself, though! Today, the complete lyrics to TMLT, transcribed by The Artist's own keystrokes, are available for you to read on Genius, along with annotations from the master himself i/r/t the "officially released" TMLT tracks up to this point. Go ahead--name a buzz band who would drop their lyrics before the album, thereby putting the words to their ultimate challenge: standing alone. Still trying? Stop trying. Simply watch the site between now and July 28 for the complete anno+@tions and finally understand #TheTruthAboutTMLT.

"I just want to be understood," Stickles wrote on a note he'd given us in the event that he disappeared or became otherwise indisposed. "I know people are listening to TMLT somehow--I just know it--I want to share it with them, but I want them to understand it--help me--tell my story--" and then the bottom of the page is burned off.

Watch the video below. Titus' tour includes sold-out NYC shows at Shea Stadium from July 24-28 and a larger NYC show with Ex Hex and Spider Bags on October 16 at Warsaw. Tickets for that one are still available.

Continue reading "watch Titus Andronicus' new short film featuring six more songs from 'The Most Lamentable Tragedy'"

photo: Titus Andronicus at Warsaw in 2014 (more by Mimi Hong)
Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus' five intimate Brooklyn shows on their upcoming tour are all sold out, and the band have already added another one happening here. This one's at a much bigger venue, and it's a cool double bill with Mary Timony's glammy power pop trio Ex Hex. It happens October 16 at Warsaw, and Spider Bags open. Tickets go on sale Friday (6/26) at noon. That's during CMJ week, but no word on whether or not its an official show for it.

Titus have a 29-song album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, coming 7/28 via Merge, and they also put out a mixtape with outtakes, demos, and rehearsal records from the album. Listen to that mixtape, with two tracks from the new album and the list of tour dates, below...

Continue reading "Titus Andronicus add NYC show with Ex Hex to tour (dates)"

DOWNLOAD: Titus Andronicus - Sorry for the Delay mixtape (zip)

Titus Andronicus - Sorry About the Delay

Titus Andronicus' new album, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, is out next month (7/28) and while you wait, the band have shared a mixtape titled Sorry for the Delay. It's got outtakes, demos, as well as rehearsal records of many of the songs off the album. You can download for free above and it's streaming below.

Titus have five small shows at Brooklyn's Shea Stadium coming up next month, all of which are sold out.

Continue reading "Titus Andronicus share demos, outtakes and rehearsal recordings on free 'Sorry for the Delay' mixtape (listen)"

photo: Titus Andronicus at BV-CMJ 2014 (more by Amanda Hatfield)
Titus

Titus Andronicus already released one of the 29 songs on their upcoming album The Most Lamentable Tragedy (due 7/28 via new label home Merge), and today they put out a second. It's called "Fatal Flaw," and you may be familiar with it if you've seen them recently. Watch the video below.

Titus have five small shows at Brooklyn's Shea Stadium from July 24-28 coming up, all of which are sold out. And now they've announced a lengthy tour to follow that with support from Spider Bags and Baked. No other NYC shows besides the ones at Shea have been added yet though.

All dates are listed, with the new video, below...

Continue reading "Titus Andronicus share "Fatal Flaw" video, announce dates"

by Andrew Sacher

Titus

Titus Andronicus have been saying for a while now that they're working a 30-song rock opera, and it looks like we may be one step closer to that. They posted an Instagram announcing that they signed to Merge (their last two albums were on XL), and released a new single called "Dimed Out" on Rdio and Spotify. It has Titus injecting some '77 punk vibes and Who-worthy keyboards into their sound, and as you'd expect from them, it's a total anthem. The song comes with the artwork above. Listen below.

UPDATE: As the artwork above hinted, The Most Lamentable Tragedy is the name of the band's new album. It will be out July 28 via Merge. The band also made a lyric video for "Dimed Out" which you can watch below.

Titus also announced five album releases shows to happen at Brooklyn DIY spot Shea Stadium from July 24-28. Tickets are on sale.

Continue reading "Titus Andronicus announce new album on Merge, share new song, playing five Shea Stadium shows (tix on sale)"

photo: Delicate Steve @ Baby's All Right in 2014 (more by David Andrako)
Delicate Steve

Waking Windows Music & Arts Festival happens this weekend (May 1-3) in Winooski, VT, featuring over 100 music acts and comedians at 11 different venues in the city's downtown area. Artists include King Tuff, Titus Andronicus, Delicate Steve, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Tops, J Fernandez, Javelin, O'death, William Tyler and more. Think of it as New England's Northside Fest (or SXSW, MusicFestNW, etc). Tickets and passes are on sale. Full lineup is listed below.

Delicate Steve, who played Brooklyn Bowl last week, will be performing at Soho's Moscot Gallery on May 7 as part of their "Live from the Shop" series. It's a free show with complimentary beer/wine for those 21+ but you do need to RSVP.

Continue reading "Delicate Steve playing VT's Waking Windows fest with Titus, King Tuff & more ++ also playing free Moscot show in NYC"

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