Titus Andronicus Are Not the Taliban: Sorting Out the Long, Twisted History of the Band

Kyle Dean Reinford
Titus Andronicus

Titus Andronicus draw more from hip-hop culture more than you think. Songwriter, bandleader and Wu-Tang Clan fan Patrick Stickles' lyrics are deeply post-modern and full of hypertext links to everything from The Velvet Underground to Albert Camus to Curb Your Enthusiasm. And like any hustler with a sense of business acumen, they now know the value of a promotional mix tape.

See Also:
- The Power of Negative Thinking: For Titus Andronicus's Patrick Stickles, everything is meaning less
- Amy Klein's Post-Titus Andronicus Career Begins with Leda

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Orion Festival In Photos: The Bands, The Scene, And The "Potato Tornado"

Maura Johnston
This mural was painted over the course of the weekend on the outside of the Metallica Museum.
I spent the past two days at Atlantic City's Bader Field, which played host to the inaugural Orion Music + More Festival, a two-day "music, arts and lifestyle" bonanza put together by the thrash kings in Metallica. It was pretty great all around—James Hetfield kept referring to the bash as a "backyard party," and while things weren't that intimate, the way that the band left its stamp on all aspects of the festival (particularly the big-tent aspect of the musical lineup) gave it a charge of intimacy and care that was much more present than at other multi-band, multi-day extravaganzas I've attended in recent years. A detailed report will come later, but for now, please enjoy these pictures of various scenes from the past two days.

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Live: Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, And The So So Glos Occupy Shea Stadium

Ted Leo.
Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, So So Glos
Shea Stadium
Monday, November 21

Better than: Getting into another political argument on Tumblr.

In honor of last night's benefit for the National Lawyers Guild at Shea Stadium, the letters "OWS," for "Occupy Wall Street," were haphazardly applied to the wall behind the stage in black tape, the "O" specifically incomplete. The PA played radical punk, metal and hip-hop that was socially recognizable—communal, even. When Rage Against the Machine's "Bombtrack" trickled out of the speakers, a horizon line of mutual unconscious headbanging sprang up.

Titus Andronicus frontman Patrick Stickles looked gaunt and crazed as he walked across the stage, courting the unselfconscious space between complete wild engagement and weird sensitive coiling. He encouraged the crowd to go wild but within responsible terms, quoting Bob Dylan's "Absolutely Sweet Marie": "To live outside the law/ You must be honest."

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Four Potential Special Guests For Taylor Swift's Two New York Shows

As you might have heard, Taylor Swift has been crossing the country touring behind 2010's Speak Now and performing a new cover song, often with a surprise guest, at each city along the way, leaving in a trail of camera phone YouTube videos and exclamation point-filled tweets in her wake. In Atlanta she played "Yeah" with Usher and "Live Your Life" with T.I.; in Nashville she played "That's What You Get" with Hayley Williams and "Just to See You Smile" with Tim McGraw; and when we saw her at Newark's Prudential Arena back in July she played a solo cover of Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer." Tonight and tomorrow, Swift concludes the tour with two shows at a sold-out Madison Square Garden; if we're lucky, two of the following four possible guests will join her on stage.

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Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, And The So So Glos Are Playing An Occupy Wall Street Benefit At Shea Stadium Tonight

Benjamin Lozovsky
Newly minted social-media strategist (and Titus Andronicus frontman) Patrick Stickles.
If you aren't doing anything this evening, perhaps you'd like to catch this hot bill that's playing tonight at Shea Stadium: Ted Leo, Titus Andronicus, and the So So Glos. The show, which was announced last night, will benefit the National Lawyer's Guild, who's working with people in need of legal assistance because of their involvement with the Occupy Wall Street movement. Tickets are $15 a pop and go on sale at noon today at Main Drag Music's Bushwick Supply Store, located at 268 Meserole Street. Sales will be capped at 200 and tickets won't be sold at the door, so if you're interested in attending maybe you should, you know, go out there to get on line now. Titus Andronicus singer Patrick Stickles wrote a long blog post about the event, and it includes this reasoning behind having the show at the low-capacity Shea Stadium as opposed to, say, the Music Hall of Williamsburg or another large space:

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Live: Fucked Up Bring David To Life At (Le) Poisson Rouge

Fucked Up Presents David Comes to Life
(le) poisson rouge
Monday, November 14

Better than: That start-to-finish performance of Pocket Full of Kryptonite at Brooklyn Bowl last month.

It took all of about 40 minutes—or, considering the context, until the end of Side B—for Damian "Pink Eyes" Abraham to barrel off the stage at (le) poisson rouge Monday night, weave through the tightly-packed, dangerously surging crowd, climb, sweaty and bare-chested, on top of the bar and proceed to tell a complicated joke about Madonna. The event, a start-to-finish performance of Fucked Up's searing 80-minute rock opera David Comes to Life, had started ambitiously: the first four musicians to take the stage were wearing suits and carrying violins, and the venue's typical rock show configuration had been abandoned in favor of a more intimate theater in the round. But the instant the melancholy overture ended, it was business as usual, with Abraham stripping off his shirt, high-fiving audience members and ricocheting across the stage like some kind of burly Tasmanian Devil. Surely, this is also how things go at the Met?

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Amy Klein Bids Farewell To Titus Andronicus

Ben Lozovsky
"I just got back from my last tour with the band Titus Andronicus," writes Amy Klein in her gratitude-filled blog post announcing her departure from the band. The post goes on to say that no, there was no big fight or drama-filled rock and roll story that fueled her split; she's just decided to focus on her other musical projects. (She spoke about those endeavors with SOTC's Martika Finch last month.) Best wishes to Amy, who's become an inspiration for many aspiring musicians and thinkers out there with her music and her writing and her tireless activism.

CMJ Day One: Titus Andronicus Outlast The Buzz Cycle At Glasslands

Ben Lozovsky
Titus Andronicus
Glasslands Gallery
Wednesday, October 18

Better than: Reading a good book and being in bed by 10.

As you're surely by now aware, this year's CMJ Music Marathon has some thousand-plus bands, not from all over the country but all over the world—everyone from the Hendrix of sludge rock (J Mascis, duh) to small, wheelchaired rapper from Denver who you'll surely be hearing more about. Yesterday, we trimmed the fat and picked 21 of the acts we were most excited to potentially see, a list featuring mostly the young and the able-bodied, but a diverse group none the less. So with which band did I choose to begin my week of more shows than sleep and filing copy as the sun comes up? Titus Andronicus, of course.

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Seven Sets You Should See During CMJ Week: Main Attrakionz, EMA, Dierks Bentley, And More

Thumbnail image for main attrakionz.jpg
Main Attrakionz.

Sound of the City's staff has opinions about which bands to see at the CMJ festival, happening around the city this week. Here, Nick Murray offers his seven picks—well, six festival-affiliated artists and one dude who just happens to have a couple of NY-area shows this week. (Check out Maura Johnston's and Martika Finch's selections. too.)

This Providence-born producer hammers out beats that will make your feet move with a virtuosity that will make your jaw drop. After turning hip-hop heads' heads with his work on Cam'ron's Crime Pays and Dipset reunion single "Salute," AraabMUZIK has come into his own on this year's trance-influenced solo album Electronic Dream.
Where to catch him: Try the Saturday Blowout at Santos Party House, where he joins Main Attrakionz, Action Bronson, Elks, Trash Talk, and Kylesa in one of the week's most promising showcases.

Titus Andronicus
If you haven't discovered the bar punk, Eric Foner-with-power-chords bliss of The Monitor—the latest from New Jersey-and-proud quintet Titus Andronicus—by now, you should probably proceed directly to Glasslands tonight. If you're familiar with the record, go anyway; these days, the group rarely plays venues as intimate as this one.
Where to catch them: The band's only show this week happens tonight at 9 at Glasslands.

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Q&A: Amy Klein On The Blue Star Band, Talking Back On Tumblr, And Patti Smith's Message To The Kids

The last time we checked in with Amy Klein, the Titus Andronicus guitarist/violinist told us about the genesis of the Brooklyn-based activist group Permanent Wave, which has since put on protests, panel discussions, and concerts. Between organizing benefit concerts and playing with both Titus and her other side project Hilly Eye, Klein found the time to release a solo album, I Know What You Want, in March. Tonight, she plays at the Knitting Factory with Vivian Girls and Widowspeak; Klein filled us in on her recently assembled Blue Star Band, the protests her organization helped put on, and reading Patti Smith's Just Kids.

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