Titus Andronicus Announce New LP “An Obelisk,” Blame Society
The heartland punk outfit teases their sixth album with a very enthusiastic video for lead single “(I Blame) Society.”
When XL Recordings picked up the indie-released debut album from a band named Titus Andronicus (after Shakespeare’s most violent play) called The Airing of Grievances (per a fictional ritual from an episode of Seinfeld) ten years ago, it was already pretty clear that the New Jersey punks were pretty cultured. Since then, of course, they’ve given us revisionist histories of the Civil War and Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” Patrick Stickles’ punked-up rasp balancing a slacker mentality with an appetite for dense ideologies throughout each release.
In the aftermath of 2018’s extremely heartland, extremely Big-Apple A Productive Cough, Titus is returning with the companioning Bob Mould–produced An Obelisk, a relatively brief ten tracks whose streamlined four-piece punk counteract the nearly literal bells and whistles of its predecessor. Today they’re sharing the angstiest cut from the record in both sound and subject matter: “(I Blame) Society” takes the listener back to the band’s early full-bodied sound stripped of harmonicas, fiddles, and uh, Cassie Ramone excerpting a Jefferson Davis speech.
“The ideology of ‘punk’ supports the elevation of our own interior authority and the degradation of exterior authority, which we recognize to be arbitrary, a tool by which the many are subjugated under the few,” says Stickles, allegedly unprompted, in the record’s press release. “While the common ‘punk rocker’ will take this as license to piss on the street and generally pursue a lifestyle of nihilistic hedonism, the true ‘punk’ will recognize the price of this freedom. In a universe which is devoid of higher meaning, it is our responsibility to impose our own meaning upon it and to afford others the space to do the same. Thusly, the true ‘punk’ must be constantly assessing and reassessing their own values and belief systems, lest they fall into the trap of merely pulling their identity off of the rack, in the manner of the snobs and meatheads they claim to oppose.”
An Obelisk is out June 21 on Merge. Stickles’ full statement on the ideology of punk coming soon.