Yesterday I was sat in Rittenhouse Square, the only place in Philadelphia I can get to without getting lost, talking to my friend James about all kinds of things. We talked a lot about Being Online and our newsletters and stuff. It was supposed to encompass a sort of interview for a zine I’m making but mostly we just talked for three and a half hours about ourselves. So it goes.
Anyway, part of what we talked about was all the 30 year old men who follow me on twitter and I said something to the effect of, “why do they follow me?! leave me alone!”
But the answer is, of course, I write newsletters about things like Titus Andronicus and tweet about The Hold Steady everyday. James’ answer of “you’re a non-man writing about music” is probably also a factor but I’ll admit to making my bed so now I must lie in it. Dan Ozzi, if you read this, please honor my request and write something mean on the back of the paid newsletter subscriber postcard you’re sending to me.
Titus Andronicus is another band that makes me think of being in my boyfriend’s old car, a blue Toyota Corolla that had no air conditioning and a Polyvinyl sticker on the back. Maybe. I think I remember a Polyvinyl sticker or maybe I’m just projecting because I spent hours in that car driving back and forth from Polyvinyl’s hometown of Champaign to Chicago one summer.
Gabe loves The Monitor. I’ve never heard a song over 6 minutes I thought was worth it so I’ve spent several years telling him to turn it off. I’m settled to find out Patrick Stickles doesn’t like that record as much as fans do. Today I’m listening to their first record, The Airing of Grievances, after being recommended it by a few people. It’s been described to me as more scrappy and that’s true. I do like it more than I’ve ever liked any songs on The Monitor.
The Airing of Grievances is like what would happen if LIFTED by Bright Eyes was put through a New Jersey distortion pedal. Maybe that’s what he meant when he called a bunch of songs transparent rip-offs in that Dan Ozzi rank your records thing I linked earlier. Probably not, but it is how I feel. In trying to figure out what songs are actually on the non-bonus track album, I found out this album got best new music from Pitchfork in 2008. I guess that makes sense. I don’t know.
Let’s dig into this record track by track.
Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, NJ is a song that made me think, “oh no this whole newsletter can’t just be about how I want all these songs to end” but I just can’t help but feel like this song could be a little bit shorter and I’d like it so much more. Sorry. This is my newsletter and I’ll say every song should be shorter if that’s how I feel. I think there is something to be said for a band that lets you know who they are right away. Patrick Stickles doing a Shakespeare reading in this first track really lets you know. For what it’s worth, I think No Future, Pt. 2 is just the better version of Fear and Loathing in terms of the repeaty rock with a reading from something that, if I didn’t feel endeared to Patrick Stickles because of how he talks about his records, I might call silly and pretentious. I actually really like the end of the record. I like how No Future, Pt 2 goes into Albert Camus especially.
My notes on the earlier songs of the record read as such:
“my time outside the womb - distorted americana in the way only new jersey can achieve
joset of nazareth - this song sounds like that one bright eyes song. method acting? ya know if everything was distorted and buried and there wasn’t an acoustic guitar.
arms against atrophy - i like this one ok yeah i get it this is cool”
Which is kind of the map of where my brain went while listening to this album.
Upon Viewing Brueghel’s “Landscape with the Fall of Icarus” is a song with a little star by it on Apple Music. I think it has a cool guitar solo and I can easily see the appeal of the lyrics. I like this one the way I like The Menzingers but I still think he sounds like Conor Oberst. Or maybe they’re both just warbly men?
Titus Andronicus (the song) is very funny. It’s very funny to have a self titled song to me. That’s a very first album thing to do like you’re so pleased with naming yourself this thing that you keep using it for titles. That’s pure. This song has harmonica prominently featured which is usually a deal breaker for me but I like this song plenty. No more cigarettes no more having sex hell yeah.
I like the last four songs on this album a lot. No Future is probably my favorite song on the album despite my general distaste for songs that long. I like its slow burn and I think the vocal burying effect is served best within it. I like that he’s not so warbly in it, too. But I have one very important complaint.
No Future feels like the end of the record when it really is not! There’s good songs after it! Great songs, even! But No Future sounds like the end and I think that’s not fair. No Future, Pt. 2 is very good but within the context of the album is weird because No Future should be the album closer. Albert Camus is a GREAT SONG but No Future sounds like the end.
I hate that.
I’ll give it a solid 7.2 but it is the only new music I’ve listened to this week so I guess I will also give it best new (to me) music. I’m not sure I get it but I do like it and sometimes that’s enough. I will not be delving into Patrick Stickles favorite of their albums, The Most Lamentable Tragedy, or everyone else’s favorite Titus Andronicus album because I simply value my time too much.
I need to insert a photo to make the thumbnail of this post on twitter so here’s a photo I took of myself the year I first heard a Titus Andronicus song:
To balance out my discussion of east coast dude music, I’m gonna talk about Oux (pronounced “Awe” to my French speaking surprise) because I’m excited by that band and excited their EP, Honeymood, got a tape release recently through Chillwavve records!
Late last year they released Honeymood, an EP full of synth pop brilliance. I’ve had Beekeeper Pt. 2 stuck in my head since I first listened to the EP a few months ago.
That lush warmth of the instrumentation is matched beautifully by dense lyricism and the stunning vocals of Indigo Finamore. As a person whose favorite songs crux on clinging to individual lines, reading through Oux’s lyrics on their (very beautiful) website really cemented my affinity for them.
Lines like “i pray to saint nothing cause there's nothing left of me” and “spend the night on your daybed tongue tied honey say less” or the whole of the dreamy Queer Like Me. I find myself thinking about not only what Oux sounds like but the way it feels to be enveloped by sound.
Oux is stunning. I hope you’ll listen to their music and pick up the remastered Honeymood cassette as I will once I can remember my paypal password. They released an equally beautiful song called Rise in March that deserves your attention as well.
Miranda Reinert is a zine maker and law student newly based in Philadelphia. She is looking for friends. Follow me on Twitter for more on music and other things like polling the emo community on where good pizza in Philly is: @mirandareinert. Thanks for reading!
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