Titus Andronicus – LLC Mixtape vol. 1 (2012)
verdict: 4 out of 5 tragedies
While Titus Andronicus have been music-blog darlings ever since their raucous debut in 2008, their last release—a sprawling civil-war themed concept album called The Monitor—was one of the most unlikely success stories of 2010. Now, Titus fans have another great reason to be excited. No, it’s not another album; it’s a mixtape. Yeah, not what I was expecting either. But Titus Andronicus is anything but predictable, and their latest foray into the world of alternative distribution is no exception. Brimming with live covers of everything from the Velvet Underground to Weezer, there’s enough rock in this record to blow out your car speakers three times over. All the hits from Titus’ first two albums are here as well, making this an excellent starter-album for new fans. And that’s just the first volume! I don’t know when the band plans to release the second, but it better be soon.
The centerpiece of LLC is a new single from their upcoming album—which, if “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus” is anything to go by, is going to be awesome. Their covers of “I Fought the Law” and “The Boys Are Back in Town” are also pretty good, although they (like many of Titus’ live recordings) suffer from feedback and low fidelity. If this were any other band, I would be disappointed by the audio quality, but what else can you expect from a punk group named after Shakespeare’s bloodiest, most unpolished play? Titus is all about being rough and rowdy. This Jersey Band famously couch-surfed their “Monitour” (hehe), slept in a storm drain, and is currently signed by the horribly-named label “Diarrhea Planet.” Still, these guys are no dummies; Patrick Stickles’ writing is unusually strong for a self-professed punk, and puts him appropriately in the running for the Shakespeare of shoegaze. And what exactly does that entail? Well, I really recommend you go ahead and find out. This labor of love is well-worth your time, and is the most faithful tribute to the band’s incredible live show since the fan-released compilation, “Feats of Strength.” Plus, the whole thing is available for free at the band’s website!
-Live hits, covers and unreleased material make it very accessible to both new and old fans
-The new single, “Upon Viewing Oregon’s Landscape With the Flood of Detritus”
-Great covers of The Replacements, The Velvet Underground, Thin Lizzy, and other punk greats