Titus Andronicus is a punk/indie band from Glen Rock, New Jersey comprised (as of July 2017) of Patrick Stickles, Liam Betson, R.J. Gordon and Chris Wilson. They have released four albums, 2008's The Airing of Grievances, 2010's The Monitor, a Concept Album based on the dual lives of a young man in New Jersey and a Union soldier in the Civil War, 2012's Local Business and 2015's The Most Lamentable Tragedy a Mind Screw of an album that can be best described as a mental illness rock opera.
They are named for the quite bloody and violent Shakespeare play of the same name.
Titus Andronicus provides examples of:
- Author Avatar: The protagonist in The Most Lamentable Tragedy is at least partially based on Stickles himself.
- Concept Album:
- The Monitor uses the American Civil War as a metaphor for the struggles of a young man in modern New Jersey.
- Stickles has explained that the 5 different "acts" in The Most Lamentable Tragedy are meant to represent the protagonist going through different stages of manic depression.
- Dark Reprise: "Titus Andronicus Forever" at the beginning of The Monitor and "...And Ever" at the end.
- Epic Rocking: Basically all of The Monitor, but special credit should go to "The Battle of Hampton Roads," a nearly 15 minute song named for the first naval battle between ironclad ships. With a bagpipe solo.
- Genius Bonus: With song titles like "Upon Viewing Brueghel's 'Landscape with the Fall of Icarus" and a concept album about the Civil War with a recommended reading list, this is a given. Patrick Stickles is a very smart, very well-read guy and it comes through in his lyrics.
- I Am the Band: Inarguably, the band revolves around Patrick Stickles. See Revolving Door Band below for the extent.
- Local Hangout: Shea Stadium, the DIY venue in New York where the band practices and where Stickles worked as a ticket taker.
- Ode to Intoxication: Both the sarcastic and non-sarcastic variety.
- Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: If Conor Oberst had become a punk rocker, he would be Patrick Stickles.
- Revolving Door Band: One of the more notable examples in Indie Rock, with 18 former members and counting.
- Shout-Out: To absolutely everything including William Shakespeare, Albert Camus, the Civil War, Billy Bragg, Bruce Springsteen, Seinfeld, Hunter S. Thompson, and The Dark Knight, to name just a few.
- Spoken Word in Music: The Monitor contains readings of speeches and writings by Abraham Lincoln and Walt Whitman, among others, performed by fellow indie rock artists such as Craig Finn of The Hold Steady and Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak.
- Straw Nihilist / The Anti-Nihilist: A common thread throughout Stickles' lyrics is his own indecision between falling into nihilism completely or finding his own purpose in life.