Titus Andronicus, ‘The Monitor’ (XL)
This is ostensibly a Civil War concept album, but these Jersey smartasses aren’t going Decemberists on us. Rather, frontman Patrick Stickles, sounding like an agitated Conor Oberst, is frustrated with our current state of disunion and intent on exorcising it with properly epiphanic refrains (“The enemy is everywhere,” “It’s still us against them,” “I need whiskey,” “You’ll always be a loser”). With five songs clocking in at more than seven minutes, often thanks to detours down E Street, it’s a big-idea album that feels small and personable, even as it’s kicking you in the shin.
LISTEN: Titus Andronicus, “A More Perfect Union”(DOWNLOAD MP3)