Staff Trax: Titus Andronicus, Off With Their Heads, Basia Bulat, Jaydiohead, Manic Street Preachers and Love Spit Love

Welcome to Staff Trax, the weekly feature here on DC9 where we shed some light on the music we've been enjoying of late, regardless of the touring or album release schedules that tend to bear the focus of most of our coverage. Consider it a chance for you readers to get some more insight into our own personal tastes. Maybe you'll find something you like, ya dig?

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Titus Andronicus -- "A More Perfect Union"



The above music video for Titus Andronicus' "A More Perfect Union" only runs a little over three and a half minutes--about half of the song's run time on the band's March-released The Monitor--but it somehow manages to maintain the same epic, in-your-face appeal the album-opening cut boasts on record. And, really, this song's just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this grab-you-by-the-neck-and-never-let-up disc, perhaps my favorite release of 2010. Centered around frontman Patrick Stickles' obsession with maritime conflicts during the Civil War, as well as his frustrations with post-collegiate life, it's as visceral a disc as you'll hear in 2010, filled with references to the band's native New Jersey, as well as Boston, the city Stickles ended up in after graduation. I admit it: Given the subject matter--and the fact that I was born and raised just outside of Boston--I'm probably a little biased in my affection here. But, on the flip side, everyone I've forced the album upon since its release has seemed to get enough a kick out of the disc's attitude to allow all the over-their-head references to slide by the wayside. And, those who haven't enjoyed it? Well, they're just lame-ass wusses. And I don't wanna hang out with anyway. Definitely not on Tuesday, August 31 when the band returns to town for a gig at Sons of Hermann Hall, at least. But, more than likely, ever. --Pete Freedman

Off With Their Heads -- "Fuck This, I'm Out"


Seeing that this Minneapolis punk outfit just played our area last week, this little mention can't really fill in as a plug. But a band like the one fronted by Ryan Young probably wouldn't give a shit either way. Recalling such legendary punk stalwarts as Fear, Black Flag and the Circle Jerks, Off With Their Heads is everything a good punk band should be: relatively stupid, sufficiently snotty and resolutely offensive. The band's newest effort is called In Desolation, but I prefer last year's From the Bottom, especially the little happy nugget called "Fuck This, I'm Out." --Darryl Smyers

Basia Bulat -- "Heart of My Own"


The almost yodel-like yelp of this Canadian songstress is almost as fine as she is. When I waited in a line in front of Paste Magazine's SXSW party in March, I was yearning more for of the event's free Pale Ale than I was to hear anything from Bulat. After effectively snagging somewhere between two and seven free cups of brew on the makeshift club's patio, though, I found myself rather liking what I heard from the inside stage. Assuming that it was my beer-buds that had handled the heavy lifting on Bulat's behalf, I returned home, found the above video, and, after clicking play, I realized that it wasn't my early-afternoon buzz that had acted as an auditory fluffer, enabling me to enjoy her product. Rather, it was just the good ol' talent of the diminutive and delightful Bulat. --Kelly Dearmore  
 
Jaydiohead -- "Wrong Prayer"


Depending on how you look at mash-ups, they're either still cool, never were, or were sooooo 2004. But Max Tannone's mix of Jay-Z and Radiohead is as inspiring as it is creative. His take on Hov's "Pray" and Radiohead's "I Might Be Wrong" brings a new sense of urgency to both songs. Plus, it's catchy as hell. --Lance Lester

Manic Street Preachers -- "Motown Junk"


I just recently cranked up "You Stole the Sun From My Heart" by MSP, and it was a joy to hear them again. It'd been awhile. These guys are just a great UK band--when they're not trying too hard to write contrived radio-friendly pop. Take, for instance, "Motown Junk," where the band just relaxes and punk-rocks out. --Alan Ayo

Love Spit Love -- "Fall On Tears"


Darryl wrote about The Psychedelic Furs recently, and, when he did, I couldn't help but think of Love Spit Love, the band Richard Butler formed after the Furs called it a day. They'll probably forever be known as that band that covered "How Soon is Now?" for The Craft and Charmed, but I think "Fall On Tears" is one of the best songs that Butler has ever written. The band only put out two records in their day, and I doubt the demand for them will ever surpass the demand for the Furs. But, still, this is some great, worthy-of-your-time stuff. --Eric Grubbs
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