Reasons that Titus Andronicus rock:
1. They are from New Jersey. That right there makes them something special.
2. Their lyrics (“You never been no virgin, kid/You were fucked from the start”) have the right mix of humor and pathos. It is worth the time to listen closely and decipher them.
3. Titus Andronicus may be the most completely over the top band I have ever listened to, and also the most serious.
4. Their last album, The Airing of Grievances, is excellent, and worth seeking out.
5. Their new album, The Monitor, is a concept album about the U.S. Civil War, the first battle between ironclad ships (the Merrimac and the Monitor), and also the existential dread of living in suburban New Jersey in the 21st Century. That combination should be a complete disaster, but TA pull it off. The Monitor is without question the best album of 2010, and might be the best album since Kids in Philly by Marah.
6. I have not seen them live yet, but every review says they are scorching in concert.
7. They sound like Bruce Springsteen fronting the Ramones or Levon Helm backed by the Wooden Shjips, but those comparisons do not really do them justice. They have songs that are ten minute punk rock riffs that never get boring, they quote speeches by Abraham Lincoln in between tracks, with their high school history teacher reading the speeches on the recordings, and they can drone on with the best of the post-rock bands and at the same time rip the most searing guitar hero rock god solos you can imagine.
8. I love this band.