The last time we checked in on A.V. Club’s Undercover series, Baths opted to take on the recently departed LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends.” Here, NJ shaggy dogs (and Replacements fans) Titus Andronicus threw a curveball and went for the resurgent They Might Be Giants’ ’90s hit “Birdhouse In Your Soul.” Having also grown up in the Garden State, I remember the song playing endlessly on local radio, long after it disappeared everywhere else. They talk about avoiding covering songs with subject matter that might conflict with their usual politics, but outside that, maybe New Jersey radio’s fixation with TMBG contributed to the interest. They start it off with a sample from Charles Bukowski’s “Bluebird” then plunge into the slop.

Speaking of Jersey, on Friday 4/29 the band’s premiering their new Tom Scharpling-directed video for The Monitor’s “No Future Part III: Escape From No Future” via anyone who happens to be in their home state. The details:

All Jersey residents, publications, websites, and institutions public or private are invited to simply email titusandronicusvideo@gmail.com, and the band’s label, XL Recordings, will set you up with whatever tool you need: DVD, QuickTime file, embed code – it’s a cinch to participate!

The “No Future Part III: Escape From No Future” video is a love letter to Titus Andronicus’ home state, and in it the band travels to The Pine Barns, the suburbs around Lakewood, Asbury Park, and New Brunswick before finally ending up in Jersey City. The video honors the state in a way that it truly deserves. New Jersey is NOT a punchline – it is a lovely place – the home of Sinatra, Springsteen and Stickles, and the band want to involve its residents in our day of excitement.

And, as Patrick Stickles puts it:

Throughout our career, we in the rock and roll band Titus Andronicus have gone to great lengths to celebrate our New Jersey heritage. We know well how our state has a way of instilling in its citizens a certain sense of underdog pride – for all of its faults and flaws, it is home, and for all that we may dream of escaping it, we never hope to forget it. These themes of regional identity, the way that a sense of heritage informs our behavior, run throughout our latest album, The Monitor, and with this video we intend to manifest them visually.

Here’s looking at you, Dad. The group plays Maxwell’s that night.

Comments (11)
  1. Man, I love TA, and I’m kinda lukewarm on TMBG, but that was difficult to listen to.

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  2. Man, I love TMBG, and I’m kinda lukewarm on TA, but that was goddamn awful.

  3. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen Patrick Stickles wearing something other than a baggy, worn-out white t-shirt.

  4. that was awful? I would hate to hear what you think sounds good. That was awesome, thats what that was. Awesome. A little rough, but that made it all the more awesome!

  5. I don’t know what people were expecting. Stickles isn’t a classically trained singer. He uses a pretty simple punk rock warble/shout dynamic. It would be like criticizing Johnny Rotten for having a terrible voice. Yeah, they both have “rough” voices, but that’s the appeal.

  6. I just saw TItus Andronicus put on an excellent show at the Vera Project in Seattle and logged about it here: http://virtualsoundnw.blogspot.com/2011/04/titus-andronicus-mansions-and-silicon.html – no videos yet, hopefully I’ll post some video byt he weekend.

  7. efully I’ll post some video byt he wee

  8. I respect what TA is doing. “The Monitor” was an interesting album, but this is a pretty mediocre cover solely because of the vocal performance. Someone noted above that he’s going for the rough, punk voice, but I don’t think he really was here. He was kind of singing, talking, and not sure what he was doing most of the time. If he went for a true gutter-punk voice, it probably would have turned out better.

    I’ll chalk it to a lack of confidence in performing a cover that they probably just threw together. I’m sure a studio version or more well-rehearsed version would have come out better.

  9. I don’t think you need to be a “classically trained” singer to sing on key. or in any key … I’m a big fan of both bands, and that was pretty awful

  10. Boy did they butcher that most excellent song.

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