Tag Archives: the monitor

Katuwapitiya.com’s Top 10 Albums of 2010

So I’ve procrastinated on writing this list for a while, mostly because I felt like 2010 was a great year for music. There was a lot to choose from when trying to find 10 albums, much from artists that I’d never heard of before this past year. With that said, there were also a lot of disappointments from some of my favourites. Ra Ra Riot, Sufjan Stevens, The National, Stars, Gorillaz, Born Ruffians and Vampire Weekend all released albums that I was not fond of. In fact, I even hated some of them (Stars, I’m looking squarely at you). The bright spots definitely outshone the missteps though.

Katuwapitiya.com’s
Top 10 Albums of 2010

10. Mumford & Sons- Sigh No More

British accents, crescendos, relatable music. Like a lot of indie stuff in the past few years except you can show all your friends without some of them looking at you weird. You know which friends I’m talking about.
Highlights: Sigh No More, Awake My Soul

9. El Guincho- Pop Negro

The first time I saw the video for lead single Bombay, it was definitely a WTF moment. As confusing as the video was, the music really shone through. Infectious Spanish pop music with Afro-Carribean influences. 2010 was a random year for sure.
Highlights: Bombay, Soca Del Eclipse

8. Arctic Monkeys- Humbug

This album is on no other Best of 2010 lists. Mostly because it was released in 2009. With that said, it got panned by a lot of critics and magazines and I brushed it off as a mistake a year ago. At some point during 2010, I gave the album another listen and realized what I had missed out on. You should too. Darker with few catchy hooks, it was a departure from the Arctic Monkeys sound that I had grown accustomed to. But after some time to simmer on it, it’s an awesome album.
Highlights: Dance Little Liar, Cornerstone

7. The Black Keys- Brothers

Two guys making a lot of noise together and it finally worked on an album for me. An accessible sort of blues that has enough of a contemporary shine to really make me look forward to whatever they have coming next.
Highlights: Tighten Up, The Only One

6. Shad- TSOL

Real hip hop stand up. London, Ontario was responsible for more than a beatboxing pop-cover artist in 2010. Shad really has a knack for choosing beats that’ll get your head nodding and his lyrics become more and more refined with every album.
Highlights: A Good Name, Rose Garden

5. Local Natives- Gorilla Manor

Just a solid album all around. When I first heard the song “Airplanes“, I was blown away. Little did I know that it wasn’t even the best song on their album.
Highlights: Wide Eyes, Cubism Dream

4. Beach House- Teen Dream

Dreamy indie pop, this album immediately spoke to me. The airy vocals remind me a bit of Fleet Foxes except Beach House can at times actually outshine.
Highlights: Silver Soul, 10 Mile Stereo

3. Kanye West- My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

I mistakenly wrote Kanye off a few years back. He’d started focusing on autotune, started doing even crazier shit and I just got tired of trying to explain his antics in my head. Then 2010 came around and I started hearing the singles on his new album. I still refused to be swayed. Then I saw him perform on SNL and I was taken aback. His cocky demeanor, his nonsensical lyrics, they were all still there, but it suddenly was working for me. I ‘got’ him again. Then he released an album featuring Bon Iver on three tracks and the complete 180 in my mind was complete. Even though he’s still releasing self-indulgent, pretentious 30-minute music “videos” and is still doing crazy shit, I’m now a fan once again. Let’s have a toast for the douchebag.
Highlights: Lost in the World, Runaway

2. Arcade Fire- The Suburbs

Everything clicked for Arcade Fire in 2010. I mean, they were big before but suddenly they had the same name recognition as Coldplay and Radiohead. They had youtube web broadcasts of shows, they had a number one album in the States and they deserved every bit of that success because The Suburbs is a hell of an album. It was better than Neon Bible and better than almost everything released in 2010. The lead single “Ready To Start” came along at a point in my life when I was ready to start a lot of things as well, one of those life-defining sort of songs.
Highlights: Ready To Start, Half Light II (No Celebration)

1. Titus Andronicus- The Monitor

I had never heard of Titus Andronicus before 2010 (besides the Shakespeare play) and a lot of people I know still haven’t. That’s a shame but it’s not surprising. The songs on this album are nothing short of epic but I wouldn’t say that they’re the most accessible. Buried under civil war references, Bright-Eyes-esque aching vocals and 4-5 minute long build-ups are bar-song rally cries and incredible hooks. The lyrics are dark but they contain a glimmer of hope, you just have to get through the entire album a few times to hear it. It’s complex, it’s simple, it’s the best album of 2010 and you’d be missing out if you didn’t give it a few chances. They’re also awesome live.

Listen to The Battle Of Hampton Roads below:

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“The Monitor” by Titus Andronicus is the album of 2010 (so far)

Titus Andronicus- The Monitor

It’s taken me this long to write a post because I’ve been unable to put into words my love for the new Titus Andronicus album “The Monitor”. I have yet to skip a song while listening to the album, even though most of the songs are more than 8 minutes long. It’s that good. The album starts off with an incredible excerpt from Abraham Lincoln’s Lyceum Address:

“At what point shall we expect the approach of danger? By what means shall we fortify against it?– Shall we expect some transatlantic military giant, to step the Ocean, and crush us at a blow? Never!–All the armies of Europe, Asia and Africa combined, with all the treasure of the earth (our own excepted) in their military chest; with a Bonaparte for a commander, could not by force, take a drink from the Ohio, or make a track on the Blue Ridge, in a trial of a thousand years.

At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide”

It makes me feel American pride and I’m a Canadian. The concept of the album is awesome, a perfectly-utilized civil war theme is consistent throughout. Speeches from Lincoln and abolitionists are interspersed between tracks like “Four score and seven” and “The Battle of Hampton Roads”. But this isn’t like some sort of civil war re-enactment with weird men in stuffy suits shooting fake guns. Each song builds into some incredible melodies and kick-ass riffs. The vibe of the whole album reminds me of Bright Eyes with more of an edge (sort of like in his song “Hot Knives“). And the lyrics, the lyrics are just incredible. Off the top of my head, this has become a favourite:

“I’ve been called out, cuckolded, castrated, but I survived. I am covered in urine and excrement but I’m alive. And there’s a white flag in my pocket, never to be unfurled. Though with their hands ’round my ankles, they bring me down for another swirl. And they tell me, ‘take it easy buddy – it’s not the end of the world'”

I cannot state this strongly enough. Listen to this album. Don’t skip a song because you don’t like how it starts or because the vocals initially rub you the wrong way. You will not be disappointed. This album is phenomenal.

… Oh and did I mention that they’re touring right now? Here’s the album closer “The Battle of Hampton Roads” and just wait for the mystery instrument to kick in at the end. It blew me away. Literally. I fell down and had scrapes on my elbows resembling a bike accident after listening to this song.

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“And so now when I drink, I’m going to drink to excess,
And when I smoke, I will smoke gaping holes in my chest,
And when I scream, I will scream until I’m gasping for breath,
And when I get sick, I will stay sick for the rest,
Of my days peddling hate out the back of a Chevy Express,
Each one a fart in the face of your idea of success”

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Titus Andronicus – A More Perfect Union

If you haven’t heard this song yet, you really should. A great opener to their new album The Monitor. I’m loving it.

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