In 2013, Titus Andronicus’s frontman Patrick Stickles announced he was going to record a follow up to the 2012 Local Business with a 30-song multi-act rock opera partially inspired by The Birth of Tragedy by Nietzsche and Touched With Fire by Kay Redfield. Stickers even offered an idea of making a movie with the opera. Ever since, he has appeared on WTF with Marc Maron and even released a random summer song.
It seems as though the gears are moving towards the album now. Stickles confirmed that the album is set to be out on July 28th and to be called The Most Lamentable Tragedy. The title is a reference to Shakespeare and the cover art, which is above, was designed by Nolen Strals. This upcoming album is Titus Andronicus’ Merge Records debut as their previous two releases were through XL Recordings.
The Most Lamentable Tragedy spans 93 minutes and has a 29-song track listing including new works as well as covers of Daniel Johnston, The Pogues, and the traditional folk song “Auld Lang Syne”. The album was produced by Kevin McMahon, longtime collaborator who also worked with Diarrhea Planet and Widowspeak, and lead guitarist Adam Reich. The album has Owen Pallet, members of The So So Glos, Baked, and Lost Boys? as special guests.
According to the press release, the LP is to be like “a work of fiction”:
The central narrative of TMLT (“a work of fiction,” claims singer/songwriter Patrick Stickles) concerns an unnamed protagonist whom we meet in deep despair. Following an encounter with his own doppelgänger (an enigmatic stranger, identical in appearance though opposite in disposition), long held secrets are revealed, sending our protagonist on a transformative odyssey, through past lives and new loves, to the shocking revelation that the very thing that sustains him may be the thing to destroy him.
As far of the music goes, Stickles considers the album as a “rock opera” and says that the two major influences are Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade and Lou Reed’s Berlin. he told Grantland, “In the aesthetic universe of our rock opera, the downcast songs are more like Zen Arcade, which is, you know, very bare-bones, kind of mean rock production. And the more uplifting, empowered, sort of optimistic, moral, heightened-reality sort of stuff is more ornate and fancy like Berlin.”
The band has released a new song called “Dimed Out” in anticipation which can be found below.