In the twenty-first century, it has often felt like punk is dead. There aren’t being born the kind of go-to punk acts of the seventies, eighties, and nineties. The kids today play keyboards, not guitars, hit drum machines, not drums. Even the garage rock seems more about the party than the fight. For god sakes, disco is back. The anger at Donald Trump & George W. Bush hasn’t quite come out in youthful music like it did against Richard Nixon & Ronald Reagan. While there’s still a large bounty of twentieth century punk rockers still sticking it to the man, it’s been hard to find the next generation.
Smashing into your face is New Jersey’s Titus Andronicus, who have been delivering strong punk rock records for over a decade now, and hit a new high with the excellent An Obelisk, which is everything you’d want a modern punk rock record to be.
Frontman Patrick Stickles delivers a superior version of rock n’ roll right at the start with “Just Like Ringing a Bell” and is kiss-off to all those “inferior versions.” The following “Troubleman Unlimited” is a kiss-off to the world, continued in the subsequent “(I Blame) Society”, energetic punk rock. There’s the anthem for every hard livin’ rocker “My Body and Me”, law & order lament about “too many police” “On the Street”, and wonderful take on everything to close, “Tumult Around the World”.
Throughout, An Obelisk has the action, anger, anxiety, and more of great punk rock. Admittedly, it was produced by punk icon Bob Mould (QRO live review, with Titus Andronicus opening), but this is the punk rock of this new millennium.