Titus Andronicus’ Rarities Collection ‘Basement Brainstorm’ Reveals Peak Pandemic Diligence

[Cover photo credit to Ray Concepcion]

Rockers Titus Andronicus have released Basement Brainstorm, a compilation album of rarities intended to “illuminate the painstaking creative process” which resulted in last year’s studio album The Will to Live. The album is available now digitally and on the first ever officially sanctioned Titus Andronicus audio cassette tape, via the imprint Titus Andronicus Records. 

The release is accompanied by a music video for “I Can Not Be Satisfied [Patrick’s Version],” directed by Titus Andronicus collaborator Ray Concepcion, which takes a “light-hearted look back at the maddening isolation of the peak-pandemic era.”

The new collection includes a demo version of “Bridge and Tunnel” which the band recorded on Leap Day 2020, not realizing that it would be their last session for more than a year. Sequestered from his comrades, Stickles produced a series of elaborate demos on which he played all the instruments (these are notated “Patrick’s Version”) and facilitated his own audio engineering.

This creativity spilled over into the eventual band studio sessions, the surplus of which makes up the B-side of Basement Brainstorm.

Stickles explains:

When you have a rock band like Titus Andronicus at yr disposal, you’d be a fool not to use them, but the global crisis forced us all to make concessions and compromises. Being exiled from the stage gave me an abundance of time which was both a burden and a luxury, for I had never dug so deep and whittled away so diligently on any previous creative endeavor. I hope I never have to again.

Basement Brainstorm comes packaged in artwork by illustrator Nicole Rifkin, depicting the underground lair where Stickles toiled. Included as a bonus track is a performance of the fifth scene of the first act of William Shakespear’s Hamlet, recorded after-hours in the studio when a discussion of Bob Dylan’s quarantine hit “Murder Most Foul” inspired Stickles to reprise his high school theater role of the Ghost of King Hamlet, with bassist R.J. Gordon portraying the melancholy dane.

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