A month ago, Titus Andronicus released a video for “(I Blame) Society,” the first single off its upcoming sixth album An Obelisk, but it failed to make much of a splash and left the band on the ropes with its label—or at least that’s the premise established in Stacks, the bizarre new “prestige situation comedy” that Titus Andronicus has released to promote An Obelisk. The full-length “pilot episode” opens with frontman Patrick Stickles waking up in bed and answering a phone call from Merge Records about how harder he and the band will have to work to make up for the flop of the first single. After promising to do better and agreeing to an interview with some bullshit hipster music site, Stickles meets up with the other members of the band, plays one of the new songs, and then gets blackout drunk on Modelos.
If that seems weird, it’s almost unbelievable just how weird the rest of the “episode” gets. Stickles goes to a bar, raps with the bartender, and then argues with the hipster music writer about how he and the general public unfairly criticize the last few Titus Andronicus albums. It’s like he’s preemptively defending An Obelisk from fans of The Monitor (which was a masterpiece, for the record), which is fun in a self-deprecating way even if it is the exact same “this one is for the real fans” defense that actors in bad comic book movies use.
If more traditional music videos are your thing, Titus Andronicus has clipped out parts of Stacks for that purpose. An Obelisk will be available on June 21.