Folky Indie Pop


Titans of Filth: Sam Grindstaff, Emily Armond, Ian Mittler, Ann Rogers, Nate Mitchell

I get a fair amount of indie rock/pop bands submitting their musi

c to me, but I like to mix things up in my posts, so I try my best to separate bands that sound similar. Since Radio KRUD posts songs on a submissions only basis, we have to work with what we receive, so I present you with one of the more interesting of a long line of a big backlog of indie artists waiting to be written about: Titans of Filth.

Sometimes, maybe all the time, my reasons for liking a band can seem intangibly peculiar. With this band, I like them simply because their songs are short, sweet, simple, strange, and somewhat experimental, which completely defied my initial expectations. With a name like Titans of Filth, I was expecting something heavy and/or grungy. Not the case. “Fifth Year” in particular is one of the most tender, beautiful indie songs I’ve heard in a while. But after listening to their songs for a while and looking at the band photo, the name seemed fit after all despite their lack of aggressive power. Their music has so much of that rootsy, folk attitude in it and they have that slacker geek look that makes it easy to picture them throwing these tunes together in the woods behind one of their houses. In fact, this music sounds filthy in a sense of it being natural like soil as opposed to it be being rubbish like a soiled diaper.

Anyway, as I was getting at earlier, Titans of Filth has a very gentle sound and many of their songs exhibit a bittersweet aura. This comes from the very old-timey and subtle way in which the music is presented. Every instrument from the drums to the guitars to the piano to the violin to the recorder has a breezy quality in the way it’s played so that each song sounds like a delicate whisper in your ear telling you intimate secrets.

What are these intimate secrets? In an interview with Flagpole Magazine, lead vocalist and songwriter Sam Grindstaff (sounds like a last name from a fantasy novel) said that the songs are “inspirational hymns that tell stories in which teenagers read books, quit going to church (or at least stop taking what is handed out so unquestioningly), have sex and take drugs and are smart about it.” A lot of this lyrical content is based on having grown up in the conservative Christian city of Athens, Georgia. Take “Lynn Learns All About Sin” for example. Well, geez, the title kind of says it all, doesn’t it? But seriously, it’s about a girl who goes to a church youth group and who also “sleeps around” and whose friends “start to notice she’s acting high.” As a fan of Loveline for 10 years, this kind of contradiction of a troubled teenage girl who does not respond to the influence of religion seems all too common, and I praise Grindstaff for conveying the message that spoon fed religion is not necessarily the end all, be all of ethical compasses. I’ll avoid going into a rant, but I think there is a very important message to be found in this and other songs by Titans of Filth, particularly to the right-thinking teenage crowd out there who digs indie pop.

I highly recommend picking up Titans of Filth’s two EP’s, Best Behavior and Feats of Strength, from bumbleBEAR Records. You can download them for free from bumbleBEAR’s website, but everyone always prefers a little moolah in the the pocket to none, so don’t be afraid to show a little a financial support. To place CD orders, you check out their website, but I suspect you can e-mail them to this address.


Titans of Filth – Beauty
Titans of Filth – Lynn Learns All About Sin


Titans of Filth – Sympathetic Mind
Titans of Filth – Fifth Year

2 thoughts on “Folky Indie Pop

  • January 25, 2008 at 11:31 pm
    Permalink

    Hello, this is Nate, drummer for the Titans of Filth. I would like to thank the reviewer for the kind words about the Titans, but I feel I must correct one thing: Athens, GA is NOT a conservative Christian community. It’s a liberal-ass college town with a strong penchant for partyin’.

    The ToF lyrical content more accurately reflects Sam Grindstaff’s experiences/upbringing in the conservative Christian community of MacCaysville, GA, located a mere stone’s throw from the fabled Blue Ridge mountains.
    Sam relocated to Athens in 2005.

    I hope this provides some clarity for the reader.
    thank you.
    -Nate

    Reply
  • January 26, 2008 at 2:11 am
    Permalink

    My apologies, Nate. I must have misread some information about your band, so thanks for the correction. I’ll just leave the error in there so people aren’t confused if they happen to peruse the comments.

    I would also like to thank you for your feedback in general. I always like to know what a band thinks when they read my posts about them. I generally post about bands I like, so I always hope that I give an overall good impression of them. So it’s gratifying to know you liked the post otherwise.

    – Rival Dave

    Reply

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