Look, it’s too early for Christmas music. I believe that to the depths of my heathen soul that we’ve no business busting out the carols and other festive until December. That typed, I have already declared my willingness to adhere to the modern indie-kid calendar, which maintains that it’s the holiday season when Phoebe Bridgers declares it to be so, and that happened earlier this week. So for those who understandably find my sharing of this to be a horrid example of festivity creep, I don’t necessarily disagree. Don’t blame me, blame the punisher.
That’s a lot of evasive preamble because, no matter my compunctions, there was no way I was going to be able to resist this week’s song. New Jersey rock titans Titus Adronicus repurpose Billy Joel’s “‘Piano Man” so that it’s no longer about the regular Saturday night crowd shuffling in to a piano bar, but instead recounts the notable travails of a woman on the verge of birthing a curiously conceived child who has difficulty finding accommodations. Instead of being in the mood for a melody, the assembled are down with a little rhythm, hence a drummer boy rather than an ivory tickler who gets the crowd feelin’ alright. It’s downright ingenious.