Every rock band from New Jersey is inevitably compared to you-know-who, but Titus Andronicus is Boss-like in at least one respect: It doesn’t shy away from big concepts or big emotions. Its latest LP, 2010’s The Monitor, is hitched to the unlikeliest of half-baked rock record concepts: the Civil War. Spoken interludes (some courtesy of today’s pre-eminent “new Springsteen,” Craig Finn) aside, the shouty anthems about omnipresent enemies and inevitable loser-dom are really rooted in the band’s mean, desperate, inescapable Jersey roots, which frontman Patrick Stickles sings about wanting to both transcend and romanticize. (Kind of like—well, you know.) It’s an unwieldy, uneven record, but Titus Andronicus’ reckless ambition and exhilarating, life-or-death passion demands—nay, commands—your attention.