The Strokes: I Heard They Suck Live

They’re cooler than Keith Richards. Their music will save your life. And their haircuts will make your girlfriend leave you. They are The Strokes, and they’re coming to a truck-stop shower stall near you.

If you ask the nice folks in Lake Edna what they think of Fabrizio Moretti’s drumming skills, or Albert Hammond, Jr’s coif of impossibly unwashed hair, they might use responses similar to those uttered by the good people listening to “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” in John McRea’s docu-video for Cake’s new single. In the clip, no one cares that McRea’s band is “hep” and features a trumpet. His snide, proto-Malkmus lyricisms get about as far as the left bra strap before the hearty souls listening on headphones hold up a pink hand and say “WOAH! Outta the car, longhair!” Cake’s inability to get to third base with the average American who doesn’t wear odd eyewear or sport a homemade Kahimi Karie T-shirt illustrates the humor behind The Strokes’ campaign of guerilla chic. Even though every critic from London to Los Angeles has taken their moniker literally, Dot down at the LeSabre Diner probably wouldn’t seat Moretti, Hammond, Nikolai Fraiture, Nick Valensi, or Julian Casablancas if they stumbled through her door looking for a round of blintzes. “They looked homeless,” she would remark later.

The Strokes are an NYC product, built out of showcases at the Bowery Ballroom and Mercury Lounge. They wear leather. They’re pretty. And none of them can rent a car legally. Is that why this quintet of fabulously wasted youths have made like Jimi Hendrix, storming the UK press before anyone in the US even bums them a Marlboro? No. It’s because the Strokes’ full-length RCA debut (slated for September) will move more units if a few pricey Rough Trade singles have already spread the word amongst the funny shoes set. For you everydayers, those are the freakishly pale youngsters on the subway who look like they stepped out of the couture section in your copy of British GQ. For this truly is the demographic that this sort of marketing works on. Just like Jessica Simpson and City High touring your local supermall (“SEE the STARS! BUY their RECORD!”), a band of the Strokes’ pedigree sells records anyway it can. And if a million media outlets (including NME, Top of the Pops, The Face, Blender, and Sonic Net) buy into their New York state of mind and unwashed groove, then that’s more blowjobs for Julian Casablancas and his mates. And I don’t mean from the critics.

So what’s up? Are they a Flock of Seagulls tribute act, or what? Nah, but those guys had nice haircuts, too. No, the Strokes’ ju ju, based on two EPs and a brief domestic stint with Guided by Voices, seems to revolve around the musical heart of — surprise – New York City. After all, they are children of Manhattan, and Julian’s daddy is John Casablancas, brains behind Elite Modeling. In the chiming, gritty guitars of “The Modern Age” EP lie echoes of The Velvets, and Julian’s faux crooning goes a long way toward conjuring Lou Reed. Their simplistic, yet tuneful songs could suggest the No-Wave of Television. Or they could just be amateurs. Either way, their hair is perfect…

The boys grace the latest Rolling Stone’s “Random Notes” column with a photo that seems boilerplate Strokes: As half-drank Budweisers add color, the lads stare into and away from the camera’s flash, reveling in their complete wasteosity. Bassist Fraiture seems to be pointing at Hammond’s crotch. “No, you put that in the model’s growler.” As this shot is basically identical to every other Strokes publicity snap, one can only assume that, even if their music doesn’t make any waves with Joe Heartland, at least the elegant boys from New York’ll deflower his daughter.

And if that isn’t as cool as Keith Richards, what is?


12 thoughts on “The Strokes: I Heard They Suck Live”

  1. Jesus,That was the worse article I’ve ever read. Not only because you probably only heard two songs, but because you had nothing to say. What kind of review is that……Your intern could do better JACK-ASS!!!! Your farts would give more info….Why write something that you know nothing about,,,,NYC is BACK….

  2. I guess [email protected] would have me write the same boilerplate review that every other music writer on this planet and Mars has written about the Strokes. I don’t doubt that NYC is “back,” either (though no one told me it left…). My article is a look at the egregious amount of hype that has followed the band ever since “The Modern Age” EP broke. Glorious Noise is not about reviews. It’s about what’s deeper, larger, livlier, and shadier in the music we all listen to and love.Make sure you tune in GloNo again soon, kadane. There’s more horribly biased, amateur Strokes coverage to come. Oh, and really stinky farts.Johnny Loftus

  3. All the hype with The Strokes is incredibly detrimental to any sort of “new music” (if you can call it that) or scenes expoding from any where in the world. For a couple of years now in planet pop culture, we have somehow started to worship celebrity, style, fashion and endless vaccuos, inane trend setting- leading us to conclude we are always trying to find the next “big thing”. The result is the substance gets lost somewhere along the way.I love the Strokes, I’m an optimist,- give em a chance and feel the passion! Of course they are the consummate package, a RCA marketing man’s wet dream- but you cannot deny their quality of their tunes. They’re lucky boys.I just hope the fucking hype/media machine won’t destroy them before their time!

  4. The Strokes are brilliant! Don’t be an ass just cause your a media person!


    like Stella said they can De-flower me anytime! Nicely put Stella Nicely Put!

  5. Well back in 2002 the strokes stage performance was a little dull, they played great but they just kind of stood there the whole time. But now they are much more exiting, they have a great lighting system, albert and nick are rocking out, julian movies all across the stage and hits things with his mic stand, the 2003 strokes give a much better live performence, go see them

  6. YAY!!! The Strokes are coming to Australia in January. Big Day Out is going to fucking rock! I am quite pleased that i will have the chance to see Julian hit things with his mic stand!! Hoorah. Their side show is also going to fucking rule. Fuck yes. 36 days :)

    Apparently he grabs the guys asses, lol. Amen to that.

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