Tag Archives: Strokes

Lollapalooza 2010, Day 1: This Is It

Lady GagaSo this was my final Lollapalooza as a Chicago resident. From now on it will be a destination festival that requires me to actually travel to a destination. Which might be fun. But will it be worth it? Is a three day music festival worth the hassle if you can’t take the el back to your own comfy bed? I don’t know…I’ve never had to do it.

Of the past six Lollapaloozas, this was by far my most ADHD experience. I only watched three complete sets. The average time I spent with any band was 20 minutes. This might be normal for journalists who feel a professional obligation to “cover” as much as possible, but that’s never been my attitude. I like to take it easy and have a good time. Carefully select what I want to see and blissfully ignore the rest.

But not this year.

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Julian Casablancas on the Tonight Show

Video: Julian Casablancas on Conan

Anybody catch Julian Casablancas on the Conan the other night? It wasn’t as “far out” as I expected it to be from reading a couple interviews with him. Sounds like the Strokes with some bloopy bits and programmed drums. Not bad, but not super interesting either. I turned it off and went to sleep before the song was over, but now we can watch all the way through via Hulu.

So I haven’t heard the album all the way through, but I like the song he’s giving away on his website. What do you think? Is this just changing the saddle on a one-trick pony, or is he creating something fresh here?

MP3: Julian Casablancas – “River of Brakelights” from Phrazes for the Young, out November 3 on RCA.

Julian Casablancas: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, wiki

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Danger Mouse-Sparklehorse-David Lynch Album Scrapped

Video: Dark Night Of The Soul

Despite the fact that you can stream the album in its entirety right now at NPR, it looks like Dark Night of the Soul, the collaboration between Danger Mouse, Sparklehorse, and David Lynch with vocals by James Mercer, Wayne Coyne, Gruff Rhys, Jason Lytle, Julian Casablancas, Frank Black, Iggy Pop, Nina Persson, Suzanne Vega, and Vic Chesnutt, is being scrapped due to a legal dispute with EMI.

Perhaps out of spite or maybe just acknowledging the fact that people who want to hear this music already know how to download it, Danger Mouse is releasing a blank CDR along with the 100-page book of David Lynch’s photos for $50.

This whole thing just seems preposterous. EMI couldn’t work out an arrangement to get this officially released? Or did Danger Mouse just forget to read the fine print on a contract? Either way, it’s a shame. The stream sounds really good: more Sparklehorse than Gnarls Barklay, if you know what I mean.

Dark Night of the Soul: web, wiki, rapidshare.

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The Strokes – You Only Live Once

The Strokes are taking a break, having recently wrapped touring in support of First Impressions of Earth, produced by the guy who dumped Wilco. They leave their fans with a “cinematic interpretation” of the album’s lead track, “You Only Live Once,” directed by Star Wars prequel concept artist, Warren Fu, who also helped redesign the official Strokes site.

The Strokes – “You Only Live Once” (imeem)

MP3: The Strokes – “Juicebox”

Albert Hammond, Jr. – In Transit

http://www.ampcamp.com/images//albums/sounds/mp3_of_day/A/Albert%20Hammond%20JR%20-%20In%20Transit.mp3“>”In Transit” by Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. from Yours to Keep (Rough Trade).

Courtesy of AmpCamp.

Updated 8/18/2008: New link courtesy of the Web Archive.

New Strokes Album Produced by Guy Who Dumped Wilco

The Strokes are currently recording their third album, and they’re working with a new producer: David Kahne. Kahne is the guy at Warner Music who told Wilco that Yankee Hotel Foxtrot would kill their career and refused to release it. Strokes manager, Ryan Gentles is “confident that [the Strokes album] will come out sometime this year.”

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Underground Garage Rock Festival, Take 2

Iggy StoogeIggy Pop was fucking the camera. Lithe like a Romanian gymnast, his lifelines disappearing craggy into low rise jeans, the punk father writhed onstage like a human snake razor blade, and the camera beamed it into outer space. A veteran sex simulator and the energy source of his reconstituted Stooges, Pop’s completely unfakeable yowls, tumbles and cabinet climbs were typical of a show that delighted in refreshing the stale rock festival concept. There were a few flecks of grey in this 21st century version, and the occasional mohawk’d toddler waddled on by. It also took place in the shadows of a giant orange mocha frappucino. But with his Underground Garage Festival, Little Steven Van Zandt made his vibrant music id a touchable thing, and the jabberwocky prattlecock of today’s industry faraway for at least a day. And New York City rocked like a hurricane.

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The Strokes – Room on Fire

The StrokesRoom on Fire (RCA)

Seriously, what was everyone expecting from The Strokes?

From all of the backlash and disinterest about the group’s second album, Room on Fire, it seems as if people had high expectations. Did you want an exploration into drum’n’bass? How about some grandiose symphonic statement?

The fact is, on Is This It, Julian and Co. painted themselves into a bit of a corner. It’s tough to evolve a formula like that and come away successful. What The Strokes did was ignore over-thinking their sophomore release and focus on fleshing out the sonic characteristics of their first. Which we should feel lucky for, by the way, because Room on Fire is the most pleasantly surprising album of the year.

The biggest change to be found on Room on Fire is how much guitarists Albert Hammond and Nick Valensi have grown. They’ve honed their skills and are trying on a few new sounds—take for example tracks like “12:51” and “The End Has No End,” where the lead guitar actually sounds like a synth fresh out of the eighties. While the guitars still follow a direct line from Is This It, they’re tinkered with enough and feature more depth now. The bad news is that Valensi and Hammond are the only ones that have seemingly sought out to improve their playing. Julian Casablancas hasn’t bothered to broaden his range; the vocals, lyrics, and songwriting haven’t gotten noticeably better. Luckily, the songwriting was already strong to begin with and Casablancas’ vocals, while not a great example of how to sing, compliment the music well.

Highlights include “Meet Me in the Bathroom,” “Automatic Stop” and “Between Love and Hate,” but the best song on Room on Fire, and actually the best song The Strokes have ever written is “Under Control,” which finds the boys trying on their 50s hat and sees Julian crooning: “You are young, darling / for now but not for long.” It’s a gorgeous song, rivaling “Someday” in the pure strength that it carries.

So it seems, if we’re speaking retrospectively, that The Strokes are emerging from the 1970s garage-punk revival that made them so popular to begin with and are starting to carry a shade of the 80s as well. It may not change the world, and it may not be as good as Is This It. There is bound to be a split in opinion over Room on Fire between those who were expecting The Greatest Album of All Time and those who were expecting The Strokes to be a flash in the pan. Well, they’ve emerged in the middle. But The Strokes have never been ones to care about such things, that’s shown in the music. Love ’em or hate ’em, you’ve got to respect that kind of nonchalance. Maybe all the hype over The Strokes was overdone after all, but with songs like this, who cares?