They are AWESOME!! I like the Strokes a lot. I mean a big lot. In the same way that a kid likes Worthers’ Originals from a man in a long coat standing at a street corner outside his school. So when I heard they’ve finished writing their new album, I went to look for that man who used to stand on the corner of Perry Vale and Church Rise and see if the two feelings are actually the same. Turns out I couldn’t find him, so sadly that story ends here. But on to more relevant things. As they’ve taken a 4 year hiatus, surely Julian, Albert and Nikolai, Nick and Fabrizio must have been doing something other than smoking weed and partying, I hear you say? Well, here’s what I think is the best of what they’ve done.
The Strokes’ front man released a well publicised album in 2009 that critics and Strokes fans generally really liked. The lead single off the album, 11th Dimension, is great. It’s got a great synth lead and a sweet vocal from Julian all the way through. It can also be found just about anywhere on the internet, so I’m going to put up another of my favourties from the album. Left & Right In The Dark has got a really good guitar hook and the vocal is classic Strokes. He also did a song with N*E*R*D and Santogold called My Drive Thru which I really enjoyed when it came out in 2008.
Julian Casablancas – Left & Right In The Dark
N*E*R*D – My Drive Thru Feat. Julian Casablancas & Santogold
Buy his songs here.
Nick hasn’t released any solo work, instead he has opted to work with other artists. One of the people he’s done a lot with is Devendra Banhart and he’s also worked with Regina Spektor. He met her while on tour in 2003 and worked with her on Begin To Hope. Here are a couple of stonkers he’s either produced or contributed to.
Albert Hammond, Jr.
This is the first post-Strokes album I heard by one of the guys and I really liked it. Yours To Keep came out in 2006 and has a similar sound to some of the Strokes more laid back songs. It’s almost folksy at times too, although I couldn’t tell you exactly why I think that. The album has guest appearances from Julian Casablancas, as well as other musicians Albert has worked with. He followed this album up with ¿Como Te Llama? in 2008, which is rockier and perhaps more obviously Strokes-y. Still good though!
Albert Hammond, Jr. – In Transit
Albert Hammond, Jr. – GfC
Like it? Click here.
Nikolai’s side project was one I came across by accident; I found a Mark Ronson remix of the band Nickel Eye and checked it out. It took me forever to then listen to anything original by the band. I eventually did at the end of this summer and really enjoyed it. There is a lot of steel guitar and it’s very folk/rock. His vocals are very drawly and lazy and, almost inevitably, he likes to use that compression that makes Strokes songs so immediately recognisable. There is a lot more to the songs though, as the lyrics were apparently written as poems when he was 19 or so and touring. After the hiatus he dug them up and put them to music and recorded the album in London and New York. Like Albert, he has quite a few friends turn up in the songs, which keeps the album very fresh.
Nickel Eye – Brandy Of The Damned (Mark Ronson Remix Feat. Wale)
Nickel Eye – Back From Exile
Nickel Eye songs can be found by clicking here, closing your eyes and wishing really hard.
The Strokes’ Brazilian drummer has been working with another Brazilian (Los Hermanos singer Rodrigo Amarante) and singer Binki Shapiro. I have only just started listening to this band (basically because I decided to write this little “I love the Strokes” post) and I’m really enjoying it. The singing is shared pretty evenly and the harmonies are right out of the fifties. The guitars sound great and, inevitably, the drumming is pretty damn good too! Interestingly the three decided to make music together after meeting while Devendra Banhart’s album Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon was being recorded (which Nick Valensi played on).
Little Joy – The Next Time Around
Little Joy – Brand New Start
You like? Hooray.
So, here are all the things that the Strokes have been doing since First Impressions Of Earth. We don’t have any news on what the new album is going to be called but hopefully – maybe – it’ll be out in the new year. Julian Casablancas said “It’s still not going to be out for a few months – mixing, etc. But just finally finished it, yesterday actually.” So we still don’t know what that actually means, but there’s hope for us all out there. Let me know what you think about the songs and if you’re anywhere near as excited about the prospect of new Strokes as I am.
Get all the songs here.