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FeedBack w. Wes Nyle. EP34. The Strokes.02.10.13Last Night

Bands attempting to reinvent themselves aren’t uncommon. I feel like bands that successfully reinvent themselves regularly however are a needle in the hay.
Anyone who talks to me for more than 2.2 seconds about my music taste will find out who my three all-time faves in music are. Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, and Modest Mouse. And probably not in that order all the time, although that is how it frequently comes out.
It’s because bands like these make me feel uncomfortable when I hear their rock. Lyrics that cut deep, premises that only glimpse into my human struggles, but are still resonating from the first time I heard them till now. When your content is this good lyrically, it may be ok to let the instruments lye underneath as an afterthought. But good artists hardly take that chance. Their risks lyrically are almost always matched by depth and risk in the instruments.
The Strokes were discovered in New York, sometime between 98 and 2000 after playing at the Mercury Lounge in Manhattan. Allegedly a bidding war broke between labels after the bands EP The Modern Age was released in the states, along with a free download of Last Night via UK periodical NME.

Is This It?
New York City Cops

The band’s first full length was titled Is This It. Released on RCA in 2001, there was some controversy between the UK and US released track listing, and New York City Cops was scratched from the US track listing because of the events of 9/11.
In 2003 the band was in good company having Nigel Godrich, long-time producer of Radiohead behind the board for their second release Room On Fire. An album that seemed a lot like an extension of Is This It. And probably because for whatever reason the group decided to drop Nigel for their old flame Gordon Raphael: producer of Is This It. With flashes of innovation, like the tone of Nick Valensi’s guitar in 12:51 and the The End Has No End, the group was beginning to show they were not afraid to experiment with their sound.

12:51
The End Has No End
Vision of Division

In September of 2005 what was to be the bands third album First Impressions of Earth was leaked and passed around the online community. This convinced the band to release an online version of the album before the official hard copy release in January of 2006. The album was an obvious departure from the original Strokes format, with David Kahne controlling the knobs this time around. Julian’s teenage friend, from a Switzerland boarding school, and lead guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. showed more skill with soloing and Julian pushed his pitch limits on vocals. The effort was greeted with initial success, with the band selling out 15 UK dates, but then fell off for critics as more people began to hear it. After completing the US side of the Casablancas told fans that the band would be taking an extensive break. The band may have been having issues, but also Casablancas had admitted that he needed to address his alcohol abuse that was affecting his passion for writing. A tribulation that may have been expressed in On the Other Side.

On the Otherside
Two Kinds of Happiness

Three Years later, after solo projects from every artist in the band. Julian began working with Valensi on music that was to be official Strokes tracks. But is wasn’t till almost a year later the band officially released a statement saying they would be in the studio with legendary producer Joe Chiccarelli (Beck, Elton John, Etta James, the White Stripes). Julian commented on the tracks saying they had the stylings of “1970’s Rock from the future”. With glimpses of original Strokes progressions, the band’s vacation showed promise bringing in elements from every artist and showing a more diverse and creative side of The Strokes we may not have heard without the four year hiatus.

Life is Simple in the Moonlight

Late next month The Strokes are scheduled to release their fifth full-length Comedown Machine, already available for pre-order on TheStrokes.com. You can get a one track taste of the new album at the home page as well. The track title is One Way Trigger and borrows the feel of Ah-Ha’s Take On Me, with modern and dark undertones. With more and more commercial artists seemingly afraid to takes risks it is comforting to hear the artists that changed my world with their lyrics and sounds taking a chance on making their fans uncomfortable with changes that speak to them.

This is The Strokes.

One Way Trigger

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