Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Strokes Post #639

I took a much needed one day break from Angles and now it sounds INSANE. but no matter. read THIS INTERVIEW (originally posted by TSN)

Can a member of The Strokes be replaced? Nick : “It will never happen. It’s in our contract : if one of member leaves, the band is over. It’s a sacred clause. We’re tied by it”

DO you realize some of your fans will hate the synths part? Nick: “You can’t make everyone happy. I’ve always liked the fun swing of Last Nite, Someday and UCOD but we have to grow too. It’s impossible to make every fan happy. The other members are my barometer. We’ve thought this way since the very first record”

UCOD is 100% pure Strokes…

Albert : “It’s really funny that 2/4 became the Strokes’ sound. Classic Strokes. When I play it to my friends, they’re happy, they smile. It’s The Strokes calling : making people happy. It’s the comeback of happiness (laughs)”

band of the week: Eels

who: Mark Oliver Everett (who goes by "E")
what: indie folk, oftentimes delightfully aggressive, with Beck-type vocals and idiosyncrasies up the wazoo. sometimes synthy, sometimes horn-section-y, always interesting.
where: er, So-Cal
since: 1995

listen: Eels - Flyswatter [mp3]
from the thoroughly excellent Daisies of the Galaxy (2000)

official website (with Euro tour dates)

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Strokes Post #638

I have a pair of red skinnies but NIKOLAI I WANT YOUR COAT.

photos via

the SPIN cover article on The Strokes is really, really good. it hits newsstands on Tuesday. I never even knew Nikolai had a second kid...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Elliott Smith - She Won't Look at Me

five never-been-heard songs from our beautiful Elliott have been unearthed.

download all five tracks HERE

cheers to Nate for the link

Hanni El Khatib - Build. Destroy. Rebuild.

a new single from my current favourite new artist. I really dig his voice and delivery on every song I've heard so far. I really hope this guy breaks on through to the other side, he fills my heart with garage rock goodness and the cup he's holding full of tribute to Jim Morrison overfloweth


Last week, I picked up some goodies at Amoeba San Francisco and I got around to listening to them last night. It got me to thinking about 7" records.

You would think that in this day and age, when singles are easily attained as mp3s and you can google a band's new work on your smart phone before you can say "radio play", that these 7" would no longer have a place in the industry. After all, most of the radio stations which used to utilize them to hook the public on a song before a band's album would be released have been digitized, and these singles, alongside full lps, are becoming very much a niche product, for musical nerds and purists alike.

What I really love about singles is the b-sides. A lot of times, you come across things you would have never heard before. My findings last week included Broken Bells' "The High Road",which includes a beautiful instrumental b-side called "An Easy Life". After I heard it, I hopped online to find and post an mp3, but I couldn't find one. The song was a vinyl only release. I also bought The Soft Pack's single collection. They released their fantastic eponymous debut album as a box set of 6 45's as a Record Store Day exclusive--5 singles containing two songs a piece from the album and two extra tracks on the sixth 7". I love things like that. And while the internet and digital media can be wonderful for artistic expression, so can vinyl singles.

Sometimes, I'll spend an entire Sunday afternoon listening to my singles. Because music sounds better on vinyl, because I like the slowed down process of consuming music, but mostly because I have nothing better to do ; )

Classic Track Thursday

Weezer - Pink Triangle [mp3]
from Pinkerton (1996)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dinosaur Jr - Crumble

record review: The Strokes - Angles

Nikolai Fraiture, the bassist for NYC band and world-dominators-in-progress The Strokes once referred to Angles as the album which should have been released between Room on Fire and First Impressions of Earth. I never really understood what he meant until I had listened to the album a couple of times. Sonically speaking, the band’s first two albums, including their universally acclaimed debut Is This It are more classic, with muffled production and an old school vibe, mixing upbeat and down tempo tracks to a delightful and continuously revisitable listening experience. First Impressions of Earth, however, jumped very far from ITI and RoF and this essentially impulsive leap baffled critics and fans alike, garnering harsh backlash for the band once dubbed “the saviours of rock and roll”. But how was FIoE different, really? It was the band’s most cleanly produced album, but more than that, it featured both incredibly aggressive tracks like the bass-heavy “Juicebox” and the Eastern-sounding “Vision of Division” as well as a handful of calmed down tracks including the mellotron-driven “Ask Me Anything”. In other words, it strayed too far, too quickly, from the first two albums, which Rolling Stone had called “perfect twins”.

Angles is The Strokes’ first collective release in five years (during which time the band members released a total of five side project albums) and it shows that frontman Julian Casablancas really has taken everything leading up to its release to heart. What critics said, how fans reacted, and more importantly, what the rest of his band thought and wanted. Angles starts off with two incredibly catchy songs, kicking off with the beat-drenched dance floor/lady-of-the-night anthem “Machu Picchu”, and the “Under Cover of Darkness”, the album’s first single with undeniable, crossfire guitars and the best chorus that anybody anywhere has heard in years.

But then the album slows down to the in-betweenness that Nikolai had mentioned, both regarding production quality and content. Angles seesaws between in-your-face intensity (“Metabolism”, “Gratisfaction”, “You’re So Right”), and mellow groove tracks that oddly combine Julian’s obsession with soul music and 80’s New Wave music. At one point, during “Two Kinds of Happiness”, Casablancas channels Ian Curtis so thoroughly, it’s slightly disconcerting, especially because he tackles ambitious falsettos in other tracks. But out of the ten songs here, that’s the only track I have issues with. And it’s growing on me.

“Call Me Back” is one of the best tracks on Angles, building slow vocals over a simple guitar progression. “Wait time is the worst”, oh yes it is. The song dazzles and hypnotizes, just as Is This It worthy album closer “Life is Simple In The Moonlight” does. “Taken for a Fool” is the coked-out brother of the pothead “12:51”, racier, skankier and less prone to fascination with shiny objects. “I hope this goes over well on the toxic radio”, Julian sings. “Monday, Tuesday is my weekend.” In other words, fuck it. The Strokes are back, and they’ve finally reached the level of confidence and stability to properly channel their creativity without roller coaster ups and downs. Because in the end, more than anything else, Angles is a fresh, interesting record. It’s not like anything else out there today and proves that no matter what you say, you still care about The Strokes. Everyone does. The Strokes don’t matter because they’re cool or wealthy or handsome. The Strokes matter because, in a world filled with posers, pricks and pop music that is genuinely crap, they manage to salvage that thing that we turn to for hope, inspiration and solace—music.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

new music: The National "Think You Can Wait"

this song was inspired by Win Win . that looks like a movie worth watching.

The National "Think You Can Wait" [mp3]

Matt B says: “It’s about very normal and good people trying to do their best and the struggle to be good.”

The Strokes Post #637

The Strokes and their hair

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Strokes Post #636

Ariel from Troubled Souls Unite sent me a link to this bootleg from Saturday night.

it doesn't have all of the songs, but the sound quality is great if you want to relive the night

The Strokes at Chelsea Ballroom 12 March 2011 [zip]

the songs included in the bootleg are:

I Can’t Win


Under Cover of Darkness

The Modern Age

You’re So Right



Taken for a Fool


You Only Live Once

Sunday, March 13, 2011


I literally drove straight back from Vegas last night at 2AM, got home, showered, wrote my review and put my phone on silent so I could sleep a couple of hours
what happens in the mean time?
this is why I don't sleep.

enjoy, kids

The Strokes Post #635


concert review: The Strokes at the Chelsea, Las Vegas (12 March 2011)

this YouTuber so kindly captured nearly every song in the set with GREAT AUDIO

Do you want to lose fifteen pounds in 24 hours? It’s simple, just follow these steps exactly.
1. Wake up at an un g-dly hour to hop in your car and pick your brother up. Drive 550 miles from the Bay Area through the California/Nevada border to get to Las Vegas, city of entertainment. Pass through Mojave Desert, yell at squirrels.
2. Wait in line for 6 hours, get ushered in by rude staff toward line. Craftily bring your 17 year old brother to the 18+ show in the Chelsea Ball room, now converted with a stage to a concert venue on the fourth floor of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Stand in the second row and realize that your younger brother is slowly drifting rows and rows behind you by rude and selfish concert goers.
3. Stand on your feet for two hours before opener Devendra Banhart comes on, listen to his band's short but sweet set (winding down at 10PM), in anticipation that The Strokes will be on soon. Then wait until 11PM for the headlining band to get out. In the process, enjoy being yelled and pushed and grabbed at by rabid Strokes fans, nearly all having traveled from far away places to see this great band.
4. Be grumpy, yell, mutter to yourself that this is the last time you try to be up front at a Strokes show and yell some more.
5. Be amazed by band in question, sweat your ass off, find yourself fifteen pounds lighter. Decide that all other ways of spending your time are fruitless, and start plotting your way to becoming the Deadhead equivalent of a Strokes fan (and eventually heroin-chic).

There’s something different about being at a Strokes show. People get there good and early, and nearly everyone breaks the cardinal rule of “don’t wear a band’s shirt to their concert”. You can talk and talk about The Strokes for hours with complete strangers who not only understand your (un?)healthy obsession with the perfection that is The Strokes, they reciprocate enthusiastically. People might push and shove and be taken out of the crowd from fainting, but at the end of the night, everyone is so elated that nothing else matters.

Last night, the Strokes played their first show in support of Angles, in Las Vegas, Nevada. What the night ended up being came nothing short of monumental. Fab and Nikolai, I'm looking at you. You two were tight as hell last night.

While most of us guessed that the band would open up with a new song or a familiar single, The Strokes kicked off the night with “I Can’t Win”, which was shortly followed by Julian bantering about how a lot of people in the room hate him, and things being out of his control. Was he talking about Angles or the extreme lateness of the band or both? It doesn’t matter. Because Julian Casablancas is one fifth of the greatest entity on earth, and he does not need to justify anything to anyone ever. And “I Can’t Win” is a good way to sum that up.

But the music the music the music. The band played four of the five songs which fans have heard and loved by now, including “You’re So Right”, “Taken for a Fool” “Life is Simple in the Moonlight” and the sweet as candy lead single “Under Cover of Darkness”. They did all of this during the first hour of the show, which Nick Valensi dominated by and far. Almost all of the songs (excluding “Under Control”) were Nick’s lead guitar songs, and he even brought a nifty spin to the beloved “Someday”. The spotlight on him was undeniable, especially during the mind boggling solos in the new songs.

Am I saying that The Strokes have become a polarized group, deifying a couple of members at the expense of the rest? No no no no no no no. Even though I know that a lot of people dislike “You’re So Right” (written by Nikolai but surprisingly with backup vocals from Nick), the live delivery of this song was stunning and powerful. I would go so far as to say that it was tied for best with “Life is Simple”. The newer songs all came off wonderfully live (least of which, however, "Taken for a Fool", although I do take partial responsibility for it not meeting my expectations, as I listened to the studio version way too much). I also do have to admit that the band needs to work on perfecting the sound quality coming from the amps for those songs, as they previously did with FioE. But back to my original point. The Strokes' long awaited fourth record (due out next Tuesday) is called Angles because supposedly they all contributed to it and it’s the beginning of a new era and yeah yeah yeah. But this is not supposedly true. It is absolutely true. The band’s dynamic during the set exemplified this. None of them overpowered any of the rest.

But wait, what about Nick? Didn’t he hog the spotlight? Let me just say this much. Nick, by sheer numbers, has more solos than Albert does. Nick’s contributions to Angles so far have been incredible and his mastery at playing the guitar continues to baffle me daily. But that’s not the point. The point is:

Nick might have had all eyes on him during the show, but Albert had all of the last glances.

The Strokes’ first encore song (after the smashing closer “Take it or Leave It”) was “Gratisfaction”. A brand new song. A brand new song with a new solo from Albert. And backing vocals from Albert (and Nick too). The song sounds like a Strokes version of a happy song from yesteryear. It’s light and effortless and magical. The most happy go lucky song I've ever heard from them. "Gratisfaction" is like a more badass version of Albert’s solo material, with Thin Lizzy and other 80's influences mixed in to a perfect vocal chorus by Julian. Nick’s guitar work might have driven and dominated the set, but Albert rocked the house down with TioLi. Three of the four encore songs were Albert's songs, including the rolicking "Last Nite", which ended the set. As the night was winding down at 12:15 AM, Albert looked toward Julian and grinned. He kept grinning as he played the solo in “Last Nite” really high in his arms. He was so happy. They all were.

Devendra Banhart called this band an amulet. I cannot emphasize how perfect that anology is.

Set List
I Can’t Win
Under Cover of Darkness
The Modern Age
Whatever Happened?
Under Control
New York City Cops
You’re So Right
Is This It
Taken for a Fool
Hard to Explain
Life is Simple in the Moonlight
Take It or Leave It

Automatic Stop
You Only Live Once
Last Nite

My camera broke a couple of weeks ago and the replacement still hasn’t arrived. I took pictures with my phone but only a few turned out well and then my phone died. I’m so sorry I didn’t get any video, I didn’t have enough power on my phone, and as I said, my camera with the divine audio quality is in the process of being replaced.

Please accept this picture of an excited me in lieu of Strokes footage and better photographs

read SPIN's review here