Music Pick: Flying Solo

Radiohead and The Strokes are two of my favorite bands in the world, so when their leads put out solo work this fall I was anxious. I don’t want to see the bands to break up, but in absence of the real thing, I’ll take a solo. The Strokes has been on a hiatus for a few years now, and all of their members have worked on other projects in the interim.

Thom Yorke, lead singer of Radiohead, put out two singles– a double-A side single— called “Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses / The Hollow Earth“. It’s an uneven effort, The Hollow Earth is better than Feeling Pulled Apart by Horses, but neither is worth my money. But it’s Thom Yorke, and there isn’t a new Radiohead album this year, so-

Julian Casablancas’ (of The Strokes) solo is actually a full length album, called Phrazes for the Young and is a lot of fun. Especially for someone who is at this moment wearing his Is This It? hoodie. A couple of the songs have The Strokes’ sound, but the rest are a different direction. Obviously the songs with the familiar sound, like Out of the Blue, stood out the most for me but ask me after I’ve had a few more listens. This album has a lot more variety in instruments than The Strokes would normally have. Continue reading

Album of the Decade: Is This It?

tshirt-sweatshirtOn the 28th of January, 2002 I attended a concert by The Strokes. I bought the tickets on a whim– the only songs of theirs I had heard were “Last Nite” and “Take it or Leave it” on the radio (94.7 The Zone in Chicago, now an Oldies station!). They were good, but so what? Their first album Is This It? came out late 2001, notable for the song “New York City Cops” being removed at the last moment because of the attacks of 9/11 (you could find it on the other side of the Atlantic). They were credited, at the time, with the resurgence of rock (that never quite came).

The concert was at a place called the “Web Theatre” in Phoenix, AZ, named after a failed dot-com venture where someone envisioned synergy between live performing centers and their web site. Didn’t quite work out.

I went alone– having recently moved to a state where the only people I knew were my parents– and sat in the balcony. Of course the General Admission area below was where the *real* fans were.

Julian Casablancas, The Strokes’ singer, let me know. “Are you hear to watch a f***in’ opera?” he screamed at the people in the balcony, halfway through the concert.

Not at all. Continue reading