A band based in New York City. Heralded (primarily
by the British music tabloids) as the second coming of New York punk. The Strokes' debut LP, "Is This It" sounds, as expected, like a product of the CBGB/Max's Kansas City scene of the late seventies that produced the Ramones and Blondie. But, it's not. The band members are about as old as the records that they emulate.
The band's songs are short, up-tempo, verse-chorus-verse numbers that focus exclusively on interpersonal relationships. Singer Julian Casablancas writes the majority of the songs. He's got a rare talent for communicating how difficult communication can be. "Hard to Explain" spends three minutes on this topic without indulging in self-pity.
The Strokes reception in the States has been mixed. The controversy seems to stem from their decision to sign with a major label (RCA) and flirt with the
high profile exposure major labels can generate. While the Strokes are probably doomed to remain obscure, many of the hipsters who are into the sort of music they make already view them as sellouts for trying this path.
In defense of the Strokes, their decision to go with a
major label is in keeping with the lost-artifact-from-the-seventies feel of their music. All of the bands whose sound the Strokes borrow (The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Television, Richard Hell and the Voidoids...) released records on major labels. The Strokes are acting in character. The irony here is that anybody interested in these bands, is also interested in Do It Yourself culture. In today's music biz, that demands independent release of records. This misunderstanding actually enhances the feeling that this band was cryogenically frozen in 1975.
Discography (US Releases, c. summer 2002)