Thursday, February 14th, 2013
All The Time
The Strokes are all, “relax you guys, we still know how to sound like The Strokes”
Justin JayThe Strokes has got themselves a nice little racket going. Most bands who’ve been at it for over a decade would be critically if not commercially pilloried for not changing up their style, but The Strokes get drubbed when they do. Luckily for them, they’re very good at doing what they do and they’re smart enough to know their business model as a band relies on actually doing just that while releasing a new album (or solo record that doesn’t fall too far from the tree) and some fitful, big paycheque touring.
But that doesn’t mean they don’t like to have a little fun with their fans, who are curiously anxious for such a consistent and predictable band. Case in point, the lead-up to their fifth album Comedown Machine. Considering they let five years elapse between their previous two albums, it’s a bit of a surprise that they’d have a follow-up to 2011’s Angles together so quickly. More surprising was their choice for a first preview, though, the synth- and falsetto-powered, to say nothing of a-ha-cribbing, “One Way Trigger”, which impressed some with its un-Strokes-iness but terrified other for the same reason.
The latter camp are probably feeling a lot more settled now, however, with yesterday’s release of a second preview of and first official single from the new record. “All The Time” is almost unremarkable in its boilerplate Strokes qualities, all insouciant vocals, precisely downstroked guitars, and unmistakable air of leather and denim, but while it’s not a song that’ll feature on any career-summing compilations, to those whose faith was shaken it probably sounded like hearing “The Modern Age” for the first time. Cue excitement, declarations that The Strokes are back and better than ever, etc, etc. Somewhere in New York, The Strokes are high-fiving each other or, at least, smirking.
Comedown Machine is set for a March 26 release.
NOW and The Waterloo Record have interviews with Ken Stringfellow, who has released a new video from Danzig In The Moonlight, with Margaret Cho filling in for The Head & The Heart’s Charity Rose Thielen, who duets on the album. Stringfellow is at The Drake Underground on February 19; it’s unlikely either Cho or Thielen will join him.
Video: Local Natives – “Heavy Feet”
Lyric Video: The Thermals – “Born To Kill”
Video: Jim James – “A New Life”
New York singer-songwriter Jamie Seerman – aka Jaymay – pretty much fell off my radar completely following the release of her debut album Autumn Fallin’ some five years ago. And a pity, too, as her lyrically dense, emotionally overcast, yet melodically light folk-pop really caught my ear at the time. But to my surprise, she’s not only still active – she’s released a series of EPs since that first full-length – but she’s touring. She’ll be at The Drake Underground on April 28, tickets $10.50. And I just revisited Autumn Fallin’ – holds up quite nicely.
If you thought rock artists assuming new identities for their synth-pop endeavours was a strictly Toronto phenomenon… you’re wrong. Jenn Wasner of Wye Oak will answer to Dungeonesse when discussing her solo debut of the same name when it comes out May 14. Exclaim has details, and you can stream one new song and watch a video for another.
NOW talked to Yo La Tengo ahead of last weekend’s show at The Phoenix, from which Mechanical Forest Sound is sharing some recordings. NPR also welcomed the band for a World Cafe session and NorthJersey.com had a chat.
Those catching Mark Eitzel on tour in Europe this Winter may notice an album of new material entitled Glory for sale at the merch table. It won’t be made available in stores but remaining copies will be available online starting in April.