October 15, 2003
Courtesy of RCA
STROKES IN IT FOR THE LONG HAUL, SAYS GUITARIST
CDs, and when you go through the rack and there's a
cool cover you're just like, 'Wow' You used to buy a
record when you were a kid and you knew the band,
but you didn't know what they were going to do.
That, I think, is a better way to hear music. Out of
speakers and not watching a screen."
The new album breaks little new sonic ground for
the band, instead making great strides in composi-
tion and musicianship. "I think it's a constant pro-
gression ... different but in a good way. I had a
much better time in the studio the second time. I had
a lot of fun arranging the songs in the studio. You put
a lot of hard work into it and hope it pays off. Some-
times it doesn't even pay off."
The question that remains is if Room on Fire con-
tains the same sort of immediate, scratchy hooks that
made Is This It a crossover success. Asked if a lack
of airplay would affect the band's mindset, Ham-
mond is coolly confident: "I'd say it's a shame, but if
fans love it, that's the main thing isn't it? Sometimes
people don't get it, and I think they have a different
agenda. We don't really fit formats too well, do we?"
Whatever the format, the band's success has
opened doors for their peers. "I don't know if
we've 'paved the way.' I think things have changed
a little bit. As a band we like to play music, and if
it helps other bands, that's great. It's already hard
enough as it is."
Things should get nothing but easier for the band.
Earlier this month, they embarked on a three-month
tour with a new pool of songs to draw from and the
weight of following up a breakthrough album com-
pletely off their shoulders.
The tour, however, is only the beginning for the
band, which will face a press gauntlet perhaps more
daunting than the one that followed Is This It. Ham-
mond, however, prefers to downplay the press, good
or bad, and his view of the band remains admirably
simple. "I feel like what we do is basically go to a
rehearsal space and try to get better, constantly, and
never think that we've achieved what we were doing
from the beginning."
THE HOTTEST PICKS IN ENTERTAINMENT
FROM A DAILY ARTS WRITER
Eddie Izzard in Detroit - Can you ever get enough of cross-
dressing, surrealist stand-up comedians? Yemeni-Brit Izzard and his
"Sexie Tour" come to Detroit's Music Hall this Saturday.
By Andrew Gaerig
Daily Arts Wnter
For most bands, the "no such thing as bad publici-
ty" rule would hold true. Of course, sometimes things
happen - Rolling Stones com-
parisons, two million records The Strokes
sold, trend-setting fashion and a Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
public relationship between At the State Theatre
your drummer and Drew Bar- Clear Channel
rymore - and these things can
confound your humble guitar/bass/drums beginnings.
So it goes for the Strokes, the New York quintet
whose debut album, Is This It, kick started modern
rock's recent obsession with late '70s punk. Under
these circumstances, press can be troublesome. "Peo-
ple just couldn't say that we were a good band; they
had to get really crazy into it. Sometimes if that goes
in the wrong direction, then all of a sudden you're
someone you're not, and it's hard to get away from
that," laments guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.
With the release of their second album, Room on
Fire, the band has no such identity problems. They
are, quite simply, five confident New Yorkers who
comprise one of America's most energetic young
rock bands. Though the release date of Room on Fire
was pushed back to Oct. 28, Hammond's enthusiasm
for the project is unwavering. "I'm a collector of
The Like - "(So I'll Sit Here) Waiting" - Comprised
of three high school-attending girls, the Like and their minimalist
approach may seem amateur but their simple playing produces
earnest, catchy gems. The three cuties can now be found on the
soundtrack to the motion picture "Thirteen."
Anna Farris in "Lost in Translation" - While Bill Mur-
ray and Scarlett Johansson deservedly get most of the attention,
this "Scary Movie" actress rewards second and third
viewings with her delicious send-up of dumb
American actresses (read: Cameron Diaz).
"The Lord of the Rings: The
Return of the King" trailer -
The best movie of the year thus far -
"Kill Bill." The second best movie of
2003 - this trailer. See it at
HBO Sunday Nights - While the
ratings have taken a hit, "Carnivale"
impresses as the most cinematic TV
production in history and Steven
Soderbergh's "K Street" is so absurd
and difficult on viewers that it must
be good. Courtesy of HBO
of > $
DfoU hn' O' Panh....
IaiU - e S, W4 C*e
PROBLEM PREGNCY EP
Any time, any dy ;.::;
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Not 'Intolerable,' but nowhere near Coens' best
By Joel Hoard
Daily Arts Writer
known for penning the impenetrable
Massey Pre-Nup - who is hired by
wealthy businessman Rex Rexroth
(Edward Herrmann) to protect
With "Intolerable Cruelty," Ethan from hi
and Joel Coen take a break from the Marily
groundbreaking filmmaking of their Jones).
past and hurtle themselves headlong Miles
into a lighthearted comedic romp. case an
"Cruelty" lacks the dynamic, genre- Marilyn
bending qualities of such films as bit of
"Fargo" and "The Big Lebowski," but band's i
the Brothers inject just enough wit and Miles' o
charm to keep the film afloat. nup for
George Clooney plays Miles Massey, Howard
a Los Angeles divorce attorney - best fiendish
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Miles and Marilyn eventually find
themselves falling for each other; on
the surface they're both shifty and
shrewd, but deep down they're in
search of love.
Effortlessly exchanging trademark
Coen witticisms, Clooney and Zeta-
Jones play their characters flawlessly.
With Clooney's dashing good looks and
Zeta-Jones' stunning beauty, the pair's
star power bursts from the screen, and
they often playfully pose for the cam-
era. The Coens provide their stars with
an eccentric supporting cast including
the unconventional private investigator
Gus Petch (Cedric the Entertainer), who
delights in showing videos of his work
to his friends, the colorful - both phys-
ically and behaviorally - concierge
Heinz, the Baron Krauss von Espy
(Jonathan Hadary) and the asthmatic hit
man Wheezy Joe (Irwin Keyes), who is
responsible for the film's most shock-
ingly comedic moment.
As amusing as "Intolerable Cruelty"
is, it lacks the supreme depth and the
careful balance of dark humor and
emotional truth that audiences have
come to expect from the Coen Broth-
ers. To be sure, "Cruelty" is an enjoy-
able film, and everyone involved quite
obviously enjoyed making it. But with
that out of their systems, it's time for
the Coens to get back to work.
fortune, Marilyn shows up in
office soon after to draft a pre-
her marriage to oil tycoon
Doyle (Thornton) as part of a
plot to take half of his fortune.
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