2D - The Michigan Daily - New Student Edition - Fall 2004
Julian Casablancas salutes the crowd at the Strokes sold-out show, October 16, 2003, at the State Theater In Detroit.
Strokes shrug off KNOW YOUR
sophomore slump a
October 24, 2003 he Raven:
BAex Julian has drawn;
By Alex Woisky \\
Daily Staff Writer comparisons to Vel-
vet Underground frontman Lou Reo
REV Mus ic RE** *Reed may have White LightWhite )
but Julian looks better in a retro T
Somewhere in London, at the tail end of the summer of 1969, Mick Jagger Stridex, please: Sure, imitating
and Keith Richards were meticulously slaving over the finishing touches to their godfather of punk is a great gig, but
latest album, Let it Bleed. Having been recorded months after Brian Jones died, those breakouts can be so embarras
the Stones blasted out their final straightforward blues-rock album, laced with
sporadic hints as to what lie in the band's future. Nikolai
Jones, disappointed that the band reverted back to its roots time and time Fraiture (bass)
again, had been arguing with Jagger and Richards for years to incorporate other Here's to you,
influences into the Stones' music, much like the Beatles m ighty wingman:
were doing at the time. However, Let It Bleed proved that The Strokes Having a bunch of
Jones' influence had not gone unnoticed: The album . goad-looking friends
showed signs of the band cutting new sonic territory while Room on Fire is great, but sometimes the ladies le
keeping close to the sound that previously defined them. RCA you behind.
Somewhere in New York, at the tail end of the summer Love those eighth notes, baby:
of 2003, Julian Casablancas mirrored Jagger and Richards' persistence to detail Nikolai may be the quiet one, but hi
and scrupulous attention to mixing as he put the finishing touches on his band's sturdy lower frequencies keep the he
latest release, Room on Fire. A renowned perfectionist, Casablancas worked ties in check.
many sleepless nights fine-tuning songs to ensure a product that would live up
to his own strict standards. Albert
In 2001, the band received mass praise from the British press and drew Hammond Jr.
comparisons to fellow New Yorkers Television and the Velvet Underground (guitar)
with their debut Is This It?. The record proved to be one of the best of the Hair-raising
year and stands as one of the most impressive debuts in recent memory. This experience: Albert's
time around, the Strokes stay true to those roots, adding elements of the late frizzy 'do is a fashion
1970s New York punk movement and new wavers the Cars, most notably on faux pas, but his curly locks may be
the single "12:51." secret to his sexy guitar magic.
At first glance, Room on Fire sounds like nothing new for the Strokes. A Those are bad for your health,
blend of dueling guitars driven by Nikolai Fraiture's rhythmic bass lines and know: Albert may look great with a
Fabrizio Moretti's pinpoint percussion guide every track. However, this time Stratocaster, but we dare you to find
around we witness the beginnings of the band sonically diversifying. picture of him without a cigarette in
From the opening seconds of "What Ever Happened," the band harbors a mouth. A bachelor with yellow teet
faster, louder sound that hangs on an invisible ledge, preparing to plunge before Good luck, Al!
it's usurped by the distorted "Reptilia."
The freshest aspect of the album is the experimentation of guitarist Nick Fabrizio
Valensi with bolder, more pronounced tones. After reportedly blowing out mul- Moretti (drums)
tiple amplifiers attempting to get the right sound, he was finally able to pinpoint First crsh: Fab
the timbre he was looking for. Sounding like a video game on speed, it's dis- and girlfriend Drew
played primarily on three tracks, "Meet Me in the Bathroom," "Automatic Stop" Barrymore are New
and "12:51." This experimentation is the main divergence from Is This It? and York's hot couple!
displays the band's prowess for incorporating their influences. The lovebirds are
Underneath it all, Casablancas continues to prove he's a misanthrope. He bel- often seen carousing
lows in a raspy, washed out voice "I want to be forgotten / and I don't want to be the city's hottest venues. So hip!
reminded" while reflecting on a failed relationship in "What Ever Happened." Little drummer boy: We know
As the guitars of Albert Hammond Jr. and Valensi growl, he cries, "You talk drumming is an aerobic exercise, bi
way too much / it's only the end," and in "Between Love and Hate" his words yeesh! Get your man a burger, Drev
bounce as he proclaims, "I never needed anybody / I never needed nobody / It
won't change now." Nick Valensi
Julian Casablancas encapsulates Room on Fire on the track "Reptilia," stat- (guitar)
ing, "Please don't slow me down/ if I'm going too fast." The Strokes have found Naughty,
something special in their sound and to change it would be a mistake, though naughty: Nick
showing no progress at all could prove even worse. Room on Fire does nothing reportedly blew sev-
more than build upon the very foundations of Is This It?, but as many bands eral amplifiers trying
before them have proven, sometimes minor alterations are more powerful than to find the perfect tone for "12:51."
radical changes. hope you're a handy man, Nick!
The music world is at a critical point, much like it was 30 years ago when The cute one: Though he has a t
artists were dealing with the task of changing the sonic landscape of the early dency to wear tapered jeans, Nick's
1970s. The Rolling Stones stuck to the sound that made them great, barely hint- chic, messy hair and those oh-so-hig
ing at the notion of one day changing, and they created one of the greatest rock cheek bones make him a favorite w
albums ever. And like Let it Bleed before it, Room on Fire shows a band coming the band's many female fans.
into their own while making a once-perfected sound new again.
Guide to Show Etiquette
November 6, 2003 -
S o you're finally starting to listen to good music. You .
bought your first seven-inch the other day and your
messenger bag is completely covered in one-inch pins.
Good, good. Time to start going to shows. Scared? Don't
worry, my friends, I know how you feel for I was once un-cool
as well. Just follow my 10 simple rules to show etiquette and
you'll blend right in, which is ironically exactly the thing we
people try to avoid. Just go with me here.
1) Never wear the shirt of the band you're about to see.
In the words of Jeremy Piven (in "P.C.U."), "Don't be that
guy." Even worse, never wear the shirt you just bought at
the merch stand. Instead, wear the shirt of a labelmate or a
side project. It shows your obscure music knowledge,
which is important above all else. The general rule of
thumb is to look like you put no effort into your appear-
ance whatsoever, even if that means spending hours
beforehand trying on different under-sized T-shirts and
thrift store pants combinations.
2) Try not to show any interest in the opening bands, or in
anything for that matter. The more apathetic you look, the bet-
ter. Scan the crowd nonchalantly to see if anyone looks cuter
than you and move as far away from that person as possible.
3) If someone asks you about a band you don't know, you
have one of two options to maintain your cred. The first is the
"under the rail" spot. Obtaining this musical Babylon,
however, is a difficult task. Try making up a zine (you
probably write one anyway) and finagling a photo pass.
The door guys are often jerks, so this can backfire with-
out the proper credentials. Instead, try the classic,
"Dude, my girl/boyfriend is up there." If that fails, grab
some water bottles and make your way up on the pre-
tense of being with the band, Mentos style. Remember,
this is only allowed up until the age of 24. At that point,
you must turn in your scene card, shelve your copy of
"Catcher in the Rye" and hang in the back by the bar,
6) Crowd surfing is lame. End of discussion. Also, if you're
that one dude who still thinks it's cool to yell "Play Freebird!"
then call me so I can come over and kick your ass.
7) Do not, I repeat, DO NOT sing along. Quietly mouth the
words to yourself and close your eyes every so often in deep
meditation. If it's an emo show, look down or up and beat your
chest with your right fist, occasionally mussing your perfectly
quaffed hair. If you so feel the need to request a song, make
sure it's a rare B-side that was only released on limited-edition
8) The indie-rock hip sway is the only permissible dance.
That or the rock lobster. It's a case-by-case kind of thing. Try
not to break your composure too much.