Rather than get worked up in whispers of The Strokes planning a sixth album, (the EP wasn’t enough) perhaps it’s time you delved deeper into the band’s solo projects. Just a little listen to the released singles and you’ll find that as much as the styles vary, they all maintain a hint of the NYC garage sound that they made their own in the early 2000’s.
Casablancas has headlined festivals with and without The Voidz, yet fans of The Strokes may find his solo efforts a tad synth happy. When listening to single ‘11th Dimension’ off his debut album, Phrazes for the Young (2009) you’re hit with an intro that could be described as futuristic pop. This electric influence mostly evaded The Strokes first three records, but can be heard in the two releases that follow Casablancas’ first solo stunt.
Having since collaborated with Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams, it’s clear to see that the space-age style resonates with the lead singer, yet that’s not to say he’s lost his grungy roots. Track, ‘Where No Eagles Fly’ is full of feedback and distortion, while ‘I Like the Night’ proves he hasn’t veered too far from the reputable Strokes sound.
Albert Hammond Jr.
The guitarist released his first of three solo albums, Yours to Keep in 2006, and while his signature twangy guitar riffs remain, he separates himself from The Strokes scene with his vocals. Starting with a much rawer foundation than Casablancas, Hammond’s tracks often feature no more than two or three instruments. This stripped back approach leaves plenty of room for his voice to be the forefront of his releases.
A first time listener might be surprised just how soothing Hammond’s pipes are, yet in hindsight you have every reason not to be. His father was an established singer-songwriter, and it seems the gene pool has treated Hammond Jr well. With this being said, the standout tracks for the artist tend to be the releases where his voice is explored the most. ‘In Transit’ off his first record, ‘GfC’ off his second and ‘Born Slippy’ from last year’s release, all showcase a range that may have you wondering why he hasn’t featured on more Strokes tracks.
Fraiture’s album debut and only solo album, The Time Of The Assassins (under the name, Nickel Eye) is a nod along, foot tapping master class. If it were a soundtrack, the film would be an indie country western, where the protagonist is as scary as he is intriguing. Proven no more than with track ‘Back From Exile’. You only need to hear the first 10 seconds of opening track, ‘Intro (Every Time)’ to know the songwriter is primarily a bassist. Vocal wise, it’s a deep, sometimes lingering voice, but it hovers along with the catchy riffs perfectly.
Fraiture is also the bassist for indie group, Summer Moon, who have announced they’re currently working on a new album.
It was only announced a couple of weeks ago that guitarist Nick Valensi had started up a band called CRX. Not much is known, yet it looks like slender lead guitarist will be taking up vocal duties.
A couple of shows through the USA have already sold out, with Strokes fandom being big enough to create hype. Judging off social promos and Instagram footage, the sound is a little more psych, with Valensi having a licence to go a bit more experimental with his treasured six-string.
The Strokes’ Brazilian drummer has released albums with two other bands; Little Joy and Megapuss.
Together with Los Hermanos singer and guitarist, Rodrigo Amarante, Little Joy released a self titled debut album in 2008. It’s easy, catchy, beach-side listening where the drummer also takes up backing vocals. Megapuss, which included Devendra Benhart, released one album Surfing in 2008. As the name suggests, it’s a laid-back album that has South American vibes tenfold.