Throw on a black leather jacket and front one of the most celebrated bands of the '00s, and you've got yourself the coolest kid from Manhattan. Julian Casablancas has had a pretty sweet life: son of the founder of Elite Model Management, the product of an Upper West Side education, and lead singer and songwriter for the Strokes. On hiatus after the band's 2006 First Impressions of Earth, many of his fellow bandmates branched out with other projects (Albert Hammond Jr., Little Joy, Nickel Eye), while Casablancas did an ad spot with Converse and collaborated with artists like Queens of the Stone Age, the Lonely Island, and Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse. He finally started work on his debut, Phrazes For the Young, in 2009. Going solo allowed him to explore sounds not fit for the Strokes' grittier garage-post-punk. Ditching the CBGB vibe for a more neon-lit ambiance, Casablancas floods his solo work with '80s-inspired synths. The electronic experimentation reveals his more playful, upbeat side, even as his half-apathetic, half-ominous croons can't help but expose his inherent Manhattan cool.