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The Strokes

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The Strokes


Largely responsible for the skinny tie and white belt fashion revival as well as the musical revalidation of the 1980s post-punk CBGB sound (as well as the turn of the century trend of plural noun-based band monikers), New York City's fortunate sons the Strokes stylishly exploded onto the scene in 2001 during the heyday of Manhattan's Club Shout! (still an ongoing mecca for hipsters at Gramercy Park's Bar 13 on Sunday nights). Almost every article published about them name-checks Iggy Pop, Lou Reed and Tom Verlaine (including this one), and that's accurate to a point, but the Strokes aren't the same kind of dangerous freaks with a genius ear like their progenitors. They're just a no-nonsense rock band that likes to write catchy songs. Singer Julian Casablancas is heir to the throne of his father, model agency demigod John Casablancas, and the rest of the members are products of expensive Manhattan private schools, so the band was poised for some kind of material success from day one. But unlike most rich kids in bands, this one came with a chemistry that was undeniably good, so good that Rough Trade released their The Modern Age EP in 2001 shortly following the band's first live appearance. They signed to RCA and released Is This It the same year amidst a media blitz of hype that both helped and hindered them. While their debut album yielded a hearty handful of hits (and countless cover stories of adoration from the U.K. and U.S. press) with their Velvet Underground-by-way-of-Television geometric cool, 2003's Room on Fire suffered from the inevitable backlash that only British journalists can dish out. To their credit, the Strokes went for a slightly different approach with 2006's First Impressions of Earth, smoothing out the angularity of their previous song structures into a more rounded rock 'n' roll approach, but ironically they seem to have been overshadowed by the neophyte bands born in the wake of Strokes hype (see Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, the Libertines, etc).
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