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Translating the new Strokes album

Translating the new Strokes album

I enjoyed this the other day, from an article on Aerosmith over at Grantland:

"Among other things, [1974 Aerosmith album] Get Your Wings invented The Strokes in 30 seconds, 30 years in advance, with this song."

Reasonable point. Does that mean that in some phase—if they keep going—the Strokes will end up (co-)writing flowery ballads about an asteroid hurtling towards the earth? Hopefully. Logically.

Today the Strokes announced they will release their fifth album Comedown Machine on March 22nd. There's no mention of ballads (or much else), but the album cover (see above) does boast three selling points.

Let's unpack them:

"Extra Strength"

Translation: dubstep.

Now unshackled from their skinny youth and facing middle age, the band have hit the gym to bulk up. In doing so they've discovered the soothing effects that the songs of dubstep pioneers Skrillex, Muse and that bit in that Taylor Swift song can have on their workout routine. Imagine 'Last Nite' with a massive drop just before the outro. Sick.

"Splice Free"

Translation: One track recording.

The band famously recorded their debut Is This It? live in a room with minimal studio interference. On Comedown Machine, the band have taken this DIY approach to its logical conclusion. The new album begins with Fab Morretti pressing record on his iPhone's voice memo app while looking for his keys. The ensuing 37:49 minute audio recording follows the drummer as he drives from his home in upstate New York, down the Long Island Expressway while whistling, chewing on a muffin and listening to Aerosmith. After entering a small loft and participating in a brief band rehearsal, he presses stop on the app just as he prepares to flush.

"Professional Standard"

Translation: Julian showed up.

On last Strokes record Angles, singer Julian Casablancas recorded all of his vocals separately from the group, sending them to his bandmates via email. Guitarist Nick Valensi told Pitchfork:

"I won't do the next album we make like this. No way. It was awful-- just awful. Working in a fractured way, not having a singer there. I'd show up certain days and do guitar takes by myself, just me and the engineer. Some of the third album was done that way, but at least we were on the same page about what the arrangements and parts were. Seventy-five percent of this album felt like it was done together and the rest of it was left hanging, like some of us were picking up the scraps and trying to finish a puzzle together."

Mystery no more.

Listen to new song 'One Way Trigger' below.

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