The secret to the Strokes success is the way they blend to art and the artifice. One fantastically well-rehearsed group of musicians hitting on lockstep, and a singer who slyly shifts from being coy and aloof one minute, surprisingly direct another. That shit works, at least for me it does. When it's not "Juicebox", anyway.
I'll confess to being a smidge skeptical about the prospects of an Albert Hammond, Jr. solo album. I mean, isn't Johnny Marr proving right now that being part of a great band is infinitely better than say, being the principal party to Boomslang. Turns out I needn't have worried. First, you apparently cannot take the Stroke out of the Strokes without yadda yadda blah. Hammond's guitar work on his Yours To Keep still rings with otherworldly precision as it slinks out the sort of chiming melodies and fingertip singing solos that have powered the Strokes over three records. Here's the great part, though: as a frontman, Hammond brings an altogether different sort of artifice--and it turns out to be really enjoyable. Vocally, Hammond is more intimate, more broken in--like the spine of familiar book or a comfortable shoe. And he seems to be supremely capable of channelling the same sort of golden Cali sounds his father famously did. Different strokes, then, for yadda yadda blah.
Hammond, Jr. will be at the 9:30 Club tomorrow night with the Mooney Suzuki, who have suffered mightily at the hands of The Matrix. (Haven't we all.) Tickets are $15. I, of course, can't go, but you should!
We could get used to this: Another Tuesday, another great three band lineup at the Rock and Roll Hotel. This weekm Wife of DCeiver came along because she is on Spring Break and had some time to kill before the next beer bong and wet T-shirt contest. Leafblower, I guess, wasn't born to play on a team, because he did not come tonight, as expected. (And where were Les Pygmalies? I thought they were fans, but they had pre-emptively ghosted the spot as well.) Company was had in the form of our friend P. Vo, Read Express blogger guru Mike Grass and his friend Ben.
Stars of Track and Field and the Long Winters put out two of my favorite records from last year, The Broken West have so far done right by me this year. There are disparities to be had between all three bands, but there's nothing like a little variety, especially at the nice price of 12 bucks.
I like the whole space-rock thing the SofT&F do, and if we can take what's been leaked at face value, you will be glad to have The Broken West around once the dull dishwater triteness of the new Wilco jawn finally hits you full in the face.
But The Long Winters...man. They are on another level entirely. Just a great, great band. Love their hooky melodies, love the way the songs skip and jump like a heart murmur, especially love the way they've got these big refrains that feel like they are all misshapen and weird but then they come together and leave you feeling all: like, wo! But it's really all about the John Roderick, man. Instantly engaging, Roderick had me in a good fucking mood before he was through the first verse of "Teaspoon." One of the best frontmen I've ever had the pleasure of watching. They played a great set, "It's a Departure," "Honest," "Shapes," "Cinnamon", "Carparts"--so many great fucking songs. Probably the high point though was hearing their fucktastically beautiful take on the Challenger disaster, "The Commander Thinks Aloud" and the so-perfect-its-sick "Hindsight." Believe me: if you EVER get to see this band, see them. I already wish they were coming back. But it will be awhile: Roderick says they'll soon be back in Seattle to work on their next record.
He also wanted to pass along the info that every band in Seattle is in need of a bass player. But, then, you already knew that.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007