Wednesday, April 6, 2011

They Came, They Saw, They Rocked The Ed Sullivan Theater

The Strokes' new album, Angles, has been in heavy rotation at CSD headquaters since it was released two weeks ago. The release of The Strokes' first album, Is This It?, was so heavily promoted that even now, nine and a half years later, they are unfairly criticized in some circles for never quite becoming the rock 'n' roll saviors some had expected them to be. Too often, the straight-forward pleasures of their sketchy lyrics, bored vocals, and arched-back treble guitar solos were taken for granted, and even their visual imagery - unwashed hair, thrift store t-shirts, black leather, affectless body language - was never as derivative as it seemed, in hindsight, once their popularity had created a new set of rock cliches. As a result, The Strokes have the seemingly contradictory position of being simultaneously one of the most popular and the most underrated bands in our iPods. Hopefully Angles' great songs will remind everybody of what all of the fuss was about in the first place.

Here's video of their appearance on Letterman last week:

I mentioned earlier that this was The Strokes' fourth appearance on Letterman. I still remember their first appearance, in November 2001, and loving the casual downtown leather-jacket insouciance that they embodied. As cool as they looked, it wouldn't have mattered if they didn't also sound great, living up to our expectations and redeeming almost a year of music-industry hype machine promotion.


Senor Beavis said...

I'm so old that I remember "Under the Cover of Darkness" back when it was U2's "Angel of Harlem." Royalties!

brian said...

Thanks for the posting, Wade. I, too, have always been on The Strokes' bandwagon, despite some rather significant ridicule by friends. I think their story is a product of the hype machine - a band puts out a great album, critics heap loads of praise, marketing types swarm to "sell their garage rock look" (see: Nirvana and "grunge"), and the inevitable hipster backlash begins.

Speaking of which, I think I need to start a band just so I can name it "hipster backlash." So ironic.