11 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even though Julian Casblancas is the singer and main songwriter for the Strokes, he doesn’t pursue the Strokes sound or even emphasize his voice on this debut solo album. Instead, he jams himself into the mix and explores a different take on retro than his retro-garage band. “Out of the Blue” kicks things off with a heavily compressed wall of sound, the soothing ‘oohs’ of the chorus lost in a swirl of ‘60s-inspired guitars and keyboards. “Left & Right In the Dark” begins with a soothing roller-rink organ and processed vocals layered among the staccato guitar licks, sounding like slightly more edgy ‘70s MOR. “11th Dimension” sports happy synthesizers for an ‘80s dance party. “4 Chords of the Apocalypse” channels a ‘60s R&B ballad through the automaton sounds of the ‘80s. “Ludlow St.” throws in a country music lope amidst its cramped keyboard heavy arrangement. “River of Brakelights” ramps up the Gary Numan “Cars” influence as it swings out of control. “Glass” slows things for an electro ballad. “Tourist” closes things out with a swinging gait, some deep bass rumbles and Casablancas’ lazy-man vocals rolling right into the cascading keyboards.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even though Julian Casblancas is the singer and main songwriter for the Strokes, he doesn’t pursue the Strokes sound or even emphasize his voice on this debut solo album. Instead, he jams himself into the mix and explores a different take on retro than his retro-garage band. “Out of the Blue” kicks things off with a heavily compressed wall of sound, the soothing ‘oohs’ of the chorus lost in a swirl of ‘60s-inspired guitars and keyboards. “Left & Right In the Dark” begins with a soothing roller-rink organ and processed vocals layered among the staccato guitar licks, sounding like slightly more edgy ‘70s MOR. “11th Dimension” sports happy synthesizers for an ‘80s dance party. “4 Chords of the Apocalypse” channels a ‘60s R&B ballad through the automaton sounds of the ‘80s. “Ludlow St.” throws in a country music lope amidst its cramped keyboard heavy arrangement. “River of Brakelights” ramps up the Gary Numan “Cars” influence as it swings out of control. “Glass” slows things for an electro ballad. “Tourist” closes things out with a swinging gait, some deep bass rumbles and Casablancas’ lazy-man vocals rolling right into the cascading keyboards.

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About Julian Casablancas

Best known as the lead singer/songwriter of the Strokes, Julian Casablancas was born on August 23, 1978 to Elite Model Agency Group founder John Casablancas and model and former Miss Denmark Jeanette Christiansen. Christiansen's second husband, painter Sam Adoquei, helped shape Casablancas' early musical taste, giving him a Doors album that was a marked difference from the Phil Collins and other pop that he listened to at the time. Casablancas spent part of his teens in the Swiss boarding school Instituit Le Rosey, where he met future Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr., and in New York's Lycee Français high school, where he met Fabrizio Moretti and Nick Valensi. Casablancas began playing with Moretti, Valensi, Hammond, and bassist Nikolai Fraiture in 1998, and dubbed the band the Strokes the following year. The band's 2001 debut album Is This It was a critical and commercial success, and helped put back-to-basics, garage-y rock back on the map alongside bands like the White Stripes and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. 2003's new wave-tinged Room on Fire and 2006's ambitious First Impressions of Earth followed, and the Strokes went on an extended hiatus after touring in support of their third album. Most of Casablancas' bandmates released albums with other projects or on their own: Albert Hammond, Jr. issued two solo albums, 2006's Yours to Keep and 2008's ¿Como Te Llama?; Moretti's band Little Joy released their self-titled debut late in 2008; and Time of the Assassins, the debut album from Fraiture's project Nickel Eye, appeared in early 2009. During this time, Casablancas collaborated with other artists, playing Casio guitar on "Sick, Sick, Sick" from Queens of the Stone Age's 2007 album Era Vulgaris and collaborating with Santigold and Pharrell on the song "My Drive Thru" for a 2008 Converse Shoes ad campaign. He also recorded with the Lonely Island, Danger Mouse, and Sparklehorse. Casablancas began recording his solo debut album in 2008 with producer Jason Lader and Bright Eyes' Mike Mogis; Phrazes for the Young, which featured denser, more free-flowing songs than the Strokes' albums, arrived in fall 2009. After returning to the Strokes for 2011's Angles and 2013's Comedown Machine, he formed another band, the Voidz, to help flesh out the songs he had accumulated. The results were 2014's Tyranny, a dense, sprawling work inspired by Casablancas' love of '80s punk like Black Flag and his political outrage.

~ Heather Phares

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