Is This It is the debut studio album by American indie rock band The Strokes. Recorded at Transporterraum in New York City with producer Gordon Raphael, the album was first released on July 30, 2001 in Australia, with RCA Records as the primary label. The record entered the UK Albums Chart at number two and peaked at number 33 on the U.S. Billboard 200, going on to achieve platinum status in several markets. "Hard to Explain", "Last Nite", and "Someday" were released as singles.
For the album, The Strokes strove to capture a simple rock sound that was not significantly enhanced in the studio. Building on the work of their 2001 debut EP, The Modern Age, the band members molded compositions largely through live takes during the recording sessions, while lyricist Julian Casablancas continued to detail the lives and relationships of urban youth. Following the completion of Is This It, The Strokes embarked on a promotional world tour before its release. The album's cover photograph courted controversy for being too sexually explicit and was replaced for the U.S. market. The American track listing was also amended in light of the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Promoted by the music press for a melodic pop-influenced sound, The Strokes garnered critical acclaim and commercial attention. Is This It was praised for its charisma and rhythm, which often referenced the works of 1970s garage rock bands. The record is considered crucial in the development of other alternative bands and of the post-millennial music industry. It has featured in several publications' lists of the best albums of the 2000s and of all time.
In 1997, The Strokes consisted of singer Julian Casablancas, guitarist Nick Valensi, bassist Nikolai Fraiture, and drummer Fabrizio Moretti. Casablancas's stepfather and Moretti's and Fraiture's older brothers introduced the quartet to the music of reggae artist Bob Marley, protopunk group The Velvet Underground, and alternative rock band Jane's Addiction. Discussing the formative stages of the group, Moretti noted, "Our music was, like, , but trying to be classical. We all took music classes and tried writing songs, and when we put them together they were this crazy amalgam of insane ideas that we thought was really cool." In 1998, Albert Hammond, Jr., who Casablancas knew from his time at a Swiss boarding school, moved to New York City to attend film school and joined The Strokes as a second guitarist. His arrival provided the catalyst for the band's musical and emotional evolution.Roach, p. 25
By 2000, all band members had part-time jobs and were practicing new material several nights a week in a small hired recording space. In the fall of that year, their demo caught the attention of Ryan Gentles, a talent booker at New York City's Mercury Lounge. He scheduled The Strokes for four December gigs. With support from personal mentor JP Bowersock and producer Gordon Raphael, the band recorded three tracks which later appeared on Is This It: "The Modern Age", "Last Nite", and "Barely Legal". British label Rough Trade Records was impressed by the songs and released them as a January 2001 EP titled The Modern Age. Music press reaction was very positive and The Strokes embarked on a sold-out UK tour, followed by U.S. support slots for alternative rock groups Doves and Guided by Voices. Gentles quit his job to manage the band full-time and, in March 2001, The Strokes signed to RCA Records after a protracted bidding war.
Recording and production
After the deal with RCA, The Strokes started working with Gil Norton, who had produced recordings for alternative rock group Pixies. Although a rapport developed between the two parties, the band remained unhappy at the results of preliminary sessions which sounded "too clean" and "too pretentious"; the three songs recorded with Norton were scrapped.Roach, p. 68 Like The Modern Age, Is This It was eventually recorded with Gordon Raphael at Transporterraum in Manhattan's East Village in New York City. The studio is located in a basement with poor lighting, but despite its poor infrastructure, it includes modern Pro Tools Digital Audio Workstation hardware. The Strokes liked Raphael's lack of ego and formed a good collaborative relationship with the producer.
Before recording started, both parties organized a listening session with the musical material Hammond and Casablancas had brought to show the tone and energy they liked. One of the prerequisites mentioned at the meeting was to take what was happening in music at the time, and go in a completely different direction. Casablancas wanted Is This It to sound like "a band from the past that took a time trip into the future to make their record". The approach for the album became more studied than that of The Modern Age. The group wanted the majority of songs to sound like them playing live, while they requested a few others to be like "a weird, in-studio production with a drum machine, even though no drum machine was used". The songs of the latter type were done track-by-track and were crafted into non-standard rock arrangements. Raphael's background in industrial music played a large part in the album's conception.
During six weeks in the studio, The Strokes' gritty sound became the emphasis of the sessions.Roach, p. 70 The band usually recorded songs only once, based on Casablancas's preference for "raw efficiency". RAT effects pedals and overdriving amplifiers were used at times, "taking sounds, disintegrating them and then bringing them back". The band wanted things to be only slightly stressed, with no heavy-handedness in terms of studio effects; only distortion and reverse echo were widely used. Throughout the process, Raphael improvised off the reactions that he got from the group. At one point, he had to cope with the threat of eviction from his Transporterraum studio, but once The Strokes received backing from RCA, time and money were no longer pressing concerns. The label's A&R delegate initially did not like what had been recorded and felt that the album was not going to be professional enough. The producer and the band were given complete control only when Casablancas persuaded the delegate by playing him some of the new material on a boom box.
Inspired by The Velvet Underground's production and the direct approach of punk rock band Ramones, the miking scheme for the drum kit included only three microphones: one above it, one for the bass drum, and one in the corner of the studio.Roach, p. 61 It was crafted to capture "a compressed, explosive sound". On Moretti's advice, the transfer from the two loud guitars and the rumble of the bass picked up by the drum-kit microphones was not eliminated. The guitars were recorded more simply; Hammond and Valensi both used Fender DeVille amps on opposite sides of the room, while Raphael positioned a mic on each. The sound was then fed directly into a preamp with no equalization. Valensi commented that guitar teacher and mentor Bowersock was invaluable because he was articulating things to the producer that the group could not.Roach, p. 71 While the rest of The Strokes played to a click track, Casablancas sang through a small Peavey practice amp to retain a sense of low fidelity on the album. Raphael mixed as he went along to maintain control of the record until the final mastering stage; the producer aimed to show The Strokes a final product as soon as the band finished performing a track.
Promotion and release
Strokes06.PNGthumbright200pxalt=Two guitarists, a drummer, a bassist, and a vocalist are performing a song live on a stage lit by red and blue lights. The crowd, some of whom have their hands in the air, are visible in the foreground.The Strokes in concert
Following the album's completion, The Strokes performed at Philadelphia music venues on every Wednesday of May 2001. The band revealed the track listing of Is This It on May 15. A June headlining tour of the UK and Ireland was also confirmed, and almost immediately after the announcement, some venues sold out. "Hard to Explain" was named as the album's first single with a release date of June 25 to coincide with the tour. At the time, Moretti stated, "In Britain, people are much more responsive ... I'm so psyched to be going back, every show we played people were enjoying it. There's a lot of people here in America who think we've had it too easy, but they have never really heard the music."
Following The Strokes' June 20 show in Glasgow, Moretti suffered an awkward fall and was hospitalized with a broken hand. Two of the last five UK gigs were canceled and a friend of the group, Matt Romano, flew to England to replace the injured drummer in the remaining concerts. In a press release, Gentles explained, "They will only carry on if they feel that they are 100% after rehearsing with Matt, as they wouldn't offer anything less to their fans." With Romano as a substitute, the band managed to satisfy the outstanding commitments. Live recorded versions of "Hard To Explain", its B-side "New York City Cops", and "Last Nite" from The Modern Age EP aired on UK music show Top of the Pops on June 29, 2001. The Strokes headlined the T in the Park festival in Scotland on July 7 after alternative rock group Weezer pulled out. A large part of the month of July was spent performing in cities in the West Coasts of America and Canada.
Is This It was released in Australia on July 30, 2001 to capitalize on The Strokes' recent tour of the country. The record was streamed on Australian websites by the band's distributor BMG and remained available for listening even after the CD release. Geoff Travis, head of The Strokes' UK label Rough Trade, commented that the Australian continent had "special dispensation" and that an export ban was put in place to ensure no interferences with release plans in the rest of the world. The Japanese release date of August 22 was timed to occur after two one-off shows by the band at the Summer Sonic Festival, while the UK release of August 27 coincided with the Reading and Leeds Festivals. The September 11 terrorist attacks in New York City postponed the group's CMJ Music Marathon performance, and shifted RCA's U.S. release of Is This It from September 25 to October 9. A newly recorded song, "When It Started", replaced "New York City Cops" on the CD version of the album after The Strokes witnessed the "valiant response" of the city's police department during the tragedy. The vinyl release retained the original track list.Roach, p. 96
The July and August 2001 cover art of Is This It is by Colin Lane and features a photograph of a woman's nude bottom and hip, with a leather-gloved hand suggestively resting on it. The model was later revealed to be Lane's then-girlfriend, who explained that the photoshoot was spontaneous and happened after she came out of the shower naked. Lane recalled that a stylist had left the glove in his apartment and noted, "We did about 10 shots. There was no real inspiration, I was just trying to take a sexy picture." The result was included in the book The Greatest Album Covers of All Time, in which Grant Scott, one of the editors, noted influences from the daring works of Helmut Newton and Guy Bordin in its design. Scott concludes, "It’s either a stylish or graphically strong cover or a sexist Smell the Glove travesty." Although British retail chains HMV and Woolworths objected to the photograph's controversial nature, they stocked the album without amendment.
The group deliberately left out the grammatically correct question mark from the album title because aesthetically, "it did not look right".Roach, p. 77 The booklet insert contains stylized separate portraits of The Strokes, Raphael, Gentles, and Bowersock, all photographed by Lane.Roach, p. 71 For the American market and the October 2001 release, the cover art of Is This It was changed to a microscopic close-up of particle collisions. RCA product manager Dave Gottlieb commented that "it was straight up a band decision", while Gentles indicated that Casablancas had wanted it to appear globally. According to the band's manager, the frontman phoned him before the Japan and Europe release and said, "I found something even cooler than the a ... picture." At the time, the Lane photograph was already at the presses and was included in the July and August 2001 versions. The Strokes' 2003 biography mentions the fear of objections from America's conservative retail industry and right-wing lobby as reasons for the artwork's alteration.
Casablancas's writing observes life in New York City and the relationships formed in such a metropolis. Exemplifying this theme, "The Modern Age" is a rant about the oddness of modern life.Roach, p. 32 "Barely Legal" concerns the subject matter of a girl who has just arrived at the age of consent. Discussing its risqué nature, Moretti has stated, "It should be taken the way you interpret it. The lyrics mean different things to different people."Roach, p. 33 "Alone, Together" continues the sexual theme by dropping hints about cunnilingus,Roach, p. 76 while the yelp at the start of "New York City Cops" was created as a pastiche of rock band Aerosmith. During the studio sessions, Casablancas introduced tracks with comic lines and some quips were used when the album was mixed.
All songs on Is This It were mixed using 11 audio tracks or less. According to Valensi, the album contains "no gimmicks, no tricks" to try to get the listener to like the compositions. It opens with the title track, which features a simple, metronomic drum line, a recurring feature in the rest of the record. Containing one of the slowest tempos, "Is This It" is The Strokes' attempt at a ballad. "The Modern Age" follows and includes a prominent guitar riff accompanied by a complementary drum line. Its staccato verse is followed by an upbeat, singalong chorus and a technically difficult guitar solo. Discussing the album's simplicity and measured approach, Valensi has commented, "We don't put in a guitar solo just to have one." "Soma" incorporates jerky rhythms and starts and ends with the same guitar and drum chimes, while "Barely Legal" contains some of the album's softer guitar melodies inspired by Britpop as well as drumming patterns that evoke the sound of primitive 1980s drum machines.
The fifth track on the record, "Someday", is infused with rockabilly elements and interlocking guitar lines, the latter a recurring element of Is This It. "Alone, Together" is driven by a staccato rhythm, and climaxes first with a guitar solo, then a repeat of the central guitar hook. "Last Nite" is also a guitar-driven song, but leans towards pop music influences. At its core, there are reggae-inspired rhythm guitar lines played by Hammond, and studio noise effects. The rhythm section plays simple interlocking notes and beats. Like "Soma", "Hard to Explain" contains processed drum tracks using dynamic range compression and equalization studio techniques to make them sound like a drum machine. The song incorporates spliced ad-libbing extras from Casablancas, a feature also used on "New York City Cops". "Trying Your Luck", the album's mellowest point, follows and shows more melancholic vocals. The last track on Is This It, "Take It or Leave It", is the only song in which Hammond used the bridge pickup of his Fender Stratocaster guitar.
Is This It was a commercial success and entered the UK Albums Chart at number two after first week sales of 48,393 copies. The record was listed at number 71 on the UK Albums Chart for 2001 and was certified gold by the British Phonographic Industry after charting continuously from its release in August to the end of the year. In the U.S., Is This It entered the Billboard 200 at number 74 after selling 16,000 units in the first week. 20,000 copies were shipped in America per week from October 2001 to January 2002, when a performance by The Strokes on nationwide TV show Saturday Night Live caused a temporary rise in sales. A 60% increase allowed the album to reach a peak of number 33 on the Billboard 200 from its previous high of 63.
Is This It was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America in February 2002 for shipments of 500,000 copies in the U.S. Also in 2002, the album attained platinum status in the UK and in Australia for sales of 500,000 and 70,000 copies respectively. The average U.S. weekly sales were 7,000 by October 2002, when the reissue of the album with a bonus DVD caused an increase. By October 2003, the record had spent 58 weeks on the Billboard 200 since its release two years earlier, selling 900,000 copies in America; two million copies were sold worldwide. Is This It was certified platinum in Canada in 2004 after 100,000 units were shipped there. By the start of 2006, the album had sold over 600,000 copies in UK and over one million units in the U.S. The album was certified platinum by the RIAA in February 2011 for shipments of 1,000,000 copies in the U.S.
Media response to Is This It was extremely favorable; aggregating website Metacritic reports a normalized rating of 90%, based on 25 critical reviews. Joe Levy of Rolling Stone explained that the record is "the stuff of which legends are made", and summed it up as "more joyful and intense than anything else I've heard this year". Robert Christgau, writing in The Village Voice, described The Strokes as "a great groove band", and noted that "the beats implode, clashing/resolving with punky brevity and gnarly faux simplicity". In a perfect 10 review, NME reviewer John Robinson indicated that Is This It was one of the best debut LPs by a guitar band during the past 20 years. In contrast, Jon Monks of Stylus commented that its shallowness prevents it from ever being called a "classic". In his favorable A– review, David Browne of Entertainment Weekly conceded that he did not know whether The Strokes would have a long term impact, but noted that, at the time, the record "just feels right, and sometimes that's enough".
Mark Lepage of Blender claimed that Is This It is similar to the works of 1970s bands The Velvet Underground, Television, and The Feelies. Pitchfork Media's Ryan Schreiber suggested that, while the work of The Velvet Underground is an obvious inspiration for The Strokes, the band's only similarity to the other groups is the confidence with which they perform. Allmusic's Heather Phares concluded, "Granted, their high-fashion appeal and faultless influences ... have 'critics' darlings' written all over them. But like the similarly lauded Elastica and Supergrass before them, the Strokes don't rehash the sounds that inspire them—they remake them in their own image."
Is This It was named the best album of 2001 by Billboard, CMJ, Entertainment Weekly, NME, Playlouder, and Time. Magnet and The New Yorker included it in their respective unnumbered shortlists of the best records issued that year. It figured highly in other end-of-year best album lists: at number two by The Herald, at number three by Mojo, at number five by The New York Times, at number eight by Rolling Stone and by USA Today, and at number nine by The Boston Phoenix. The record featured at number two behind Bob Dylan's Love and Theft in The Village Voices 2001 Pazz & Jop critics' poll, which aggregated the votes of 621 prominent reviewers. In 2002, Is This It was named Best Album at the NME Awards and Best International Album at the Meteor Music Awards. It was nominated in the latter category at the Brit Awards, where The Strokes won Best International Newcomer and received a nomination in the Best International Group category. The same year, the quintet won Band Of The Year and Best New Act at the NME Awards and was nominated in the latter category at the MTV Europe Music Awards.
Gary Mulholland of The Observer considers the release of Is This It a "world-changing moment" and notes that its impact was "immediate and dramatic" on both music and attire. BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe suggests that the album moved popular opinion from DJs and pop music to "skinny jeans and guitars", "the template for rock 'n' roll in the modern day". Tam Gunn of FACT agrees and explains that it "caused a sea change" in mainstream music in the U.S. and the UK, while Anthony Miccio of Stylus points out that The Strokes' success created the commercial context for "other new-wavers" to flourish. Rolling Stone writes that Is This It inspired "a ragged revolt" in Britain, led by The Libertines and Arctic Monkeys, and continued its influence in the U.S. on the success of bands like Kings of Leon. The Observer shares a similar view and concludes that "a fine brood of heirs", like The Libertines and Franz Ferdinand, would not have existed and been successful if The Strokes had not reinvigorated "rock's obsession with having a good time". Jared Followill of Kings of Leon notes that the album was one of the main reasons that he wanted to get into a band; he states, "The title track was one of the first basslines I learned ... I was just 15 at the time."
Jed Gottlieb of the Boston Herald argues that, although Is This It provided substantial musical influence, its biggest success was in revamping the music industry and making A&R delegates scout and promote alternative bands. Gunn links the success of alternative music in British charts throughout the 2000s to the album, but notes that "the copyists" could never match the attention to detail and heartfelt emotion of The Strokes. Mulholland adds that even the pop stars of that decade who rediscovered disco, electro, and synthpop owe a debt to the record, because its commercial success "made every forgotten art-pop experiment of the late 70s and early 80s instantly hip and ripe for reinvention". Hamish MacBain of NME writes that "the western world has moved on, and is now swinging to the tune of Is This It", while Pitchfork Media's Joe Colly suggests that "you only capture this kind of a lightning in a bottle once". Gunn concludes that, while the status of the album as the 2000s' most influential guitar record may be "a double-edged sword" because of poor quality copyists, its status as the decade's best pop album should not be in doubt.
In 2003, Is This It was ranked at number seven in NMEs editorial staff list of the 100 Best Albums, while Rolling Stone included it at number 367 in its special issue of the "500 Greatest Albums of All Time". In 2005, Spin placed it at number 100 in its list of the 100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005, while Stylus included it at number four in its list of the Top 50 Albums of 2000–2005. In 2006, Is This It was ranked at number 48 by The Observer in the publication's list of The 50 Albums That Changed Music, while Mojo featured it at number 33 in its list of 100 Modern Classics, 1993–2006. In 2007, Q included the record at number 21 in its editorial staff list of the 21 Albums That Changed Music. In 2008, Entertainment Weekly ranked it at number 34 in its list of the 100 Best Albums, 1983–2008.
In 2009, Is This It was ranked as the best record of the 2000s by NME, ahead of The Libertines' Up the Bracket, and at number two by Rolling Stone, behind Radiohead's Kid A, in their respective lists decided by the publications' staff and music industry members. FACT placed it at number two behind Burial's Untrue in its editorial list of the 100 Best: Albums of the Decade, while Billboard featured it at number three in its critics' picks of the 20 Best Albums of the 2000s. The same year, The Observer included Is This It at number four in its Albums of the Decade list, while Uncut ranked it at number five in its list of The 150 Greatest Albums Of The 21st Century. The Times placed it at number six in its list of The 100 Best Pop Albums of the Noughties, while Pitchfork Media featured it at number seven in its staff list of The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s. In 2010, Stylus ranked Is This It at number six in its list of the Top Albums of the previous decade. The record is included in both The Guardians "1000 Albums To Hear Before You Die" and the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Those involved in the making of Is This It are:
*Julian Casablancas – vocals
*Nikolai Fraiture – bass guitar
*Albert Hammond, Jr. – guitar
*Fabrizio Moretti – drums
*Nick Valensi – guitar
*JP Bowersock – consultant
*Greg Calbi – mastering
*Gordon Raphael – producer, mixing
*Colin Lane – photography, cover art (non-U.S. and Canada)
*European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) – cover art (U.S. and Canada)
#0|194666|Killin' Time|Studio album|Clint Black|May 2, 1989|Country|RCA|Killin' Time(1989)|30:30|James Stroud and Mark Wright|Put Yourself in My Shoes(1990)||Digital Services, Houston, Texas; House of David, Sound Stage, Woodland Studios, Reflections, Nashville, Tennessee|*Allmusic|Clint Black|Killin' Time (Clint Black album)
Killin' Time is the 1989 (see 1989 in music) debut album by swing-country singer-songwriter Clint Black. The album, buoyed by the chart-topping success of its first four singles, was a huge hit upon its release, and established Black as one of the biggest new stars in country music.
"A Better Man", "Nothing's News", "Walking Away", "Nobody's Home", and "Killin' Time" were all huge hit songs. All of these except "Nothing's News" reached Number One on the Billboard Hot Country Singles and Hot Country Singles & Tracks (now Hot Country Songs) chart, while "Nothing's News" reached #3. In addition, "A Better Man" and "Nobody's Home" were declared the Number One songs of 1989 and 1990, respectively, according to Billboard.
*Clint Black – acoustic guitar, harmonica, lead vocals, background vocals
*Dick Gay – Drums
*Rob Hajacos – fiddle
*Jana King – background vocals
*Randy McCormick – keyboards
*Craig Morris – background vocals
*Hayden Nicholas – acoustic guitar, electric guitar, background vocals
*Mark O'Connor – fiddle
*John Permenter – fiddle
*Jeff Peterson – Dobro, steel guitar
*Jim Photoglo – background vocals
*Donna Rhodes – background vocals
*Brent Rowan – electric guitar
*Harry Stinson – background vocals
*Wendy Waldman – background vocals
*Jake Willemain – bass guitar
*Reggie Young—electric guitar
*Milan Bogdan – editing
*Bill Ham – executive producer
*Steve Lindsey – production coordinator
*Glenn Meadows – mastering
*Lynn Peterzell – engineer, mixing
*Scott Poston – production coordinator
*James Stroud – producer
*Mark Wright – producer
*Killin' Time . 1989. RCA Records.
*. Allmusic. Retrieved on March 10, 2003.
*. Billboard. Retrieved on March 10, 2003.
*. Billboard. Retrieved on March 10, 2003.
Category:Clint Black albums
Category:RCA Records albums
Category:Albums produced by James StroudThis text has been derived from Is This It on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0
The Strokes are an American rock band formed in 1998 in New York City. The band consists of Julian Casablancas (lead vocals), Nick Valensi (guitar), Albert Hammond, Jr. (guitar), Nikolai Fraiture (bass guitar) and Fabrizio Moretti (drums and percussion). The Strokes have been named one of the most prominent indie bands to emerge in the 21st century.
Upon the release of their debut album Is This It in 2001, the group met much critical acclaim. Since then, the band has maintained a large fan base, mostly in the UK, US, Canada and Australia. A number of members have embarked on a variety of side projects, although a fourth album, entitled Angles, is in preparation for release on March 22, 2011.
Beginnings and The Modern Age EP (1998-2001)
Lead singer-songwriter Julian Casablancas, guitarist Nick Valensi, and drummer Fab Moretti started playing together while attending Dwight School in Manhattan. Bassist Nikolai Fraiture had been friends with Casablancas and was attending the Lycée Français de New York. At age 13, Casablancas was sent to Le Rosey, a boarding school in Switzerland to improve his academic performance. In Switzerland, Casablancas met guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr.
Later, when Hammond came to New York to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, he shared an apartment with Casablancas. They started a band which first performed at Luna Lounge on the Lower East Side of New York, and at Manhattan's popular Mercury Lounge. Ryan Gentles, the Mercury Lounge's booker, quit his job to become the band's manager.
The band began rehearsing a fourteen song set which included "Last Nite", "The Modern Age", "This Life" (an early version of "Trying Your Luck"), "New York City Cops", "Soma" and "Someday". Most of these songs now feature different lyrics. A demo sent to the newly reformed Rough Trade Records in the UK sparked interest there, leading to their first release via the website of the UK magazine NME who gave away a free mp3 download of "Last Nite" a week prior to the physical release as part of The Modern Age EP in 2001. The EP sparked a bidding war among record labels; the largest for a rock and roll band in years.
Is This It (2001-2002)
The Strokes released their debut album Is This It in the US in October 2001 on RCA after some delay due to changes made from the UK-released version (released August 27, 2001). The cover of the latter features a black-and-white photo of a gloved hand on a woman's naked backside, shown in semi-profile. The naked model on the cover was photographer Colin Lane's girlfriend at the time. The North American version replaces this with an image of particle collisions in the Big European Bubble Chamber and replaced the song "New York City Cops" with "When It Started". The replacement of "New York City Cops", which contains the refrain "New York City Cops, they ain't too smart", was made in good faith following the September 11 attacks. "New York City Cops" was listed as #12 on New York Magazines "Ultimate New York Playlist" on March 1, 2010.
The melodic garage rock sound of Is This It received universal acclaim from both mainstream and independent publications, including 4 stars from Rolling Stone, and a 9.1 from Pitchfork Media; it made many critics' top 10 lists, and was named the best album of the year by Entertainment Weekly and TIME. NME, in an article previewing summer concerts, urged readers to attend their shows, claiming that the band was touring on the strength of some of the "best pop songs ever". The influence of 1970s CBGB stalwarts Television was noted by many reviewers, although Casablancas and bandmates claimed to have never heard the band, and instead cited the Velvet Underground as a reference point.
After the release of Is This It, the band toured around the world, featuring dates in Japan, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, and North America staging for the Rolling Stones. The band headlined UK's Carling Weekend festivals in 2002, largely chronicled by a mini-documentary entitled In Transit which was released to members of the now-defunct "Alone, Together" fan club. Today it can be seen on their official website.
In August 2002, the band played at New York's Radio City Music Hall on a bill with The White Stripes. Jack White joined the Strokes on stage to perform the guitar solo on "New York City Cops". During that period, the band also appeared as musical guests on various late-night talk shows. Is This It yielded several singles and music videos, all of which were directed by Roman Coppola.
In 2009, NME named Is This It as the greatest album of the decade (2000s). The album placed second on a similar list compiled by Rolling Stone. The same issue featured a list of the '100 Best Songs of the 00's', in which songs "Hard to Explain" and "Last Nite" charted at #59 and #16, respectively. In January 2011, Rolling Stone conducted a survey among their Facebook fans to determine the top ten debut albums of all time. Is This It came in at number ten and was also the most recent behind Pearl Jam's 1991 debut.
As of 2010, Is This It has sold over 3.5 million copies worldwide.
Room on Fire (2002-2005)
The group began recording their follow-up in 2002 with producer Nigel Godrich (best known for his work with Radiohead), but later split with him in favor of Gordon Raphael, the producer of Is This It. Recordings with Godrich were never revealed. In August 2003, the band toured Japan, playing a couple of the upcoming songs: "Reptilia", "Meet Me In The Bathroom", "The Way It Is", "Between Love & Hate" (formerly known as "Ze Newie") and "12:51" (formerly known as "Supernova"). The band also played Paul Anka's "My Way" with Japanese lyrics.
The Strokes released their second album Room on Fire in October 2003. It received praise from critics but was less commercially successful, although it still went gold. The album's sound maintained the Strokes' familiar reference points, while also evoking groups such as The Cars, Bob Marley, and Blondie. In the process, they made the cover of Spin Magazine for the second time, with each member receiving his own cover. They also made the cover of Rolling Stone for the first time. Additional media coverage of the band came from the relationship between Moretti and actress Drew Barrymore, which ended in January 2007.
The first single taken from Room on Fire was the song "12:51", which used distinct keyboard-like sounds produced by Valensi's guitar. The video was also directed by Roman Coppola, and was inspired by the futuristic look of the 1980s film Tron. This consisted of a mainly black scene, with instances of glowing picton blue and riptide. In November 2003, The Strokes played on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, performing "Reptilia", "What Ever Happened", "Under Control" and "I Can't Win". During the 2003/2004 "Room on Fire Tour", the band played with Kings of Leon as support act and Regina Spektor. While on tour, Spektor and the Strokes recorded the song "Modern Girls & Old Fashion Men", released as a B-side on the "Reptilia" single. Also during the tour, the band included The Clash's "Clampdown" as a cover, which was released as the B-side for "The End Has No End".
In late 2004, The Strokes revealed plans to release a live album. The Live in London LP was planned for release in October 2004, but was abandoned, reportedly due to recording quality problems. The chosen gig was one held at the legendary Alexandra Palace in North London. In February 2005, Julian Casablancas wed long-time friend and assistant band manager Juliet Joslin. The Strokes had a three-concert South American tour in October 2005, with dates in Brazil, Chile, and Argentina.
First Impressions of Earth and extensive break: (2005-2008)
In late September 2005, "Juicebox", the first single from The Strokes' then unreleased third album, was leaked online, forcing the single's release date to be advanced. The single was then released as an exclusive on online download services. "Juicebox" became The Strokes' second UK Top 10 hit, as well as their second US Modern Rock Top 10 success. During November and December 2005 the Strokes did a promotional tour for the still unreleased album, which involved doing one-off shows in major cities around the world.
Their third album, First Impressions of Earth, was released in January 2006 to mixed reviews and debuted at number four in the US and number one in the UK, a first for the band. In Japan it went gold within the first week of release. It was also the most downloaded album for two weeks on iTunes. Fraiture claimed that the album was "like a scientific breakthrough". In January 2006, the band then made their second appearance on Saturday Night Live playing "Juicebox" and "You Only Live Once".
The album was somewhat a departure from the band's two previous albums. One reason for this was a switch of producers from Gordon Raphael to David Kahne. Despite its initial strong sales, First Impressions of Earth received the worst reception, both commercially and critically, of all their three albums.
In 2006, the band played 18 sold-out shows during their UK tour. In February 2006, The Strokes won "Best International Band" at the NME Awards. In March, the band returned to the US with their longest tour yet. The second single off First Impressions of Earth, "Heart in a Cage", was released in March 2006.
During the summer of 2006, The Strokes played several festival dates in Europe, including the Hultsfred Festival in Sweden, Roskilde Festival in Denmark, the Oxegen Festival in Ireland, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, the FIB (Festival Internacional de Benicàssim), Fuji Rock Festival and headlined the Pentaport Rock Festival in South Korea. They then toured Australia and Mexico in late August and early September, followed by the second leg of the United States tour. While in the US, The Strokes opened for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers for five shows during their Highway Companion tour.
The Strokes went on to complete another US tour. During this final tour Casablancas stated to fans that the band would be taking an extensive break after it finished. An e-mail was sent out soon afterwards by Strokes manager Ryan Gentles, confirming that "much needed break". A new band website went online in May 2007 along with the release of an alternate video to their single "You Only Live Once" directed by Warren Fu. The video also featured a brief interlude with "Ize of the World", also from "First Impressions of Earth". In late 2007, the song "You Talk Way Too Much" was used in a commercial for the Ford Sync. Aleksandra Cisneros became The Strokes new assistant manager in late 2007.
The Strokes' frontman Julian Casablancas and guitarist Nick Valensi started writing material for their band's forthcoming album in January 2009, intent on entering the studio that February. Julian commented in Rolling Stone that they had completed about three songs that sounded like a mixture of 1970s rock and "music from the future".
On March 31, 2009 from their MySpace account, the band announced the end of their "much needed hibernation period" and the commencement of new writing and rehearsing for a fourth full-length album, entitled Angles.
In an NME article, Pharrell Williams expressed interest in producing this upcoming album. This followed the news that Casablancas had collaborated with Williams and Santigold on "My Drive Thru," a track commemorating the 100th anniversary of Converse's Chuck Taylor All-Stars shoe. The song was available as a free download from the official Converse site.
The album was due to be released in late 2009, but disagreements about the songs' readiness forced The Strokes to scale back this date.
On February 1, 2010, The Strokes announced on their website that the recording of the fourth album was being helmed by award-winning producer Joe Chicarelli. According to Chicarelli in an interview with HitQuarters, the two camps first met in 2009 and, after finding they shared a similar mind space and similar thoughts on the potential direction of the new record, tried out some tracking. Not long after recording began, however, the band became frustrated with Chicarelli's reserved production style. Only one song from these recording sessions, "Life Is Simple in the Moonlight", remained on the album's tracklisting. Inspired, in part, by bands like MGMT, Arctic Monkeys, and Crystal Castles, The Strokes decided to experiment with various production techniques, and recorded the rest of the album's material at Albert Hammond, Jr.'s home studio in upstate New York with award-winning engineer Gus Oberg.
The Strokes confirmed that they would be headlining the Isle of Wight Festival, Lollapalooza, Hurricane Festival, Splendour In The Grass, Rockness, Outside Lands Music and Arts Festival, On The Bright Side, and Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2010. Additionally, The Strokes were announced as the 2011 headliner for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in April, as well as Festival Internacional de Benicàssim, Oxegen and Super Bock Super Rock in July and Summer Sonic in August.
On June 9, 2010, at Dingwalls London, England, the band played a secret show under the name 'Venison' to a crowd of just 487. This was their first live gig since October 2006. The band did not play any new material.
The lead single from the new album, "Under Cover of Darkness", was released on February 9, 2011. The 7" was officially released on March 1, 2011 and contained another track from Angles, "You're So Right", as the B-side.
On March 5, 2011, the band appeared as the musical guest for a third time on Saturday Night Live, playing both "Under Cover of Darkness" and "Life Is Simple In The Moonlight".
Untitled fifth album (2011-present)
In mid-March of 2011, an interview with ShortList Magazine revealed that The Strokes had already begun working on their fifth studio album. However, sessions were delayed due to the mixing process of Angles. Julian Casablancas and Nick Valensi both confirmed that there is material in the works as well as plenty of leftover material.
* Is This It (2001)
* Room on Fire (2003)
* First Impressions of Earth (2006)
* Angles (2011)
Awards and nominations
The band received several nominations in their debut year in 2002, including Best New Act from the MTV Europe Music Awards and Best Live Act from the Q Awards. They won several awards in the same year, including Best International Band from the BRIT Awards, and Band of the Year and Best New Act from the NME Awards. They have also been nominated for Best International Band at the NME Awards in 2003, 2006 (which they won), and 2007. Overall, The Strokes have received six awards from 13 nominations.
The BRIT Awards are the British Phonographic Industry's annual pop music awards. The Strokes have received one award.
ReferencesThis text has been derived from The Strokes on Wikipedia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License 3.0