LISTEN: Strokes Guitarist Albert Hammond Jr.’s New Song ‘Losing Touch’

Albert Hammond Jr.
Album cover for Albert Hammond Jr.’s Momentary Masters, via Vagrant Records 

Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. just dropped a track from his third solo album Momentary Masters. Entitled “Losing Touch,” the indie rock-tinged cut perfectly combines an energetic tempo with an edge of melancholy, which is exactly what we would expect. We haven’t been treated to a full-length album from Albert Hammond Jr. since ¿Cómo Te Llama? in 2008.

“Losing Touch” follows the lead track on Momentary Masters, “Born Slippy” (no relation to the Underworld song of the same name), which had a similar vibe. His new album, out this summer, will be preceded by a number of stints at music festivals with the Strokesif you don’t want to wait to hear him.

LISTEN to the full track below to whet your appetite until Momentary Masters drops on July 31st, via Vagrant.

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Daft Punk and Julian Casablancas Preview ‘Instant Crush’ Video

Daft Punk’s big year might be coming to a close, but they’re still doin’ it right months after the release of Random Access Memories. Music’s most famous robots have shared a preview for the “Instant Crush” video, featuring Julian Casablancas. The Strokes singer is seen performing in a sunset-lit room, but he also gets turned into some sort of pastoral puppet who shares a moment with a simple farm girl. The dolls, while unsettling, are still less creepy than those giant Arcade Fire heads.

The “Instant Crush” clip aired on France’s BFMTV at 5:30 a.m., so it was presumably seen by viewers who were truly up all night to get lucky. If you’re wishing that there was more “Giorgio by Moroder” instead, the disco legend recently stepped in to remix Haim’s “Forever.

You May Now Stream The Strokes’ ‘Comedown Machine’

We were a bit confused by the first couple tracks off Comedown Machine, the fifth LP from perennial New York bar soundtrack fixtures The Strokes, who’ve struggled since the opening strains of First Impressions of Earth to land a killer track. “One Way Trigger” was just awful, but “All The Time” was a return to excellence. So now here’s the whole thing, which awaits your steely final judgment.

Okay it’s not right here, you have to go over and play it through something called “Pitchfork Advance,” which is a “new immersive music streaming platform designed to emulate the classic album experience.” In other words, something you can’t embed on your own website. Ha!

Anyway, there is cause for some relief—despite lunges in the direction of Phoenix-like soft-rock, there are a lot of the goofy, trebly guitar solos and chugging riffs we fell for back in 2001. In particular, the classicists will enjoy tracks 4 and 6, “Welcome To Japan” and “50 50,” both sneering and snappy enough to make you forgive just about any misstep. Welcome back, fellas. 

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Azealia Banks Covers The Strokes’ ‘Barely Legal’

It seems like each new week brings something new and cool from Azealia Banks. 

This week, via The Fader, its a cover of The Strokes’ 2001 song Barely Legal with a dance remix twist … and I daresay its really, really good. Banks debuted the song on a New Zealand radio station on Thursday. Last week Banks remixed the original Harlem Shake song

You can listen to Azealia Banks’ cover of Barely Legal below. 

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What the Hell Are the Strokes Doing?

You know, I seem to recall having declared this band dead in an album review almost seven years ago now, but I guess Julian Casablancas and company don’t keep up on the weekly papers put out by small liberal arts colleges. And their determination is admirable. But there’s got to be a healthier way to channel it than they are on forthcoming fifth LP Comedown Machine.

At the end of January we got a taste of what The Strokes would be up to this outing in a track called “One Way Trigger,” which, to be perfectly blunt, beggars belief. Seriously, half the Sound Cloud comments are outraged fans demanding an explanation for this trainwreck. See if you can even make it to the vocals:

And then, what’s this? Yesterday we got the real single: “All The Time.” Whatever you want to say about it—mainly that it’s too little, too late—it is recognizably The Strokes, damn it. So I guess Comedown is not going to be the experimental calypso-opera that “One Way Trigger” promised. Make up your minds, dudes! Vintage rockist formula or bold evolutionary missteps. I can’t get in the middle of this tug of war.  

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Surfer Blood Redefine ‘Retro’

You may have noticed this recently, or I’m losing my mind, but I think bars have been playing a lot of that turn-of-the-millennium rock revivalism and dance-rock and whatnot. Or, you know, The Strokes. It’s as if we’re finally nostalgic for 2001. And when an old Strokes song come on, you’re all: “Oh yeah! I remember liking this.” I bring all this up because Surfer Blood just released an old Strokes song.

Sorry, dudes from Surfer Blood and the PR person who has to read this for you regardless, but it’s true! That album you put out a few years back, Astro Coast, was all reverbed-out and soaring, saturated sound—now, with “Weird Shapes,” you’ve got the flatter, somehow more cynical aspect of, say, a band that’s from now on will be dogged by an association with domestic violence.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s actually pretty catchy. If the rest of Pythons, out this summer, strikes a similar pose, it’ll be worth a spin. And it wouldn’t be a terrible idea for other people to try and make music like this again. Hell, maybe even Julian Casablancas will give it a shot. 

Photo credit: Zachary Alexander Bennett

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BuzzFeed: “Here’s How Two No Longer Relevant Things Are Alike”

There is a great, fantastically lazy tradition in recent music criticism whereby “NPR,” “fussed-over,” and “intimate” are terms that come to signify “white bands playing preciously dull and fragile songs that you in your callous, unthinking way would call ‘boring’ but are actually quiet masterpieces, you clod.” Over at BuzzFeed today, Matt Perpetua reaches the zenith of this non-observational style with little more than fifty words, six photos, and three YouTube embeds.

“Grizzly Bear Is The ‘Frasier’ Of Rock Music,” the headline declares, while the deck cautions, as if you are already winding up to punch through your computer monitor, “It’s kind of an intuitive thing, but yes, they are.” Great! An intuitive analogy comparing a “rock” band (no they aren’t) that enjoyed mild popularity from 2006-2009 and a television series that ended in 2004. The comparison is simultaneously so strained and so obvious and so half a decade late that it’s hard to tell if it’s less meaningful than it is amusing. 

Do I even need to tell you that cashmere, lattes, ennui, and The New Yorker are mentioned? It’d be one thing if BuzzFeed were merely failing to be the “leading social news organization, intensely focused on delivering high-quality original reporting, insight, and viral content across a rapidly expanding array of subject areas” that it purports to be. But on top of that, do we really need a list of items once posted on Stuff White People Like? Oh, new BuzzFeed article idea: Stuff White People Like is just like The Strokes’ Is This It. Or maybe you could talk about how OutKast is the Chappelle’s Show of rap.

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BlackBook Tracks #11: Summer is Ending

Labor Day approacheth, signaling the death knell of summer. It’s time to put on your finest jean shorts and seize the end of the season. Here’s the playlist for your long weekend. Wear some white shoes.

Is Tropical – “Land Of The Nod”

The London trio pairs a laid-back vibe with a driving beat to create a perfect soundtrack for soaking up the sun.

Slam Donahue – “Cmon Cmon”

This highlight from the recently released Hemlock Tea EP sums up all of the summer romances that could have been. Sure, there’s some amount of regret involved, but the Brooklyn duo stays cool and breezy.

ALB – “Brand New Start”

There’s not too much information out there about the French indie-pop artist ALB, but he’s an immensely gifted songwriter worth seeking out. “Brand New Start” is an ode to moving on that’s equal parts joy and tension. Also, there are handclaps!

TV Girl – “Misery”

True to retro-pop form, the LA duo makes a song called “Misery” that actually sounds pretty happy.

The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart – “My Terrible Friend” (Washed Out Remix)

Lovelorn shoegazers stating the facts of heartbreak get an assist from the sunbleached stylings of Washed Out.

Smith Westerns – “All Die Young”

The garage-glam trio’s been working on their third LP, and 2011’s Dye It Blonde is worth revisiting on hot, late nights.

Beck – “Black Tambourine”

Guero may not be old enough to be a part of the classic Beck canon, but it speaks of summer in a way that needs to be capitalized on right now.

Kitten – “Cut It Out”

There’s a lot to love about the current wave of young women in electro-pop, and L.A.’s Kitten capture teen longing in the airy, immediately memorable “Cut It Out.”

The Strokes – “Take It Or Leave It”

It’s a classic.

JEFF the Brotherhood – “Hypnotic Mind”

Go hard and shred forever with these Nashville bros. End the summer on a high note.

Watch a New Music Video From The Hives

It’s been years since the New Rock Revolution hit and bands like The Hives (and The Strokes, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Interpol, et al) took the airwaves, bringing guitar rock back into vogue after the Ashanti-soaked early aughts.

The Hives, direct from Sweden, were one of the most successful of those groups, gaining serious traction thanks to songs like the undeniably catchy “Hate To Say I Told You So” and their habit of wearing matching black-and-white outfits.

And while the band has remained active, winning international awards and releasing albums, they’ve more or less dropped off the American rock radar. Until now. The video for “Go Right Ahead,” the first single off the forthcoming Lex Hives – out June 5 – was just released, and it showcases the Hives in very fine form.

The video was recorded live in the band’s studio (owned by ABBA’s Benny Andersson) on the Swedish island of Skeppsholmen and shows off a tight sound and not-at-all-diminished flair for foppery, thanks in part to the fancy camerawork of Travis Schneider.

Does this mean a revival for all of those bands that brought guitars back onto the radio in the early part of the millenium? Probably not, but once again The Hives are showing us they know better than anyone how to scratch our garage rock itch.