The Strokes Take Music Back To Essentials

I was flipping through the channels a few weeks ago when I got to MTV and saw something amazing. It was a video for a band that wasn’t dressed in designer outfits, a band that wasn’t dancing around like choreographed monkeys, a band that was actually playing instruments.

I was seeing something that appeared to be original. I was seeing a “real” band instead of the mass-produced bands that MTV more than often supports. I watched the entire video in awe, expecting it to be a joke or a cruel trick directed to the kids who grew up on Nirvana and who worshipped The Sex Pistols or NOFX at one time in their lives.

The end credits came after the three-minute video for a single titled “Last Nite.” This amazing band is called The Strokes.

The Strokes, a group of five from the Big Apple, have come a long way in the last year. The band consists of Julian Casablanca (vocals), Nick Valensi (guitar), Albert Hammond Jr. (guitar), Nikolai Fraiture (bass) and Fab Moretti (drums), five friends all between the ages of 20 and 24 who met in prep school on the upper west end of New York City.

These young men created for themselves a distinctive sound and style. My first impression of them was that they had a punk/rock-a-billy sound and dressed with a unique 70s-early 80s style.

The band, who is signed to RCA, released their first debut album in America on Oct. 9, titled “Is This It.” The album has brought the band much publicity and amazing reviews that, in my opinion, will create a new genre of popular music, not to mention an open door for other bands with similar styles.

They have laid-back, carefree lyrics combined with an upbeat, light-hearted attitude, but what really tops their stylish sound off is the tone in which they play. Whether you are watching the video on MTV, listening to an MP3 or to your fresh new CD, their style is very vintage, in that it sounds as if it were recorded in a dirty old basement with rusty amplifiers and vintage guitars. Now, this isn’t a band thing, it is really a breath of fresh air from mixed songs, wild and crazy guitar riffs with overbearing drums and hyperactive bass solos.

Often times, I am very possessive of my music and I feel that the bands I listen to should keep as far away from MTV and “mainstream” as possible out of fear that they will sell out and start touring with lame bands that don’t even write their own songs, let alone care about their fans.

I feel that the Strokes are different, I guess because I didn’t know of them until MTV, but I feel that they really do great things for the music world. I am so tired of hearing Britney Spears and N*Sync, and bands like Creed and Staind. I want something different, something new. I want to be able to turn on the radio or MTV and see and hear something that I can relate to because the lyrics, “Hit me baby one more time” mean nothing to me and, “I did it all for the nookie” has gotten old.

The Strokes will surely be something new and bold for all those who are tired of choreographed dances and lame lyrics. If you want something real, go to and check out some MP3s or go to (forgive my hypocrisy) to see the video.

If you are truly interested, you could make the five hour drive to Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro on Nov. 27 and see them live.