Sunday, September 28, 2014
Linked: Casablancas/O + 'C&C' @ 20
I'm proud of the current Time Out New York cover story, which I had a hand in. Since Julian Casablancas and Karen O both have new solo albums out, we thought it would be fun to have them interview each other. Thankfully, they were game, and I think we ended up with a really cool conversation: wide-ranging, alternately insightful and silly, and (as far as I know) unique. I'm pretty sure these two have never sat down and had a conversation this extensive, let alone on the record. Read it here if you have a chance. A big thanks to my too-numerous-to-name Time Out colleagues and photographer Jake Chessum for helping to make this awesome.
A bit of background. I adore the Strokes, as well as scattered bits of Casablancas's extracurricular discography: a handful of tracks from his first solo record, 2009's Phrazes for the Young ("11th Dimension" and its accompanying video floor me; I really respond to the combo of kitschy flamboyance and self-deprecating wit that's on display here); his incredible Daft Punk collaboration from Random Access Memories; and various fleeting moments on his insane, sprawling, seemingly willfully opaque new one, Tyranny. When I saw the Strokes at Governors Ball this year—awesome show, btw—I Tweeted something to the effect of, "The Strokes have had the last laugh. Their songs are now every bit as classic, if not more so, than the output of the bands everyone said they ripped off." I really do believe that they belong in the all-time-great pantheon, despite the spottiness of some of the recent records. Even on First Impressions of Earth, Angles and Comedown Machine, the band's signature baroque-but-economical brilliance shines though.
I'm definitely a fan of Yeah Yeah Yeahs, though I don't know their catalog as well. A song like "Date with the Night" is indisputably badass. Karen O's new solo record, Crush Songs, is fragile and beautiful—exactly, it seems to me, as intended. There are some real gems toward the end of the album: "Body," in particular, is a quiet killer.
And for Stereogum, a 20th-anniversary look back at Chocolate and Cheese. I couldn't help but recycle some themes from my book, but there are definitely new ideas here. I adopted the above image as an emblem for the album, and the band, as a whole. I also dug out a choice interview outtake that didn't make it into the 33 1/3 volume (the "They're classicists, you know?" bit)—I'd forgotten how insightful former Ween manager Dave Ayers was.
Speaking of 33 1/3, the series celebrates its tenth anniversary this year—Lit Genius is kindly hosting annotated excerpts from various books in the series; here's mine—and there's a party at the Powerhouse Arena in Dumbo this coming Thursday, October 2. I'll be there during the early part of the evening, so come on out if you're around!