That is, their new album, Comedown Machine, is streaming early. That headline sounded weirder than we meant it to.
Photo Courtesy of RCA
It's hard to believe, but it's been over a dozen years since five young New York buddies set their hometown – and then the rest of the rock world — on it's head with the release of the their debut EP, The Modern Age. At the time the record industry had yet to crumble like the Kraken at the end of Clash of the Titans, but the bands dominating the airwaves were overwhelmingly either Boy Bands (Backstreet Boys!, jail bait (X-Tina!), Nu-Metal (Staind!), or Rap-Rock (Limp Bizkit!). So when the Strokes started playing their new-wave inflected garage punk in seedy Lower East Side rock clubs, it came as a breath of fresh air (though to be honest, there was absolutely no actual fresh air in those clubs. This was before the smoking ban).
Photo Courtesy of RCA
Bands like the Stones and the Who aside, a dozen years is a pretty impressive lifespan for a band, and you would have been hard-pressed to find a Strokes fan in 2000 who thought they'd last as long as they have. But even if all they gave us was the Modern Age EP and their debut full-length, This is It, the band would have staked their place in rock history. The latter is easily one of the best albums of the 2000s (Pitchfork ranked it 7th, Rolling Stone had it at number 2) as well as one of the best debuts in history (this writer would put it right behind Appetite for Destruction). They ushered in a new generation of ax-wielding ne'er-do-wells wearing skinny jeans, skinnier ties, Chuck Taylors, and artfully disheveled mops of hair. In their wake came the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Killers, Kings of Leon, Interpol, and a whole host of British wannabes. Real rock was back!
But unlike, say, the Sex Pistols, the Strokes kept going, even as bands they helped pave the way for sold more and more records than they ever could. Four subsequent albums were fine, with some great moments, but not quite as good as that debut. Now they're back with Comedown Machine, which sees the band back in fine form. There's still plenty of time to judge the album (not that listeners haven't started), but in the meantime Pitchfork is streaming the whole damn thing, a week before its official release next Tuesday.
Unfortunately, it doesn't look like the band is planning on touring, but their newest video, for "All The Time," shows the boys when they were on top of the world. And damned if it doesn't look like a blast.
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