We’re Gonna Party Like It’s 1979!

One of the few bands to survive the Garage Rock revival of the new millennium, The Strokes have carved out their own corner of cool by looking back twenty years prior to their formation. #postpunk #altrock #garagerock #newwave

Warning: There are no ballads in this program.

Out of seemingly nowhere earlier this year, The Strokes, from New York City, released a new album, The New Abnormal. Not gonna lie, it seemed totally and completely out of place among all of the Pop, Rhythmic and Hip-Hop releases that have dominated the music scene since over the last decade when it landed in top 5 of the Billboard album charts.

The Strokes were one one of a slew of bands that arose of what was called the Garage Rock revolution of the early 2000’s. Not all of these groups fit that title exactly, but it did signal one thing, especially in hindsight: This may have been the last great scream of Rock and Roll bands in history.

The cover of the Strokes latest album, The New Abnormal, 2020. Taken from Bird on Money, a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat. The band has never appeared on a the cover of one of their LP’s.

Less post-punk than their contemporaries The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Hives, uninfluenced by the MC5 as The Mooney Suzuki and The Hellacopters were, not early 70’s cock rock a la The Darkness and the Kings of Leon, and definitely nowhere blues influenced like The White Stripes, The Strokes laid out their territory by looking at Pop influenced Rock and Roll, namely the New Wave scene of the later 1970’s and early 1980’s, with a decidedly American feel to the music, particularly Blondie, Television, The Cars and more than a little Lou Reed.

The Strokes (l-r: Nikolai Fraiture, Fabrizio Moretti, Nick Valensi, Julian Casablancas and Albert Hammond, Jr.) arrive to celebrate the 1,000th cover of Rolling Stone magazine at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York, Thursday, May 4, 2006. (AP Photo/Henny Ray Abrams)

They sounded like an indie band, and were for one EP in the U.K., but signed to one of the oldest and biggest record companies in history in their native U.S.: RCA.

However, possibly most importantly, it had a good beat and you could dance to it. In essence, they are the contemporary, New Wave/New Millennium version of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1950’s rock and rockabilly via San Francisco Haight-Ashbury sound: sounding vintage and contemporary simultaneously, and pulling it off convincingly well. Like all of the the great rock bands, The Strokes play it like they invented it.

Vanity can easily overtake wisdom. It usually overtakes common sense.

Julian Casablancas of The Strokes

Forming in 1998 in New York City, the band found their initial rush of fame in the U.K., whom, at the time, were enamored of the countless rock bands coming out of the U.S. for over a decade. The band’s original story reads like that of many others: friends meet in school, form a band, gig regularly, develop a tight set list, send a demo to a independent record company and then watch their success take off.

After a media blackout and no promotion done to support their 2013 release Comedown Machine, many fans assumed the band called it a day. The cover is purposefully downplayed to resemble an old recording tape box. Design by Brett Kilroe, Fab Moretti and Tina Ibañez.

The Strokes, however, unlike many critical darlings, actually can play, and well. They have released only six albums and two EP’s of material over the last two decades, but it is live where they built their rabid fan base. Oddly, unlike many in the over-obsessed media age we have been living in for far too long, the band actually prefers some mystery, give few interviews and not being seen at all of the “in spots” with $500 and up bottle service and strippers. They did, however, perform at a Bernie Sanders campaign rally in February of this year, giving their fans a little insight into who they are as people.

The COVID-19 pandemic has sidelined any potential hopes of a tour to support the album this year. Until they hit the road again, consider this your own personal pandemic playlist. We have waited this long for their return, a few months won’t kill us, but rushing it just might.

First Part

  • The Adults Are Talking, 2020, The New Abnormal
  • Tap Out, 2013, Comedown Machine
  • Drag Queen, 2016, Future Present Past EP
  • You’re So Right, 2011, Angles
  • Juicebox, 2005, First Impressions of Earth
  • 12:51, 2003, Room On Fire
  • NYC Cops, 2001, Is This It (international editions only)

Second Part

  • The Modern Age, 2001, The Modern Age EP
  • Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus, 2020, The New Abnormal
  • Gratisfaction, 2011, Angles
  • Electricityscape, 2005, First Impressions of Earth
  • The End Has No End, 2003, Room On Fire
  • Welcome to Japan, 2013, Comedown Machine
  • Hawaii, 2005, “Juicebox” single B-side


  • Hard to Explain, 2001, Is This It

Love to you all.

Ben “Daddy Ben Bear” Brown Jr. 
Host, Show Producer, Webmaster, Audio Engineer, Researcher, Video Promo Producer and Writer

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