The Web: Part 1
Last Wednesday's post about different ways to find new music got be thinking about how closely related artists actually are besides just showing up on each other's "related artists" list. Many bands have members that used to play in other bands or have gone solo or have featured on another artist's record. When you start to think about it, there is a whole web in the music industry connecting artists together. There are innumerable ways they can be associated with each other- merely socially, having toured together, maybe having the same manager- and so on and so forth.
Collaborations are a huge topic of conversation that is closely related to this idea. It is especially prevalent in popular music. Nothing gets fans more excited than hearing that one of their favorite artists is going into the studio with another of their favorite artists. I'm sure artists enjoy it as well- getting a fresh touch on their own work. In some genres, it's almost essential to have featuring artists- like in rap music. On most rap albums, there is at least one track with a featured artists if not half of the whole album. And, you can bet that a collaborated song was one of that album's singles. Labels probably love it too- there is no better way to grow a fanbase [of paying customers] than to garner interest from members of another.
Today, I'm going to use this idea of how interconnected artists are within the music industry to do somewhat of a case study. The topic of which will be The Strokes. They have been one of my favorite bands since forever. If you haven't heard of them, that's most likely a lie- you would definitely recognize one of their songs if I played it for you [I'm looking at you, Reptilia]. They play what I guess would be considered garage rock and have influenced many of the indie bands out there today. There are five members who met at school when they were young. Julian Casablancas is the lead signer and writer of many of their lyrics. Albert Hammond, Jr. and Nick Valensi are the band's guitarists. Nikolai Fraiture plays bass and the lovely Fabrizio Moretti plays drums. I had a massive crush on him for a very long time, not going to lie.
Every member, except for Nick, have had solo projects. They each didn't gain as much popularity as the band itself, but did well in their own right. If The Strokes are at the middle, there is a huge web of artists extending around them.
Let's start by going through each individual member of The Strokes. It's actually really interesting to do this, because when you hear the solo work of these members and compare it to the music that came out of The Strokes, you can really hear each member's individuality in the music.
Julian Casablancas first went out on his own in 2009. With the album Phrazes for the Young, Casablancas took a step toward a more electronic and synthpop feel. He however carried his lyricism from The Strokes to this new music. The first single 11th Dimension has a great synth dance beat and his famous vocal tone shines through. He had success with the album reaching the Billboard Top 40. [It lends itself to 12:51 if you are comparing to The Strokes].
He actually has a new project coming out pretty soon. Tyranny will be the first from his new ensemble Julian Casablancas + The Voidz. The Voidz consist of Jeramy Gritter on guitar, Jake Bercovici on base and synth, Alex Carpetis on drums, and Jeff Kite on keys. I haven't really heard much about the project, but there is an album preview here. Although still seeming electronic in nature, the music leans more towards rock than Phrazes for the Young did. It will be interesting to see what comes of it. The album is going to be released on September 23rd.
Next up we have Albert Hammond, Jr. who might possibly have the most prolific solo career of all members of The Strokes. He released his first solo album Yours To Keep in 2006 that featured songs that were once heard on The Strokes' tour documentary In Transit. Back then, the songs were only instrumental pieces, but Albert was able to flesh them out on his album. [Check out the tracks: Everyone Gets a Star, Bright Young Thing, and of course, In Transit] The only reason I know about the songs being on In Transit was because I re-watched it one time and recognized the tunes in the background. A little research later, and there you have it. The album is a winner from track one all the way through. It is quintecentially indie and a very chill listen. And, who knew about that voice? It's lovely. Albert went on to release¿Cómo Te Llama? in 2008 which is definitely more rocky and still just as awesome. Most recently, in 2013, he released the AHJ EP which is even more rocky than his sophomore release. The four tracks are really fun and upbeat.
Frabrizio Morretti teamed up with Rodrigo Amarante of Los Hermanos and Binki Shapiro for his side project called Little Joy. It was only a one release project self titledLittle Joy and was released in 2008. The music is more in the alternative rock/ indie pop world. It is pretty chill and has a lot of variety. Both Binki and Rodrigo sing on tracks. There is also some Portuguese [I think...] on the album which represents Fab and Rodrigo's Brazilian backgrounds. [Check out Evaporar] Many of the tracks are acoustic and very beautiful. Definitely worth a listen.
See, I've only made it through three members and our web has already grown so much. This is going to be a much bigger project, than I think I was even expecting. I'm going to call it day for this case study and pick it back up on Wednesday, so keep a lookout for that! The Strokes are definitely worthy of a week of content, so this will probably continue on Friday as well. But, you have homework, anyway... Check out all the links I provided in this post!
I hope you enjoyed Part I, and stay tuned as I spin out the rest of this artist web.