Latest News: The strokes

The Sophomore Slump

By 18

There are patterns in the universe that we don't yet fully understand, from the Fibonacci Sequence to the Golden Ratio. Then, of course, there is the sophomore slump: the phenomenon wherein which a popular band releases a groundbreaking debut album, and then just when everyone is primed for their second full-length, they release something that falls hard. A few bands recover by their third album, but for others, the sophomore slump is the beginning of the end. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah! was, in the mid 2000s, the darling of the music blogosphere. They were a refreshing and unique indie rock sound, the kind of thing you hope to stumble upon, and for a while it was smooth sailing. When Some Loud Thunder hit, some perceived it to be a less accessible, even arrogant, swerve into experimental lo-fi and away from the impassioned pop that people fell in love with. Where once they were the ideal of blog rock, they were now its cautionary tale. It's strange and a little dismissive to talk about them in the past tense since their third album was released last year, but they're still working in the shadow of the hype they once had. Bloc Party was another promising upstart full of the kind of buzz that put them on the path to mainstream penetration. Their first album Silent Alarm was no-nonsense guitar hooks and beat-driven rock and everyone was loving it. It took two years to hit the curse of the slump with A Weekend In The City, which Pop Matters called, “entirely unsuited to [their] strengths.” It was a classic case of going for the slam dunk and hitting the backboard. In an attempt to really break through to the forefront of pop music, they lost sight of their original raw energy and endearing roughness. It's a weird thing that pop does sometimes, trading off sincerity for likability, which sometimes loses both. And then there are The Strokes. Although they are still a well-liked band, the staggering drop from the modern classic Is This It? to the definitive slump Room on Fire is hard to ignore. Their aggregate score on Metacritic shows a 90 turn into a 78, which is only a bad score because of how high they had soared earlier. The critics were all over the map on the reasons why their follow-up flopped (New York Magazine: Too samey! The Guardian: No attitude!) which is a sign that perhaps the classic ghost of expectation is to blame for this manifestation of the curse of the sophomore album. It's a common reason for the slump, and few things outside of a truly stellar album can counter it. The sophomore slump is, really, what happens to just about anyone with early success in art. In the same way sequels are rarely better than part one, sophomore albums rarely live up to the debut with the exception of a few lucky musical geniuses. The pressure to be great is too huge for even promising talents to overcome. Expectation creates high stakes, and that's no environment for creating art. It's a bit like any superhero arc. The original story is always the easiest part, and everything is new and exciting. But the rest of the story is where the trouble starts. When the novelty goes away, the scrutiny remains, and it's often a hot and painful stare.

Be sure to check out

Vitamin String Quartet Performs The Strokes Available now at iTunes and Amazon

Read more

Available Now! Vitamin String Quartet Performs Modern Rock Hits 2011 Vol. 1

By 15

VSQ Performs Modern Rock Hits 2011 Vol. 1 highlights some of the year’s biggest rock tunes so far with propelling string arrangements that burst with energy. Hear the raw rock foundation of Foo Fighters’ “Rope,” the pop melodies of Death Cab for Cutie’s “You Are A Tourist,” the riveting innovation of The Strokes “Under Cover of Darkness” and more as violin, viola and cello rock out with sophistication. Tracklist:
  1. You Are a Tourist - originally by Death Cab for Cutie
  2. The Cave - originally by Mumford and Sons
  3. Under Cover of Darkness - originally by The Strokes
  4. Helplessness Blues - originally by Fleet Foxes
  5. Just Stay Here Tonight - originally by Augustana
  6. Rope - originally by Foo Fighters
Available now at iTunes Be sure to check out: Vitamin String Quartet Performs Modern Rock Hits 2010 Available now at iTunes and Amazon

Read more

Sneak Peek: VSQ Performs Modern Rock Hits 2011 Vol. 1

By 15

Available next week, VSQ Performs Modern Rock Hits 2011 Vol. 1 highlights this years biggest anthems so far including tracks from Augustana, Death Cab for Cutie and Foo Fighters. If you're reeling for some smooth, soothing tunes to fill your summer nights, you'll hit the mark with this album!

Check out a clip of VSQ performing The Cave:

The Cave from VSQ Performs Modern Rock Hits 2011 Vol. 1 1.You Are a Tourist - Originally by Death Cab for Cutie 2.The Cave - Originally by Mumford & Sons 3.Under Cover of Darkness - Originally by The Strokes 4.Helplessness Blues - Originally by Fleet Foxes 5.Just Stay Here Tonight - Originally by Augustana 6.Rope - Originally by Foo Fighters Be sure to check out: The String Quartet Tribute to Death Cab for Cutie Available now at iTunes and Amazon The String Quartet Tribute to Foo Fighters, The Shape and  Colour of my Heart Available now at iTunes and Amazon Vitamin String Quartet Performs The Strokes Available now at iTunes and Amazon

Read more

Vitamin String Quartet to Release Modern Rock Hits 2011

By 15

Check out Vitamin String Quartet’s line-up on their latest album due out this summer, Modern Rock Hits 2011 and school yourself on the stories behind these hottest tracks of the year (so far). Just Stay Here Tonight: This plaintive jam from San Diego rock quartet Augustana emotes a solid Springsteen-style, pop-rock ethos and was used in a recent episode of the television show Private Practice. Augustana has toured with bands including Maroon 5, The Fray and Snow Patrol.

Under Cover of Darkness: This lead single from The Strokes’ fourth LP Angles is the band’s first single release in five years. That’s how long it’s been since the New York City band released an album. Call it a return to form, but Julian Casablanca’s note-bending caterwaul sounds just like it did on “Last Night.” It makes sense then when he sings, “I've been all around this town/Everybody's been singing the same song for 10 years.”

Rope: The first single from the Foo Fighters’ Wasting Light was written two years ago after sessions for the band’s last album Echoes, Silence, Patience and Grace. Although the Foos typically release a more radio friendly song as their first single, frontman Dave Grohl insisted the band use this Butch Vig produced track as the lead off from Wasting Light, because he thought it best captured the mood of the album’s recording sessions. It must have been pretty loud in there.

You Are a Tourist: “When there’s a doubt in your mind/’Cos you think it all the time/Framin’ rights into wrongs/Move along,” is what Ben Gibbard croons on the uplifting single from Death Cab for Cutie’s forthcoming Codes and Keys. Whether or not Gibbard’s outlook on life has been a bit brighter since landing Zooey Deschanel as his wife, he did tell the audience during a VH1 “Storytellers” taping that the lyrics in the song were "a series of affirmations in an otherwise dark and cruel world."

The Cave: The London folk quartet, Mumford and Sons, stole the show at this year’s Grammy awards with a rousing rendition of “The Cave,” which they performed before jamming on “Maggie’s Farm” with none other than Bob Dylan. “I got out of bed and ran outside and jumped around like a madman,” says singer Marcus Mumford, upon hearing the news that the group would be playing with the rock legend. “You can imagine the reaction of someone who probably wouldn't be playing music at all if it wasn't for Dylan.”

Helplessness Blues: The lead single from Fleet Foxes’ sophomore LP focuses more on singer Robin Pecknold’s quavering falsetto than any tracks on the band’s mega-hit debut ever did. However, the rest of the band joins in on this track’s second half to contribute to the intricate harmonies that have become the Foxes oh-so-pretty trademark.

Read more

Recent Articles