The Strokes were the most hyped rock band on the planet. They played the House of Blues Orlando in 2002 and I had a backstage pass to interview opening act Longwave for my college rag, The USF Oracle. Midway through, Strokes' drummer Fabrizio Moretti busted in the room and pretended to be outraged that I wasn't interviewing his band, which I had specifically been told not to bother.
Eventually, my photog and I were introduced to all the guys from the Strokes and we talked about Bob Dylan's Basement Tapes--I had heard "Quinn The Eskimo (The Mighty Quinn)" pouring out of their tour bus an hour earlier. Moretti shoved a Heineken in my hand and insisted I guzzle one with him. All of them were down-to-earth and friendly.
Except Julian Casablancas.
He had his leather jacket on and a perpetual frown. When the Strokes performed, Casablancas appeared just as mopey, draping his arm around the mic stand and singing with his head down for the duration of a pretty lifeless 90-min. set. My interest in the Strokes never recovered from that evening. So, you can imagine how unexcited I was about a Casablancas solo album.
Today, though, for the second day in a row, I caught Casablancas' new single "Out of the Blue" on KCRW. And I love it. Over a catchy, propulsive melody the singer offers a killer kiss-off. Casablancas' detached vocals are the ideal vehicle for an autobiographical-sounding lyric about "going to hell in a leather jacket," which he rhymes with the wonderful, "at least I'll be in another world while you're pissing on my casket." Thank you, Julian, for releasing the cad anthem of the year.