Music

The Strokes - "Threat of Joy" (Singles Going Steady)

The Strokes take a low key approach to the music, and it pays off handsomely.

Steve Horowitz: Very nicely done! The Strokes take a low key approach to the music, and it pays off handsomely. The guitars shine through the haze, the drummer keeps the beat lively and the vocals are unpretentiously delivered with a smile. The band’s musical chops turn what could be an ordinary song into something special. The video has some fun moments as it plays with the conventions of heist films and greedy Wall Street pigs, but the “Threat of Joy” offers its own rewards. [9/10]

Pryor Stroud: If you read the title of the Strokes' surprise EP Future Present Past the way all English syntax is meant to be read -- left to right, one word after the other -- then the essence of the album bleeds into view. Neither "Future" or "Present" are standalone substances; they're trajectories that barrel straight into the "Past," that become one with it. The "Future" is the "Present" in the "Past", this title seems to suggest. Considering that the EP is a compilation of scratchy, yet highly melodic garage-punk songs that could have been made in the pre-First Impressions of Earth era, this an apt description of the record's sound. These are songs that rely heavily on the band's past triumphs, and "Threat of Joy" is perhaps the most unashamedly retrogressive effort here. All the elements of a prototypical Strokes anthem spill out of its flesh: Julian Casablancas' slurred yet sprightly vocal, Nick Valensi's neon-lacquered guitar, and a neo-punk swagger that is equal parts Lou Reed, Television, and Wire. Recently, it was said that The Strokes are succumbing to the "classic rock" category faster than their contemporary peers. "Threat of Joy" seems to stand up, brush the cobwebs off its jacket and ask: what's wrong with that? [7/10]

Chris Ingalls: Another song from the new Future Present Past EP, "Threat of Joy" is refreshing in that it's the Strokes doing what they do best -- Julian Casablancas managing his best off-key Lou Reed crooning while the band jangles away behind him, sounding like something between Television and a more laid-back Weezer. Bright, tuneful guitars weave in and out. The song has an almost timeless feel, harking back to the heyday of CBGB's while sounding utterly contemporary. The world may not have been pining for this new EP, but it's nice to see the Strokes back in action. [7/10]

SCORE: 7.66

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less
7

Very few of their peers surpass Eurythmics in terms of artistic vision, musicianship, songwriting, and creative audacity. This is the history of the seminal new wave group

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame nominating committee's yearly announcement of the latest batch of potential inductees always generates the same reaction: a combination of sputtering outrage by fans of those deserving artists who've been shunned, and jubilation by fans of those who made the cut. The annual debate over the list of nominees is as inevitable as the announcement itself.

Keep reading... Show less

Barry Lyndon suggests that all violence—wars, duels, boxing, and the like—is nothing more than subterfuge for masculine insecurities and romantic adolescent notions, which in many ways come down to one and the same thing.

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) crystalizes a rather nocturnal view of heterosexual, white masculinity that pervades much of Stanley Kubrick's films: after slithering from the primordial slime, we jockey for position in ceaseless turf wars over land, money, and women. Those wielding the largest bone/weapon claim the spoils. Despite our self-delusions about transcending our simian stirrings through our advanced technology and knowledge, we remain mired in our ancestral origins of brute force and domination—brilliantly condensed by Kubrick in one of the most famous cuts in cinematic history: a twirling bone ascends into the air only to cut to a graphic match of a space station. Ancient and modern technology collapse into a common denominator of possession, violence, and war.

Keep reading... Show less
10

This book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Marcelino Truong launched his autobiographical account of growing up in Saigon during the Vietnam War with the acclaimed graphic novel Such a Lovely Little War: Saigon 1961-63, originally published in French in 2012 and in English translation in 2016. That book concluded with his family's permanent relocation to London, England, as the chaos and bloodshed back home intensified.

Now Truong continues the tale with Saigon Calling: London 1963-75 (originally published in French in 2015), which follows the experiences of his family after they seek refuge in Europe. It offers a poignant illustration of what life was like for a family of refugees from the war, and from the perspective of young children (granted, Truong's family were a privileged and upper class set of refugees, well-connected with South Vietnamese and European elites). While relatives and friends struggle to survive amid the bombs and street warfare of Vietnam, the displaced narrator and his siblings find their attention consumed by the latest fashion and music trends in London. The book offers a poignant and jarring reminder not just of the resilience of the human spirit, but also of its ability to seek solace in the materiality of one's present.

Keep reading... Show less
8

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow shines on her impressive interpretation of Fontella Bass' classic track "Rescue Me".

Canadian soul singer Elise LeGrow pays tribute to the classic Chicago label Chess Records on her new album Playing Chess, which was produced by Steve Greenberg, Mike Mangini, and the legendary Betty Wright. Unlike many covers records, LeGrow and her team of musicians aimed to make new artistic statements with these songs as they stripped down the arrangements to feature leaner and modern interpretations. The clean and unfussy sound allows LeGrow's superb voice to have more room to roam. Meanwhile, these classic tunes take on new life when shown through LeGrow's lens.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image