The Strokes

How to Get Away With Pop Music Plagiarism

This week, the big topic of conversation among music fans is whether the chorus of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” sounds enough like Tom Petty’s 1989 hit “Won’t Back Down” to warrant the 12.5 percent songwriting credit recently awarded to Petty and his co-writer, Jeff Lynne. Copyright infringement as it applies to songwriting plagiarism goes beyond merely how a song sounds, and if a songwriter even intended to copy the work of another. The field has become more and more litigious in recent decades, and to an outsider, the situation can look a bit creatively limiting. Sometimes people do go to court and win, but many big cases settle out of court on the basis of subconscious plagiarism. What a scary landscape to live in as a musician — being responsible for inadvertently copying someone else’s work you’ve never even heard. … Read More

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Who Won the 2000s Garage Rock Revival War? A Ranking Circa 2014

The rock’n’roll dreams of 2003 are alive in this month’s record release calendar. Yeah Yeah Yeahs leader Karen O released her debut solo album, Crush Songs, last week, while her NYC compatriots Interpol attempted to mount another comeback with their fifth album, El Pintor. Later this month, Strokes frontman Julian Casablancas will release his debut with The Voidz as his backing band, entitled Tyranny. … Read More

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Famous Album Covers in Reverse Reveal More Than Just Tushies

When album art succeeds, it becomes wholly embedded in our conception of the music it introduces. Whether you like it or not, Nirvana ensured that you wouldn’t be able to listen to Nevermind without envisioning a wet, cash-hungry baby. You’ll likely never listen to My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy without thinking about a butterfaced illustration of Kanye fucking a more-butterfaced angel, and you certainly can’t listen to Raffi’s Bananaphone without thinking of a phone that’s a banana! Aware of the stubbornness of such images, a Flickr user who goes by Harvezt decided to provide another dimension to these otherwise invariable visual associations (spotted via Stereogum). Here, Harvezt flips the album art, showing these covers from behind and opening our imaginations to what might have lurked beyond these famous frames.  … Read More

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Great Moments in Musical Punctuation

You may have heard recently that a certain Shawn Carter has officially jettisoned the hyphen from his stage name — he’s Jay-Z no longer, and is instead going by plain old Jay Z. (In fact, he made the change two years ago, but it’s taken this long for the world to notice.) It’s the most fuss anyone’s ever made over a hyphen in the music industry — a place where the rules of grammar and punctuation aren’t exactly observed with religious devotion. This tendency has led to much amusement over the years. Here are some of the more notable moments in musical punctuation, for better or worse. … Read More

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A Song for Every New York Times Hipster Trend Piece

The ongoing New York Times obsession with “hipsters” continued this week with yet another lifestyle article about Williamsburg, a place that the NYT apparently thinks is still home to the Brooklyn cool set. The piece served as more confirmation that the Times is officially the only publication that still thinks the word “hipster” actually means something and/or is a cultural phenomenon worth analyzing in 2013. At this point, the paper’s ongoing obsession with Williamsburg is the journalistic equivalent of the repressed bro at school who’s secretly fascinated by the weird kids and deals with this by ridiculing them at every possible opportunity. Anyway, The Awl did a pretty spectacular job of highlighting the ongoing absurdity of the whole thing with this roundup of every characteristic that the paper has ever ascribed to hipsters (spoiler: everything, ever) — but what about the music? To help the paper out, here are some songs to soundtrack their most, um, memorable trend pieces. … Read More

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Great Albums With Embarrassingly Bad Cover Art [NSFW]

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Mosquito is officially on the shelves, and our first impressions of the record haven’t changed much: we rather like it. The cover art, though… well, that’s an entirely different matter. We’re sure there’s some reasoning behind adorning the sleeve with a lurid pink giant mosquito sinking its proboscis into the ass of a baby (a baby with green lipstick on, we hasten to add), but until we know what it is, the album is going straight to the top of our list of great albums saddled by awful cover art. Here are some of the… Read More

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New York Buzz Bands of 2001: Where Are They Now?

It’s all gone a bit 2001 this month, with the return of The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. As we were listening to Mosquito yesterday, we got to wondering about some of the less heralded bands from the garage and post-punk revivals that brought a whole heap of hype to NYC around the turn of the millennium. Some of the bands from that scene are still around and doing well, of course — Interpol spring to mind immediately — but the others… Well, we’ve put on our deerstalkers and done some digging. … Read More

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The Hipster Is Long Dead; Should The Strokes Die, Too?

Remember the late 1990s and early 2000s? Nu-metal, the dregs of post-grunge, the dregs of gangsta rap, the tail end of Britpop. Britney Spears. Artful Dodger. The New Radicals. Cher’s ubiquitous “Believe.” Craig fucking David. It was a dark time for everyone. The history of that era has already been written and rewritten, and the accepted narrative goes something like this: everything largely sucked, and then The Strokes released Is This It and saved rock ‘n’ roll. The New Rock Revolution™ was dead almost as soon as it started, but it left in its wake a renewed interest in guitars and rock music generally, and for that we get to pay eternal thanks to Julian Casablancas and his band of drainpipe-jeaned saviors. … Read More

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