Julian Casablancas + The Voidz at Chicago’s The Vic (11/18)

Julian Casablancas - voidz-roffman

Julian Casablancas – voidz-roffman

Photography by Phillip Roffman.

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz remain just as abrasive onstage as they do on record. Late Tuesday night, following agreeable sets by Cerebral Ballzy and Shabazz Palaces, the Strokes frontman’s scruffy, ragtag team of no-names* shuffled onstage at Chicago’s The Vic to roll out Tyranny track “Xerox”. It’s slotted ninth on the album, and for a good reason, as the hypnotic melody acts as a moment of respite between the lo-fi guitar wizardry of “Business Dog” and the conga rhythms of “Dare I Care”. As an opener, though, it’s a curious decision, but then again, this whole band, the entire album, and essentially everything about Casablancas this year is curious — even down to his demeanor. These days, the guy looks less like a boyish Lou Reed and more like a strung-out Todd Ianuzzi, whose denim vest and tattered, baggy jeans scream of better days in 1986. The thing is, he’s smiling.

That’s what makes these Voidz shows so intriguing. In the past, Casablancas has typically been a morose character onstage, speaking either sarcastically or not at all. Despite his microphone sounding like 808s-era Yeezy, little asides and jokes of his peppered a number of future Tyranny classics last night. He teased the audience at one point by saying they’d take things down a few notches, only to unleash the hyper-kinetic “River of Breaklights” off Phrazes for the Young. He eventually followed up on his promise, especially during an encore performance of “I’ll Try Anything Once”, which found him tickling his inner Pat Boone as he sang in harmony with his many adoring fans, some of whom camped out seven hours prior to catch a front row glimpse at their one-time rock ‘n’ roll hero. Actually, that’s a pretty bullshit, cynical thing to say…

Julian Casablancas

Julian Casablancas

Casablancas is a rock ‘n’ roll hero. His latest album might be affronting to those wishing they could hear more “11th Dimension” and less “Nintendo Blood”, but they said the same thing about Reed when he dished out Metal Machine Music back in 1975. No, Casablancas is making scrappy, eccentric post-punk that either evolves towards an assembly of noises or, if you’re lucky, tumbles into a chest of reluctant harmonies. It’s political, anti-consumerism, and, most of all, angry. For the first time in over a decade, the guy has an edge, and he does not give a shit if you’re with him or against him. But doesn’t he deserve that? Think about it: Casablancas stepped onto the scene with one of the greatest albums of all time — 2001’s Is This It, if you’re lost — and followed that up with another rare diamond. He never had a chance to test the stakes. He never struggled as the confused artist. That’s not to say there weren’t conflicts or hurdles with The Strokes; they were just a little safer than what he’s doing now.

And what exactly is that? Well, based on his supplemental song selections — “Ize of the World” off 2006’s First Impressions of Earth, the aforementioned “River of Brakelights” — Casablancas is finding solace in the chaos. Those two songs are far more focused and refined than anything off Tyranny, but they only corral the chaos. Broken down, each instrumental part is a testy, punchy slice of energy that bounces around with the cadence of an 11-year-old antsy with ADHD and a bottle of Squeezit. That’s pretty much how each song by The Voidz works conceptually; they’re just not as aligned. Yet there’s something beautiful and intriguing about that erroneous marriage, which might be what Casablancas gets off on these days. It’s not clean. They’re not perfect; instead, The Voidz thrive on existing on the fringe, an area that Casablancas can finally experience. If you’re a longtime fan, it’s probably the most exciting time to catch the guy since, well, 2003. Though, if you’re attempting to itch that early ’00s nostalgia, you’re trying your luck.

julian-casablancas-the-voidz-roffman-2

Let’s give credit where credit is due. There’s guitarist Jeramy “Beardo” Gritter, other guitarist Amir Yaghmai, bassist and synth player Jacob “Jake” Bercovici, the rather superb percussionist Alex Carapetis, and their trusty keyboardist, Jeff Kite. “If you actually listened during ‘Human Sadness’, you’d know they’re all capable musicians, Mike,” one might argue, and I’d agree 100%. That’s why I’d secretly love to hear them reined in some, as they all were on their “covers.” Though, that’d also negate pretty much everything that makes them The Voidz.

Setlist:
Xerox
Father Electricity
M.utually A.ssured D.estruction
Human Sadness
Where No Eagles Fly
Ize of the World (The Strokes cover)
Business Dog
Crunch Punch
River of Brakelights (Julian Casablancas song)
Nintendo Blood
Encore:
I’ll Try Anything Once (The Strokes cover)
Dare I Care

Hear Julian Casablancas + the Voidz’ Wonderfully Bizarre New LP ‘Tyranny’

The last time Julian Casablancas released an album outside of the Strokes, 2009’s Phrazes for the Young, Rolling Stone described it as “his version of Thom Yorke’s The Eraser,” a record featuring “guitars submarined by wild-angled synths, off-kilter beats tripping up big ballads.” “A few songs have the old leather-jacket kick,” Jon Dolan wrote. “But things get weirder as he explores alienation from a Lower East Side he once ruled.”

Having moved upstate, the Strokes frontman is now backed by a band called the Voidz – Jeramy Gritter and Amir Yaghmai on guitar, Jeff Kite on keys, Jake Bercovici on bass and Alex Carapetis on drums – and together, they are ready to release an incredibly eclectic new album, simply titled Tyranny. The LP hits stores Tuesday (and can be pre-ordered at the Cult Records website), but you can listen to an exclusive advance stream of all 12 songs right here. It’s even got some of that old leather-jacket kick.

“Tyranny has come in many forms throughout history,” Casablancas said in a statement, explaining the title. “Now, the good of business is put above anything else, as corporations have become the new ruling body. Most decisions seem to be made like ones of a medieval king: Whatever makes profit while ignoring and repressing the truth about whatever suffering it may cause (like pop music, for that matter).”

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz confirm ‘Tyranny’ album details

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Julian Casablancas and the Voidz, or simply The Voidz, are an American rock band formed 2013 as a side project of Julian Casablancas of The Strokes.

Julian Casablancas and the Voidz (stylised as Julian Casablancas + The Voidz), or simply The Voidz, are an American rock band formed 2013 as a side project of Julian Casablancas of The Strokes. The band consists of Casablancas (lead vocals) as well as Jeramy “Beardo” Gritter (guitar), Amir Yaghmai (guitar), Jacob “Jake” Bercovici (bass guitar, synthesizers), Alex Carapetis (drums, percussion), Jeff Kite (keys) and Shawn Everett (production). Both Kite and Carapetis were previously involved with Casablancas’ first foray into solo material, forming two of his ‘Sick Six’ live band, which also featured Danielle Haim. The band are signed to Casablancas’ record label, Cult, and are currently touring the Americas, playing various gigs and festivals (including Lollapallooza in Chile, Brazil & Argentina, as well as Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Festival Estéreo Picnic in Colombia and Governor’s Ball in New York)[3] in support of their debut album, “Tyranny”, expected to be on September 23 2014.

Julian Casablancas + The Voidz have confirmed details of their debut album, ‘Tyranny’.

The band, fronted by Strokes singer Casablancas, are set to release their debut album on September 23. ‘Tyranny’ follows Casablancas’ 2009 solo album ‘Phrazes For The Young’.

The LP will come out on Casablancas’ own Cult Records and, as Consequence of Sound reports, the album will be available via a USB drive shaped like a cigarette lighter. Eleven-minute long new song ‘Human Sadness’ can be heard on iTunes now.

The Voidz consist of Jeramy Gritter and Amir Yaghmai on guitar, Jeff Kite on keyboards, Jake Bercovici on bass and Alex Carapetis on drums. The record was produced by Shawn Everett.

Speaking about the album title, Casablancas previously commented: “Tyranny has come in many forms throughout history. Now, the good of business is put above anything else, as corporations have become the new ruling body. Most decisions seem to be made like ones of a medieval king: whatever makes profit while ignoring and repressing the truth about whatever suffering it may cause (like pop music, for that matter).”

The album will be supported by a US tour throughout October and November. No UK dates have been announced.

Julian Casablancas+The Voidz (Album Preview)

‘Tyranny’ tracklist:

‘Take Me in Your Army’
‘Crunch Punch’
‘M.utually A.ssured D.estruction’
‘Human Sadness’
‘Where No Eagles Fly’
‘Father Electricity’
‘Johan Von Bronx’
‘Business Dog’
Xerox’
‘Dare I Care’
‘Nintendo Blood’
‘Off to War…’
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/julian-casablancas/79512#7erV1Iq49eKieZcm.99

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Julian Casablancas previews new solo album

Julian Casablancas has given a sneak preview of his new solo album. Click above to watch now.

The two-minute clip is credited to Julian Casablancas + The Voidz and shows footage of The Strokes’ frontman recording in the studio, with various snippets of new songs audible throughout. There is no further information regarding an album title or release date included with the video, but vsitors to Casablancas’ website can sign up to pre-order the album now.

The Strokes will make their live return at the Governors’ Ball in New York this June. The three-day event will take place on Randall’s Island between June 6 and 8. OutKast have been announced as the headliner alongside Jack White and Vampire Weekend. As well as performing with The Strokes, Julian Casablancas will also perform as a solo artist at the event.

The Strokes’ last live show came in November 2011 when they performed live at the Planeta Terror festival in Brazil. The group have not played in the US since September of the same year. They have not performed in the UK since they headlined Reading & Leeds Festivals in August 2011. The band were joined by Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker for a rendition of The Cars’ ‘Just What I Needed’ during their Reading performance.

The Strokes released their fifth album ‘Comedown Machine’ last year but didn’t tour or do any interviews. Speaking to NME recently, the band’s guitarist Albert Hammond Jr said: “There might be times when we’re not doing things but I don’t feel like we’ll ever stop,” he said. “We’ve come to the point where we’ve been together so long and been through so much that why announce anything besides what we’re doing? We’re just together.”

Listen: New Julian Casablancas track unveiled [correction added]

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‘Human Sadness’ will appear on the soundtrack to indie film ‘She’s Lost Control’

A new Julian Casablancas track titled ‘Human Sadness’ has been unveiled online – listen to it below.

The song features on the soundtrack for US indie film She’s Lost Control, which will debut at SXSW festival in Austin, Texas in March (2014). It is a collaboration with composer, and the film’s executive producer, Simon Taufique.

Casablancas announced his involvement in the film back in 2012, when he promised to provide music to the project if it secured enough money to go into production. The Strokes frontman appeared in a video posted alongside the Kickstarter appeal, in which he said he will make the music as a favour to his friend, Taufique.

She’s Lost Contro tells the story of a sexual therapist who teaches men to be intimate before falling for one of her clients.

The Strokes will make their live return at the Governors Ball in New York this June. The three-day event will take place on Randall’s Island between June 6 and 8. OutKast were announced as the headliner alongside Jack White and Vampire Weekend. As well as performing with The Strokes, Julian Casablancas will also perform as a solo artist at the event.

The Strokes’ last live show came in November 2011 when they performed live at the Planeta Terror festival in Brazil. The group have not played in the US since September of the same year. They have not performed in the UK since they headlined Reading & Leeds Festivals in August 2011. The band were joined by Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker for a rendition of The Cars’ ‘Just What I Needed’ during their Reading performance.

The Strokes released their fifth album ‘Comedown Machine’ last year but didn’t tour or do any interviews. Speaking to NME recently, the band’s guitarist Albert Hammond Jr said: “There might be times when we’re not doing things but I don’t feel like we’ll ever stop,” he said. “We’ve come to the point where we’ve been together so long and been through so much that why announce anything besides what we’re doing? We’re just together.”

Sorry, “Julian Casablancas – “Human Sadness” (New 2013 Track)” was deleted at 11:06:29 Tue Feb 4, 2014. Vimeo has removed or disabled access to the video as a result of a third-party notification by Essential Music & Marketing claiming that this material is infringing: Julian Casablancas – “Human Sadness” (New 2013 Track).

But we hope you can enjoy seeing Julian performing at the David Letterman Show a great song “Out of the Blues”:

The Strokes: Their music is beautiful anger

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No great band is born without a struggle and no great records are born in a vacuum. For every artist whose ideas make your wig spin there are a huge pile of influences – from specks of color to swathes of sound – that delivered them to that point.

How can you not love a band that picked up the final piece of their jigsaw at an exclusive Swiss boarding school? As far as fairy-tale beginnings go, that’s up there with the very best of them. Julian Casablancas already knew Nikolai Fraiture, Nick Valensi and Fabrizio Moretti from school in New York, in fact they’d even played together a little, but it was Dirty Harry fan Albert Hammond Jr. who completed the picture. “My intention was always to take undergroundish, cool music and make it mainstream,” Julian said in 2009. “We haven’t achieved that”, but there’s so much they have achieved. Once described as having, “an indefinable quality of togetherness”, The Strokes redefined the idea of the gang, that indivisible unit with a look and a creative aesthetic so well honed it would shame AC/DC. It was Albert who said, “our music is beautiful anger”, and that’s as good a description of their needle-sharp looseness that you’re ever likely to hear. But what got them there in the first place?

As teenagers Julian and Nikolai were huge fans of LA scuzz-rockers Jane’s Addiction – legend has it there’s a live video of the band from 1997 that both are visible in. Julian was a huge fan of Pearl Jam and Nirvana while away at school, while he would later say the gift of a Doors tape from his step-dad would, “change his life. I had a sense I could do something like that.” Among Fabrizio’s first loves was Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, he considered the drums on ‘Billie Jean’ were among, “the greatest sounds ever recorded”, while Nick was all about Guns N’ Roses – another classic band-as-gang. Elder statesmen of Pop fans will note that the first record Albert ever bought was Billy Joel’s 1989 hit, ‘We Didn’t Start The Fire’. Hmmm.

New York City Copped

The Ramones: the ultimate gang, beautifully ugly, masters of melodic dissonance. Blondie: Super-bright pop genius. The Velvet Underground: Nikolai and Julian’s teenage heroes. Talking Heads: their debut album, ’77’, was a sonic touchstone for ‘Room On Fire’. What’s remarkable about The Strokes is how quickly they became an integral part of the fabric of their city’s musical life.

All Mixed Up

“Between the five of us there’s this weird medley of influences,” Julian said a decade ago. He went on to mention Dayton, Ohio hyper-productive garage heroes Guided By Voices, Minneapolis, Minnesota’s awesome Replacements and another New Yorker, early-80s mega-pop titan, Cyndi Lauper. Triangulated somewhere in the middle – and to the left – of those three is Sonic Youth, whose 1994 single ‘Bull In The Heather’ directly influenced The Strokes’ 2003 single ’12:51′ (in fact, “I’m totally ripping it off,” Julian would later admit).

From The Outfield

You’d have to have especially well-tuned ears to hear Bob Marley in The Strokes, but Julian always considered him a better chronicler of the human condition than even Bob Dylan. In the very late 70s and early 80s Boston’s new-wave crew The Cars nailed a particularly spindly-legged pop-punk whose echoes would crop up throughout The Strokes’ records, but can you hear the hits Albert’s dad wrote for Julio Iglesias or The Hollies? No? Are you sure…