» Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]


 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]


 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
Halcyon Digest
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Fat Possum
Little Joy
Little Joy
Rough Trade

Rating: 6.5/10 ?

November 12, 2008
The Strokes aren't really coked-out and gamey hipsters swaggering (and stumbling) their way through Manhattan's in-crowd anymore; Julian Casablancas is now officially in his thirties and the rest of the guys are right behind him. Seeing Casablancas work so hard last time out to make something that breaks the mold of what "a Strokes album" should sound like (the almost admirably ambitious but incredibly uneven Future Impressions of Earth), is probably what's making Fabrizio Morretti's new side-project Little Joy (what an awesome band name, by the way) sound so good to so many people.

As an album largely written, played and recorded by a drummer goes, Little Joy is a top-notch record. Being released quietly on Rough Trade, instead of on a major label, it also suggests the degree of humility that a guy who just wants to make music for himself, and the few people that want to check it out, might have. Though to be clear, while it's certainly no embarrassment, it just as certainly isn't the incredible album that many of the group's early fans are making it out to be.

Again, not that it's not an enjoyable listen. Little Joy's laid-back temperament is a refreshing change, suggesting that the NYC braggadocio has taken a break and headed south of the border for a breather. Instead, switching to tequila and swaying, the record shows the versatility of the angular and somewhat minimalist guitar style that made the Strokes standout from the pack in the first place.

But while the similarities to Morretti's other group are what make Little Joy so easy to digest, they are also what make it seem somewhat unremarkable. The super-group nature of the band is negated by the fact that Rodrigo Amarante (of Los Hermanos) sounds like a sleepier version of Casablancas, which in turn kind of makes you wonder why the best of this lot couldn't have found their way onto a new Strokes record. Furthermore, Binki Shapiro's presence, at times, almost tanks the record. Her voice is thin and reedy and recorded with production values that rival those of an ancient phonograph, and aside from her one great moment ("Don't Watch Me Dancing"), mostly you can't figure how she figures into the album's larger equation.

To balance the bad vibes, some optimistic advice: don't let all this over-thinking get in the way of the genuinely enjoyable melodies of "Brand New Start," which somehow manages the trick of sounding like a poppy toe-tapper you might find on your oldies station, only more modern. (That trick is pulled off in similar fashion by the more Strokes-sounding "How to Hang a Warhol," which suggests Morretti may have had more to do with the songwriting/arranging of his main group than anyone previously thought.) So much of Little Joy suggests that its songs would have been better served as a couple of hard-to-find seven inches, or some equally obscure Strokes product. As it stands, the album is more notable for not being an embarrassment than it is for being any sort of triumph.

Reviewed by Cory Tendering
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See other reviews by Cory Tendering



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