Geoff Geis

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Julian Casablancas

A lot of people have been saying that Julian Casablancas’ new solo record, Phrazes for the Young, is underwhelming. I don’t agree. I’ve been listening to it a lot recently, and I like it – it’s certainly not a classic, but it continues a comfortable aesthetic that I’ve been enjoying for years and seems like a pretty predictable follow-up to First Impressions of the Earth. That record, too,was panned as underwhelming at the time and I was also not sure why. It seems to me that the only reason anyone would be underwhelmed by a Strokes record is if their expectations were informed by all of the hyperbolic hype about “saving rock music” from which the Strokes benefited (or suffered, depending on who you ask) in 2001. If you just look at them as a regular rock band, I think that there’s a lot to like on all three of their albums.

But anyway… Casablancas gets pretty much all of the songwriting credit in the Strokes, so a solo record from him is interesting because it shines light on the creative process within the band – what, exactly, do the other Strokes do? From this record, it would seem that their main role is to edit him. Most of these songs are sixty to ninety seconds too long (single “11th Dimension” is the exception – it should only be thirty seconds shorter), and I can’t help but think that this would be better not as an eight-song record but as a ten-song LP of the same length.

Casablancas’s lyrics are getting better and more straightforward. On the last record he was all like “I have nothing to say, I have nothing to say!,” yet he opens this one with “Out of the Blue,” a pretty honest expression of regret. I particularly like that song and “4 Chords of the Apocalypse,” which is musically like his “Oh! Darling” but is lyrically chill – instead of breaking down and crying he’s rational and calm: “I’d give you anything, but I’d give you problems. So be with anyone you want – it’s alright with me.” Dude’s good at being flippant.

My favorite song is the single, though. It’s good and it’s way catchy. If it weren’t so “indie” in execution, it could probably be a famous sports anthem.

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Music

This is Soft Sailors! We're a new band from Los Angeles. We don't have any upcoming shows scheduled, but you can hear us online:

Also, here are some solo songs I've uploaded recently to Soundcloud. I'm playing solo July 19th at the Pickle Factory at 647 Lamar Street in Los Angeles and September 1st at Los Globos in LA for a KCHUNG benefit.

In 2011, I released my first solo album, Princess. You can listen to it and download it on Bandcamp:

From 2005 until 2011, I was in the band Pizza! This is our album We Come From the Swamp:

From 2008-2010, I was in the band Big Whup. Here's one of our songs that I sang, called "Cover My Eyes:"

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