Remember that guy from that old post-punk band from the early 2000s? “Last Nite“ was played all over the radio at one point. They revamped the New York underground scene, like The Velvet Underground did before them. Well, the frontman of The Strokes hasn’t put down the mic: Julian Casablancas is set to release his second solo record entitled The Voidz, on his label Cult Records to an eager cult fan base and what may be still an underground name in some circles is expected to rise to unparalleled popularity. Casablancas has had his share of solo notoriety, collaborating with artists such as Queens of the Stone Age, Regina Spector, Jack White, Danger Mouse, The Lonely Island, Digitalism, and Daft Punk. Most notably, the latter’s single, “Instant Crush,” on which Casablancas sings, put his name on the charts and provided a nice lead-in to The Voidz.
This record is still in its undercover stages, with only a preview video available to fans. The video teases a frustrating medley of the album’s most prominent sounds: experimental, dark, alternative, and 8-bit elements flash by in a quick span of a minute. However, with a little ambition and a lot of research skills, listeners will come to find The Voidz scattered in pockets across the Internet. Casablancas has toured in Los Angeles, New York, and various cities in Latin America, previewing his new material across the Americas. The best sound quality can be found in a recording of his Lollapalooza performance in Argentina.
From what we’ve heard, these tracks are masterful. Casablancas attempts to fuse a variety of genres, including aggro, jazz, and world beat, according to a Chilean interview, and it shows so clearly and beautifully. Casablancas is known for mixing bad apples into his records, both with The Strokes and his debut Phrazes for the Young. But so far, not one of these bootlegged Voidz songs feels out of place.
“The Father of Electricity” is borderline progressive and situated in a complex territory Casablancas is not usually found in. It reeks of a jungle-like funk, as if it belongs on a record more like King Crimson’s Discipline. Refreshingly radical, Casablancas rips away a distinctive monotone on “The Father of Electricity” and sings like hell.
Other songs like “Ego,” and “Dr. Acula” sound angry. The familiar rainbow guitars from the last album Phrazes For The Young make a second appearance, this time adorned in a darker guise.
Potential single material can be found in the song “Where No Eagles Fly,” featured prominently in the album preview and at his Lollapalooza performance. Its catchy chord progression is modelled on a dark punk version of “Juicebox;” at the chorus, it transitions into something very unlike Casablancas—alternative post-grunge emotive screams. Rock-centered music lovers will fall in love with all of the above.
Casablancas fans are in for the treat of a life time. The composition and musicianship of the album is expected to be twice that of the last and subsequently, will generate twice the hype. In light of these user-generated live recordings, Casablancas looks to be having twice the fun, as will we.
The bad news? The Voidz is steeped in ambiguity. There is no hint at its release date and no further developments — just an ominous logo sprawled across its website. Fans speculate a late May drop and a fond wait until then.