Come January 1, the New Year will ring in ephemeral goals of self-improvement, the smell of stale party favors from the night before and the promise of new music from the Strokes being just around the corner.
The follow-up to 2003's Room on Fire is tentatively due (aren't they all?) January 24, and on New Year's Eve you could resolve to be in stores the day the New York hipsters' still-untitled third records hopefully hit shelves. The tentative first single (sensing a theme of caution?), "Juicebox," is scheduled to hit radio in mid-October, and regardless of whether the band changes its mind about which song drops first, a video will be shot in September, though no treatments have been decided on yet.
Produced mostly by David Kahne (Sugar Ray, Sublime), the album features longtime Strokes producer Gordon Raphael on three co-produced tracks. Going the opposite route of the rushed Room on Fire, the Strokes recorded at a relaxed pace in their own Manhattan studios this time from spring to summer. The recording phase now completed, Julian Casablancas and company are in the final stages of mastering and have enlisted powerhouse engineer Andy Wallace (Nirvana, Rage Against the Machine) to mix the disc.
The Strokes will assemble a track list from 14 possible songs, including "Heart in a Cage," "Vision of Division," "Evening Sun," "You Only Live Once," "Razor Blade," "Ask Me Anything," "Killing Lies" "Eyes of the World," "Fear of Sleep" and four other untitled tracks.
Sonically, the production of the record is "drastically different," manager Ryan Gentles said, noting that songwritingwise the disc will sound familiar to fans. "It sounds like the Strokes," he said.
In a newsletter sent to fans earlier this summer, Casablancas called the record "bigger, louder and more professional" while also defending the use of a producer known for more-commercial fare. "You might think [Kahne's] just some serious, slick hitmaker and that he doesn't care about music," Casablancas said. "But that's what he's all about: music. He cares about it so deeply that if you change a little part, and you're hurting the song, he'll cry."
It looks like those below the equator are going to get the first peek at the bands' new material. Like their garage counterparts in the White Stripes recently did, the Strokes will head to South America for the first time in October for shows in Brazil, Chile and Argentina.