On the Side: What The Strokes Do in Their Spare Time Paul Laukaitis October 4, 2016 BlogsThe Strokes | photo via Cult Records The Strokes are widely considered to be one of the greatest indie rock bands, and have a collection of classic songs from classic albums. With a new EP Future Present Past out this past summer, making fifteen years since their original debut has proven their musical talent time and time again. Proving their talent even more are side projects each of the members have taken a part in while they’re not working on the next Strokes album. In no particular order, here are one of each of the side projects of the members of The Strokes, with a small spotlight on one of the albums or bands they’ve worked on Nikolai Fraiture: Nickel Eye / Summer Moon First I’d like to start with Nikolai Fraiture, because he recently released a new track for his upcoming side project, Summer Moon. The new track is definitely a different sound from what Nickel Eye offered, but the single is a solid funky tune nonetheless. Nickel Eye’s 2009 record The Time Of The Assassins is a folky/indie rock sounding album. Being the bassist for The Strokes, Fraiture shows off his bass riff skills throughout the album. What stands out to me is the mixture of folk and indie rock, and how well Fraiture’s voice captures that mixture. Every song a special feel to it and you can tell Fraiture put a lot of work into it. Definitely one of my favorite side projects of The Strokes. Nick Valensi: CRX Valensi has just recently gotten into the solo side project game. CRX is a very cool guitar pop rock band, which came out with its first single a couple weeks ago. CRX does claim to have been “years” in the making, and that’s because they did have some music around back in 2013, but they’re looking to make this upcoming album their official start. The single that was released, entitled “Ways to Fake It,” is surprisingly good, and for some reason reminds me of Bowling For Soup’s “1985.” Albert Hammond Jr.: Yours to Keep Probably the Strokes member with the largest side project portfolio, Hammond has definitely made a name for himself in the indie rock community. My favorite of his discography is Yours to Keep, his first of three LPs. It’s a wonderful indie alternative album and I think any Strokes fan would like it. If I had to compare it to the different sounds of The Strokes, I would place it somewhere in between Room on Fire and First Impressions of Earth, but with some ukulele and folk mixed in. It feels like a light hearted indie rock album that has enough twists and turns to keep you listening happily throughout. Julian Casablancas: The Voidz As lead man for The Strokes, Casablancas is most well-known by Strokes fans in general. The Voidz are experimental electronic indie rock under Casablancas’ label Cult Records. Which means they can do pretty much whatever they want. If you haven’t heard The Voidz yet, their sound is what would happen if you mixed the alternative version of YOLO, “I’ll Try Anything Once” and throw in some occasionally intense experimental electronics. Which is fantastic. It may be a little rough on the ears at first, but if you give it a shot, you might like it. Fabrizio Moretti: Little Joy Before I get started with Little Joy, Moretti’s collaboration with Devendra Barnhart as Megapuss deserves at least a mention. Megapuss has some really catchy surfer rock folk songs, and although the album is a little hit or miss, there are some songs in there that definitely make it worth it. Alright, now we can move on to my favorite of any Strokes side project. Little Joy, based solely off their self-titled LP from 2008, is a fantastic band that is made up of some great under appreciated musicians. The album has a chill summer vibe that sounds like a Brazilian Is This It?-era Strokes. Moretti is great in Little Joy, works well with Rodrigo Amarante, whom I think is the real star of Little Joy. He’s an incredibly talented Brazilian musician and songwriter. He was a part of Los Hermanos, and released a solo album Cavalo in 2013 that is absolutely worth listening to. Amarante also wrote the theme song to the TV show “Narcos,” which is just kind of cool. Also in Little Joy is Binki Shapiro whose voice is unbelievable. She has very little in her music career, but she did make an album with the extremely underrated indie musician, Adam Green. All in all, even though they only have one album, Little Joy is still one of my favorite bands of all time. When you get a chance, do yourself a favor and let Little Joy chill you out for a half hour.