Song of the Day: The Strokes - OBLIVIUS

Song of the Day
07/05/2016
Zach Frimmel
photo by Pooneh Ghana

Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part of our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJ’s think you should hear. Today’s song, featured on the Midday Show with Cheryl Waters, is “OBLIVIUS” by The Strokes from their 2016 EP, Future Present Past, on Cult Records.

The Strokes - OBLIVIUS (MP3)

The Strokes are back with new tunes once again! It's been said that The Strokes saved rock 'n' roll for their 21st century generation like The Ramones once did in theirs, which is a venerable claim that does not require much proof or digging these days. The Strokes' foray into the rock scene was originally met with excitement and critical acclaim, and now fifteen years later they're still eliciting critics and listeners with their 2016 four-song EP, Future Present Past. Even though NYC's cherished garage rockers released The Modern Age, their first EP, back in 2001, this is only their second EP and acts as their follow-up to the 2013 release, Comedown Machine.

The first single off Future Present Past was "Drag Queen", the opener. "OBLIVIUS" was slated to be the second single, but due to some controversially political furore of the music video the would-be-second single got usurped by "Threat of Joy." These three tracks make up the original songs (there's a remix of "OBLIVIUS" by drummer Fabrizio Moretti) on Future Present Past. They flirt more with their mid-2000's signature style as heard on "OBLIVIUS" with Julian Casablancas' yearning vocals low in mix on the verse and more prominent in his chorus-based cries of 'What side are you standing on?". Of course, we have Nick Valensi and Albert Hammond Jr.'s dueling guitarmony of riffs and rhythms to also thank for that Strokes-ian soundscape that lasts to the very end. "OBLIVIUS" is textured with their more straightforward indie rock attitude and instrumentation and formatted in a very fashion-fitting way for the outfit, possibly in an effort to regain their roots after their 2013 dance-driven debacle, Comedown Machine.

At the end of the day, it's nice to see The Strokes back/still in the game and hustling. The outfit has kept it pretty quiet on 2016 gigs, having played only a couple between New York and Austin, and are playing one festival coming up July 22th in Australia. There aren't any further dates listed yet, but you can keep close tabs on their activity via their website and Facebook page. For now, check out "Threat to Joy", the second single from their Future Present Past EP, below.

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