Gee. Things have been going so awesome for The Strokes over the past several years that one wonders why any of its members could even possibly have enough steam left to embark on solo efforts. Nevertheless! Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond, Jr. will once again be stepping out on his own on October 8 with a new EP entitled AHJ. And yeah, I think that title’s just supposed to be his initials or whatever, but it kinda looks like one big stressy “ARG!” doesn’t it?
Speaking of members of The Strokes being really awesome at titling things, the EP follows a pair of previous solo efforts of Hammond — 2006’s Yours to Keep and 2008’s ¿Cómo Te Llama? — and will be released via Strokes lead singtalker Julian Casablancas’s label, Cult Records. Yeesh. Anyway, the thing was produced, engineered and mixed by Gus Oberg and recorded at the freakin’ two studios that Hammond apparently owns (Broome Street in Manhattan and One Way Studios in upstate New York). “I’ve been working with [Oberg] since my first solo project,” Hammond says. “After we met and became best friends. We get along and we understand each other musically, so everything just flows.” Hammond also played all of the instruments himself, except for some drums, which were played by longtime collaborator Matthew Frank Romano, because no guitarist is nearly as good at playing drums as they are always saying they are.
So how does it sound? Probably like some awesome, radical departure from The Strokes’ straight-ahead rock and Hammond’s own previous efforts, right?? “It’s a combination of both previous recordings, which in turn makes it feel like it’s the best material that I’ve made so far.” Oh. Okay. But at least, you were probably spurred on to make this by some burning artistic desire to get these songs outside of your head before they burned up your soul from the inside out or something, yeah? “Once you play music for a living, you’re always thinking about stuff. Conversations with friends and things you hear in movies — things come up and become lyrics […] Life in general is pretty inspiring.” Huh. Inspiring? I was thinking of a different word.
01. Cooker Ship
02. Strange Tidings
03. Carnal Cruise
04. Rude Customer
05. St. Justice