In the early ’00s, the Strokes (along with the White Stripes) helped to usher in a wave of sharp-dressed, retro-leaning “return of rock” bands that were supposed to wash out the nu-metal and post-grunge clogging up mainstream rock radio. While this wave wasn’t entirely successful in that regard, several of these bands have proved enduring, including Interpol, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the Killers, Kings of Leon, and the Black Keys. Many more bands were swept into the historical buzz bin. In honor of the Strokes' new album, Comedown Machine, and with apologies to the Vines, French Kicks, Louis XIV, etc., here are 10 songs from the period’s lesser lights that I still put on personal playlists. And to listen to all of them, here is a handy Spotify link.
Yesterday, eight new inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame were announced: Rush, Donna Summer, Heart, Randy Newman, Public Enemy, and Albert King, as well as two Ahmet Ertegun Award for Lifetime Achievement inductees in producer/promoter Lou Adler and arranger/producer Quincy Jones. What does this mean? Effectively, not much. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum has been around since 1983, inducting artists and industry shakers since 1986, and it’s been an actual building you can visit in Cleveland, Ohio, since 1993. It’s a fine place, designed by I.M. Pei and everything, but it’s not much more than a shrine to particular artists deemed worthy by a shadow group responsible for the voting. Every year, there's mild consternation over that year’s nominees — all of whom become eligible exactly 25 years since first becoming active — but this is nothing like the Baseball Hall of Fame. There is no Internet community driven mad by a Tim Raines–style fascination with, say, Jethro Tull. Wonderful as it might be, there is no Rock VORP in play though Tull’s Flute-Solo-Per-Song (FSPS) average is Gehrig-esque. To honor and examine this moment, Grantland’s resident music critic Steven Hyden and editor Sean Fennessey, a Rock Hall voter, discussed this year’s lineup, some methodology, and asked: Why do we need this thing?