Side project is such a loaded term. It almost always invalidates whatever project is being talked about, especially since it's inevitably something less popular than the "main" project. Still, to be a side project there does have to be that "main," and when talking about the Strokes, can we be sure that the former saviors of rock-and-roll are still committed to rocking together. Back in those halcyon days of 2001, it seemed like you never saw a Stroke on his own; they were a gang as much as a band. But it's been almost three years since we've heard from the Strokes on record, and that was the mostly dull "First Impressions on Earth." The band members don't even live in the same city; guitarist Nick Valensi and drummer Fab Moretti call L.A. home. Albert Hammond Jr. has released a pair of solo albums and frontman Julian Casablancas is a Converse pitchman. Is this it? Maybe, but probably not. In the meantime, Moretti has formed Little Joy with his girlfriend Binki Shapiro and Rodrigo Amarante of Brazilian rockers Los Hermanos. A Los Angeles-based band with Brazilian connections ... it's no wonder the music is so sunny, breezy and carefree. If you're looking for the hardened, urban angst of the Strokes, you'll have to look elsewhere. But Little Joy, playing tonight on the Black Cat's backstage, should do plenty to warm up your autumn evening.
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