Grading The Strokes Side-Projects: Which Bandmate Did the Best During Their Long Hiatus?

It's been five years since The Strokes released their last album, First Impressions Of Earth. For a while it looked as if we may not be getting another record. Reports of tensions and creative differences within the group led many to believe that First Impressions might be the band's last as a group. But, fortunately for Strokes fans, the band has managed to put aside whatever differences they had, sort of, and a new record, Angles, is due out on March 22nd.

Five years is a long time to wait for a record. So what were the Strokes up to during their hiatus? Turns out that most of the guys were pretty busy during that time, as almost all of them worked on various side projects.

With the release of Angles only a few weeks away we decided to take a look back at what the Strokes were up to during their very extended break. And just in case you think you don't have time to catch up on all this stuff, if you haven't heard it already, we make it a little easier for you and grade the boys on their efforts.

Albert Hammond Jr.

The Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr., kept himself pretty busy during the bands hiatus by releasing two solo albums. His first record, Yours To Keep, was the first solo project to be released by a member of the Strokes and was a very solid record. A bit more indie-pop in sound than his work with the Strokes it featured some great tracks like "In Transit" and "101." His 2008 follow up, Como Te Llama, was more of the same but wasn't quite as good as his debut.
Final Grade: B+

Fabrizio Moretti

For his side project Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti teamed up with Los Hermanos singer and guitarist Rodrigo Amarante and Bikini Shapiro to form the band Little Joy. The group released their self-titled debut in 2008 and it ended up being one of the most enjoyable records of the year. While everyone is pretty psyched to have the Strokes release a new record this year I'm actually hoping it doesn't delay another Little Joy record too much.
Final Grade: A

Nikolai Fraiture

Bassist Nikolai Fraiture released his solo album The Time of the Assassins under the pretty clever moniker of Nickel Eye in 2009. While all of the members of the Strokes side projects had been pretty good up until this point The Time of the Assassins was a bit of a disappointment. The album did feature one pretty good track in "Brandy Of The Damned."
Final Grade: D

Julian Casablancas

Considering most people assumed that Strokes lead singer Julian Casablancas would take advantage of the bands extended vacation and make an attempt at a successful solo career it was a little strange that it took so long for him to release his debut. Phrazes For The Young had an '80s techno-pop vibe to it combined with his signature voice. Ultimately the record was met with mixed reviews and doesn't seem too promising as the first step in a mega-successful solo career.
Final Grade: C

Nick Valensi

Valensi is the only member of the Strokes not to release an album in the last five years. According to his Wikipedia page the guitarist worked with a couple different artists including Devendra Banhart and Regina Spektor. But since we are grading here and he's got nothing to turn in he gets a...
Final Grade: N/C

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Mike Escoto