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Monday, 25 February, 2002, 17:37 GMT
The Strokes: New York rock heroes
The Strokes
The Strokes' debut album reached number two
No guitar band has had a more heady rise recently than New York punk revivalists The Strokes, who are enjoying a swift and steep ascent to stardom.

They were named best international newcomers at the recent Brit Awards and were the stars of the NME Awards barely 12 months after exploding onto the music scene.

The Strokes
The Strokes won a best international newcomer Brit
The five-piece's scruffy-but-suave style and raw, retro music came along at the perfect time for fans fed up of the abundance of acoustic, sensitive new bands.

A blaze of hype at the start of 2001 heralded The Strokes' arrival, and they have gone on to prove that they were worth the interest.

Their looks and music make them heirs to the 70s New York punk legacy, with comparisons invariably including The Velvet Underground, The Stooges and Television.

But they do not come across as mere copyists.

 Click here to watch The Strokes sing New York City Cops on Top Of The Pops

Their restless, compulsive songs encapsulate the hot, edgy streets of the pre-Giuliani city and they have been hailed as saviours of New York's music scene.

Geoff Travis, boss of London's ultra-indie Rough Trade Records - the label that gave the world The Smiths - needed no persuasion to sign the band.

The Strokes
The Strokes: Julian, Fab and Nick
After hearing just 15 seconds of a track down a trans-Atlantic phone line, he immediately knew that he wanted to release their debut EP, The Modern Age.

"A few days later, he was in New York to see us play," lead singer Julian Casablancas told BBC News Online in June 2001.

The Modern Age scraped to number 78 in the UK singles chart, but started the ball rolling that later saw then earn two top 20 hits and a number two album, Is This It.

The band members' frayed looks betray their backgrounds - Julian's dad John started the Elite modelling agency 25 years ago and Julian met guitarist Albert Hammond Jr while the pair were at school in Switzerland.

The Strokes were born after Julian met the others - Fabrizio Moretti, Nick Valensi and Nikolai Fraiture - at a later school in New York.

Special

Their first gigs quickly earned them a reputation as incendiary live performers with natural style and energy inherited from the city's old masters.

Geoff Travis says he instantly knew that The Strokes were something special - but that he later realised they were even better than he first thought.

"I've been quite surprised by how good they really are," he said.

"I had a nice feeling that something might happen, but you never know."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
New York City Cops
The Strokes
See also:

25 Feb 02 | Music
The Strokes rock NME Awards
04 Dec 01 | Music
Strokes hit critics' top spots
24 Aug 01 | Reviews
Strokes of genius
29 Aug 01 | Reviews
The Strokes: Your views
29 Aug 01 | Reviews
The Strokes: Press views
10 Jun 01 | Music
New York's new sound
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