The Right Stroke
Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. says he never really set out to record his solo debut, "Yours to Keep," which arrived in 2006 in England on Rough Trade, then hit American stores early last year vStrokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. says he never really set out to record his solo debut, "Yours to Keep," which arrived in 2006 in England on Rough Trade, then hit American stores early last year via Scratchie/New Line. "It was more about just leaving the safety of my home and making something more than demos," he says. "Then by the end of the process I had sort of finished an album, and it was like, 'Holy shit, here's a band.' It was very exciting, so we started touring."
Hammond's intentions for "Como Te Llama" (out this week on RCA's new RED-affiliated Black Seal imprint) were somewhat firmer. While on the road supporting "Yours to Keep" -- playing 130 shows in nine months, per Hammond's estimation, including a North American trek with Incubus -- he began writing the songs he knew would end up forming his second solo set. "I had in mind that I was going into the studio to make a record with other players," he says, "and that gave everything a different feel."
But not too different. "Llama," which Hammond and his sidemen recorded in five weeks at Manhattan's famed Electric Lady Studios, still emphasizes the bandleader's knack for tuneful indie pop. But with its bright guitar jangle and occasional soul and reggae flashes, the album is a little less scrappy than its predecessor.
Hammond says he's committed to supporting "Llama" through January, at which point "there's talk about doing some Strokes thing." Gentles is submitting Hammond for several high-profile tour support slots in the fall, but says he's got holds on club dates in September and October if no offer materializes.