It’s been a big, big week for The Strokes. The band announced their first album in seven years, released a music video for a new single, called “At The Door,” and debuted another all-new track during a live show earlier this week.
But most important of all, their candidate won big on Monday.
“New York City cops, but they ain’t too smaaaaaaarrrtttt,” The Strokes’ Julian Casablancas sang during a performance of “New York City Cops” at Bernie Sanders’ pre-primary rally in New Hampshire this week. The show was frantic madness: Cops rushed the stage to stop a crowd of surging fans, and after the show, Casablancas told Rolling Stone that his head was spinning.
But really, what could be more head-spinning than helping to snag a win for your candidate.
The Strokes have been just about as #WithBernie as any band during the 2020 Election, and they’re far from alone. Bernies Sanders (this guy?) won the New Hampshire primary this week — but he won the Indie Rock Primary weeks ago.
Justin Vernon threw his support behind Sanders at the start of the month, doubling down on his endorsement from the 2016 race. Ezra Koenig, meanwhile, jumped behind the senator just before the Iowa Caucus, dragging his Chacos to the state for a get-out-and-vote edition of a Vampire Weekend show.
Take that list and add Jack White, Weyes Blood and Frankie Cosmos — plus plenty of non-indie artists like Killer Mike, T.I. and Ariana Grande — and Bernie practically has his own Coachella lineup sitting inside his donor list. Meanwhile, Michael Bloomberg has … John Mellencamp … apparently?
So what’s going on here? Well, for one thing, the guy shows up.
You’ve gotta hand it to him: For a 78-year-old, Bernie really gets around. He’s backstage at Ariana Grande concerts, he’s sitting down for one-on-ones with Killer Mike and he’s hitting the nail salon with Cardi B (no manicures included, tragically).
And he’s totally game for it! There’s nothing ironic about Sanders, and his totally wonky, neurotic knack for turning every conversation into a wealth inequality debate has made him incredibly adept at explaining his policies to any type of audience — whether that’s Congress, voters or, increasingly often, rappers and indie bands.
There’s also probably something about his grandpa-ish, curmudgeonly aura that musicians like. In his deep insistence on uncoolness, he’s become the coolest politician of our time. And, how can we forget his 1987 folk record — which is hilariously not an SNL sketch.
There’s also plenty of evidence of musicians saying exactly why they agree with Bernie’s politics, his ideology and his approach to defeating Donald Trump. And those things absolutely matter — but they’re not everything.
If Elizabeth Warren, who is similar to Sanders in a number of important ways, had the same type of vibe, she’d at least have, like, St. Vincent in her corner or something.
But she doesn’t, and instead, we have Bernie Sanders — who could (very possibly) be the first-ever Pop Music President.
The *also* most important
Lil Nas X has found his next mega-hit: In three months, “Old Town Road” will be a total afterthought … maybe? Lil Nas X announced this week that his newest collaboration will feature some industry mainstays — The Wiggles. This is not a joke.
Drake wants to start the UFC of rap battles: You may not have heard of the Ultimate Rap League yet, but you probably will soon. It turns out Drake is taking the organization, which coordinates rap battles between skilled freestylers into the streaming universe. The battles, produced by Aubrey himself, will appear on Caffeine, a new platform aiming to compete with Twitch and YouTube.
Big bops, new tunes
Thundercat really likes Yerba Mate: Kenny Beats’ wonderful, inspiring and usually completely insane YouTube show, “The Cave,” usually features rappers freestyling over a beat the producer just made for them. This time around, Thundercat hops onto the track himself, recording a series of must-see bass riffs, fart-noise-laden freestyles and an inordinate amount of canned tea.
Social media flex of the week
Tyler, the Creator has way too many famous friends: Tyler shared his version of the “sorry I don’t post enough but here are some pics from my trip to Belize” clout-chasing post, but made it a lot better. The 28-year-old shared a six-photo compilation of what seemed like an incredible last several weeks, featuring cameos from Kanye, Greta Gerwig and Quinten Tarantino.