What to Do Tonight: Julian Casablancas

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On his first solo album, last year’s Phrazes for the Young, mush-mouthed Strokes singer Julian Casablancas continues to explore the retro-leaning and brisk indie-rock that made his band stars almost a decade ago. The careening opening track, “Out of the Blue,” sounds like a Strokes leftover, but poppier, synth-heavy tunes like “Left & Right in the Dark” and “Ludlow St.” have more in common with the Cars. And Casablancas sings with a bit more clarity than he does on the Strokes’ three albums. “I used to view the vocals as primarily an instrument like everything else,” he says. “For this album, I wanted it all to blend together. Even though I wanted dense rhythmic polyrhythms, I wanted the vocals to be clear and present.” He also delved a little deeper for lyrics. He especially likes “Left & Right in the Dark.” “It has so many meanings,” says Casablancas. “It could be about how we’re just running around searching for meaning or it could be about tossing and turning in bed. It could be the physical act of love. It could be the earth spinning around.” Casablancas says he’s “psyched” for his first solo tour and maintains that the Strokes aren’t over. “My personal feeling is that the band is cool and will always play shows and do records,” he says, adding that a new group album is in the can and will likely be out before the end of the year. “I do feel like in the early days, I was crazy involved on all levels. When I do the solo stuff now, even though it sounds nothing like the Strokes, it’s more of a continuation. I think part of me now feels like I have to prove myself.” Casablancas plays House of Blues (308 Euclid Ave., 216.523.2583, houseofblues.com) at 8 p.m. Saturday. Funeral Party opens. Tickets: $19.50 advance, $22 day of show. — Jeff Niesel

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