"I really regret not following my heart for [Phrazes For The Young]," he said over the phone from his home in New York. "In my head, I was like, ‘Do I want to do a weirder thing?’ But I thought it would’ve been swept under the rug, so I went the opposite way." As it happened, "Phrazes for the Young" — an underrated electro-pop jaunt — was swept under the rug anyway; it sold fewer copies than any Strokes album, including last year’s "Comedown Machine," roundly criticized as a careless fulfillment of the band’s contract with RCA Records.
So Casablancas, 36, was determined to stick to his guns for his first effort with the Voidz, whose members include players he’d originally recruited for solo shows. The aggressive sound, he said, reflects his lifelong love of punk bands like Black Flag and his more recent examination of “modern classical music and weird jazz.” And the lyrics channel his sense of outrage that began growing during George W. Bush’s presidency, which Casablancas called “a wake-up zone.”