Music Review: Tyranny by Julian Casablancas + the Voidz

Mirina Garoufalidis

While I’m sad to see summer go, fall has welcomed me with a treat. Not pumpkin spice lattes and nice weather, but Julian Casablancas + the Voidz’s first album, “Tyranny,” released on Sept. 23.

Casablancas has previously produced six albums: five as the leader singer of The Strokes and one solo. He headlines this new band, which Casablancas described in the Voidz’ preview video, “Can I VHS you?” as “trying to become that gap” of the “in between area in music that hasn’t been explored.”

While videos of the Voidz reveal worrying clips of Julian attempting to look cool, the album’s curious sounds fit impossibly together. “Tyranny” completes the evolution of Casablancas’ voice from mostly decipherable on “Is This It” to groggy on “First Impressions of Earth” to wholly unclear on “Tyranny.”

The band devotes nearly 11 minutes to the album’s focus, “Human Sadness,” where the first minute entails electronic blur, eerie synths, and a moving bass line before it hits the artfully auto-tuned chorus. My personal favorite from the album is “Dare I Care,” whose Middle Eastern beat entices the listener to move. It starts with a bouncing, hip-moving guitar line before transitioning to the best part, electronic fragments reminiscent of Casablancas’ “Phrazes for the Young” album, paired with the cry of “I don’t care anymore.” arabic-sounding vocals.

“Crunch Punch” begins and ends with vintage-sounding radio clips and a riff that slowly falls into tempo. Fragments of screamy vocals and a metallic bass guitar haunt the angry “Business Dog.” “Where No Eagles Fly” sports a rhythmic, strumming bass line and an appealing modern sound, with a brief five-second electronic bit evocative of the guitar hook of Weezer’s “The Sweater Song.”

The album expresses themes of violence with songs titled “M.utually A.ssured D.estruction,” “Nintendo Blood,” and “Off to War.” Quick, angry notes complete the impression of bullets and destruction. Electronic manipulation, syncopated rhythms, and moving guitar lines punctuate “Tyranny” as a distinct and cool work of art. After playing the album seven times and counting, “Tyranny” still grows on you with each listen, putting Julian Casablancas + the Voidz on my list of favorites.


Want more? See Julian Casablancas + the Voidz at the Masquerade on Oct. 22. Tickets still available for $27.75.

Click here to listen to “Human Sadness”

Click here to listen to “Where No Eagles Fly”


Check out how the lead singer and guitarist describe their noise music in excerpts from their preview video, “Can I VHS you?”

What is the meaning behind the Voidz?

Julian Casablancas (vocals): I feel like there’s a lot of in between area in music that hasn’t been explored, and I guess it’s trying to kind of become that gap.

Jeremy Gritter (guitar): For me, I’ve always liked the energy of punk rock, I liked all the hard angst, and just putting your heart on your sleeve. I could tell Julian wanted to have the ability to play technical stuff but also be able to thrash on pretty chords. For me, this is the band that I needed to be in for years.

JC: Technical insanity.

What does the Voidz sound like?

JC: It sounds like, I don’t know, you tell me. What do you think it sounds like?

JG: It sounds like the music of our time, I don’t know, like I don’t think I can put a name on it.

JC: The record is kind of like, in a weird way, it’s kind of a protest. I try to keep it universal and subtle, but it is pretty sad, I guess.

JC: I’ve always felt like the best cool things are never cool in their time, it takes years, and it also has a political parallel.