The Strokes Grammys-min
[Photo via Spotify]

The Strokes have officially taken home the Best Rock Album award at the Grammys for The New Abnormal. The award was presented during the Grammy Premiere Ceremony and marks their first-ever win at the awards show.

This year, the Strokes were up against some stiff competition including Fontaines D.C.’s A Hero’s Death, Michael Kiwanuka’s KIWANUKA, Grace Potter’s Daylight and Sturgill Simpson’s SOUND & FURY.

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Due to technical difficulties, it took the Strokes a while to realize they had won the Best Rock Album category. Once they heard the news, however, they quickly broke into a celebratory dance. Eventually, they went on to thank Rick Rubin, who produced the album, their family and everyone included in their team.

You can follow along with the rest of the 2021 Grammys winners here and watch the Strokes’ acceptance speech below.

This year’s Grammy nominations were pretty historic for the Strokes and their latest album The New Abnormal. Previously, Julian Casablancas won Album Of The Year in 2014 as a featured artist on Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. By the looks of it, it may also be the last album Daft Punk make together. Casablancas appears on the track “Instant Crush” and is among Pharrell Williams, Nile Rodgers, Panda Bear and Todd Edwards on the LP.

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The Strokes achieved massive chart success with The New Abnormal after its release in April. The nine-track LP earned them their first No.1 debut on the Billboard Top Rock Albums chart. As well, the record debuted at No.1 on the Billboard Alternative Albums chart. The last time this happened for the Strokes was in 2011 with Angles. Along with all of this, all of the songs on The New Abnormal entered the Hot Rock Songs chart, too.

Earlier this week, they launched new merchandise inspired by their baseball uniforms worn in their futuristic video for “The Adults Are Talking.”

 

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More on the Best Rock Album nominees at the 2021 Grammys

Fontaines D.C. may hail from Dublin, but they are making waves in the punk rock music scene worldwide. Their nomination for Best Rock Album marks their first-ever at the Grammys.

Although this feat is worth celebrating, frontman Grian Chatten said the making of A Hero’s Death was anything, but fun. After a grueling tour schedule, the band retreated to the studio to begin work on the album. However, they found themselves drained both physically and mentally.

“I mean, it was truly horrendous at a point, it wasn’t fun,” Chatten told Variety this month. “When we made the record, we were all absolutely fucking exhausted. It’s caused all of us physical and mental damage in some way or another.”

Despite this, however, the Grammy nomination was both surprising and very rewarding for Fontaines D.C. In fact, guitarist Carlos O’Connell is in awe that their music has traveled so many lengths this past year.

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“It was the biggest kind of shock of good news that I’d ever experienced,” O’Connell told Variety. “I think it’s an amazing achievement. For the music to travel that far, to the ears of the people to decide on Dua Lipa and Harry Styles and Billie Eilish that, ‘Oh, that band from Ireland should be on there too.’”

Earlier this year, they revisited their album’s title track for a remix with Belgian group Soulwax. They also just made their American late-night TV appearance on the Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.

A Hero’s Death is available to stream below.

Kiwanuka is a first-time Grammy nominee this year. Since the release of KIWANUKA, it’s been a wild ride. Prior to his first-ever Grammy nomination, the British-Ugandan singer/songwriter won the coveted Hyundai Mercury Prize in 2020. Stormzy, Dua Lipa and Laura Marling were among the other nominees up for arguably the most prestigious award in British pop.

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As an artist who pulls inspiration from many different genres, Kiwanuka was surprised at first to learn he was nominated for Best Rock Album. However, after some contemplating, he realized the category was fitting after all.

“When I started, I used to be jealous of artists that were getting bigger because they seemed to fit in,” he told SPIN this month. “I kept trying to fit in and it never worked. I’m not pop or soul or rock. At first, I thought it’s kind of mad that I’m nominated for a rock album. Now, I like it that the category doesn’t really fit because it means that I’m making my own sound, which is the hardest thing to do.”

One particular song of Kiwanuka’s may sound familiar to Big Little Lies fans. The HBO show, which stars Reese Witherspoon and Zoe Kravitz among others, uses Kiwanuka’s “Cold Little Heart” for its theme. The song appears on his 2016 album Love & Hate.

Kiwanuka’s Grammy-nominated album is available to stream below.

Potter is up for two Grammy Awards this year. Along with Best Rock Album, she also snagged a nomination for Best Rock Performance for “Daylight,” the title track off of her now Grammy-nominated album. This year marks her second and third nominations at the awards show.

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Back in 2012, she was nominated alongside Kenny Chesney for Best Country Duo/Group Performance for “You and Tequila.” However, the award went to the Civil Wars for “Barton Hollow.”

Earlier this month, she recalled the painful events in her life that eventually inspired Daylight. Not only did Grace Potter and the Nocturnals disband, but she also got divorced from her former bandmate Matt Burr. After spending a period of time being angry, she turned towards music as her own way of healing. As a result, she unexpectedly created Daylight.

“I realized I’m giving everyone a hall pass to share the really painful, ugly parts of themselves,” she told Grammys.com this month. “Or the parts that they thought were ugly—which may actually be incredibly transformative.”

When she learned of her Grammy nominations, Potter was taken by surprise. As it turns out, she hadn’t expected to receive any recognition considering the entire album was created unexpectedly. Nevertheless, she is grateful to be nominated this year.

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“It’s organic creativity at its greatest being recognized in a moment in time when I didn’t care about it being recognized,” she told Grammys.com. “And that’s just really a beautiful way for it to happen.”

You can stream Daylight below.

Simpson’s SOUND & FURY has led to his first-ever nomination in a Grammys rock category. However, this year certainly isn’t the first time he’s been nominated at the awards show. In fact, Simpson has been nominated three times in the past and even won Best Country Album for A Sailor’s Guide To Earth in 2017.

Simpson was first nominated in 2015 in the Best Americana Album category for Metamodern Sounds In Country Music. However, the award went to Rosanne Cash for The River & The Thread. Two years later, he went on to win Best Country Album and was even nominated for Album Of The Year. In the end, Adele’s 25 took home the coveted award.

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For SOUND & FURY, Simpson showed more of his rock side, a move that led to his nomination in the Best Rock Album category. However, Simpson also explored other artistic outlets for the new album. Following its release in September 2019, a companion anime film premiered on Netflix. As well, Simpson dove into the world of comic books and teamed up with Z2 Comics for Sound & Fury: The Graphic Novel, a prequel to the storyline of the film.

Currently, Simpson is raising money for the Appalachian region of Southeastern Kentucky which was devastated by severe flooding this week. As a Jackson, Kentucky-native, Simpson has launched a shirt with all of the proceeds going to relief efforts. All direct donations can be made here.

 

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SOUND & FURY is available to stream below.

What are your reactions to the Strokes winning Best Rock Album? Let us know in the comments below.