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Little Joy

Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti and friends spawn whimsical, tropical-tinged pop project.

What? Complaints from those pining for the return of New York City’s finest garage-rockers, the Strokes, continue to be quelled by the recent upswing of solo projects. And while bandleader Julian Casablancas chases caviar dreams as a restaurateur, Strokes drummer Fabrizio Moretti is the latest Stroke to branch out: His side-project, Little Joy, releases a self-titled debut this week. It’s an eclectic and enjoyable affair, imbued with a simple elegance, as Moretti and pals offer takes on ’50s pop (“Shoulder to Shoulder”), tropicalia (“The Next Time Around”), and pastoral twee (“Unattainable”).

Who? Little Joy’s conception began in 2006, when Moretti met Rodrigo Amarante — singer/guitarist of Brazilian indie-rock outfit Los Hermanos and recent Devendra Banhart collaborator — at a festival in Lisbon, Portugal. A year later, the group added a third member, multi-instrumentalist Binki Shapiro (now Moretti’s girlfriend), and moved into Los Angeles’ Echo Park neighborhood to give birth to their own Little Joy. The album was recorded with the help of Banhart pal and instrumental whiz Noah Georgeson.

Fun Fact: It wouldn’t be a project involving the Strokes if it didn’t involve a booze-filled good time: Little Joy took their namesake from a cocktail lounge near their Echo Park crash pad.

Now Hear This: Little Joy, “No One’s Better Sake”