When I was in college, my outlet for finding about new bands releasing debut albums was CMJ, along with the albums that would get sent to the radio station. It was obviously a bit of a subjective crapshoot, but for the most part my tastes agreed with the reviews in CMJ. Also, the benefit of our music directors sustaining phone relationships with the same A&R reps over the course of a year or two meant that when those A&R reps called to hype certain albums, they would usually shoot straight about what new stuff was good, and what was garbage that they had to push regardless.
Since college, the internet and music blogs have obviously jumped into the forefront of exposure of new bands who've yet to release anything. This volume of saturation can of course be problematic because very few blogs will simply tell you simply that a new band has a debut album being release. They have to give an opinion along with it. Before I had ever heard a note of Vampire Weekend last year, I seemingly read a novel's worth of posting and opinions concerning the fact that VW were A) The greatest band since the Beatles, or B) The worst band since Wings. (Shockingly, the band actually fell into neither classification, but apparently there's no fun in writing "This band is perfectly OK!")
The Strokes are a rarity in my life in that I seemed to know a ridiculous amount about the band before hearing a song, yet it wasn't due to college or the internet. I can't even remember how I started hearing about them, although I believe there may have been a huge story in Rolling Stone before Is This It was released, and people still read Rolling Stone in 2001. The influences of Television/The Stooges/Lou Reed were obvious, but this was an album where the musical influences and lyrical content don't demand a whole lot of dissection. It's just a great 35 minutes. I listened to this album last night front to back for the first time in years, and when it was done, I simply thought, "That's pretty excellent." As someone who tends to overanalyze most music I listen to, I don't think I've ever put forth much effort to "read into" The Strokes. To try and do so seems to be missing out on a large part of the fun.
Also, can we all agree that "Family Feud" would be far more entertaining if each episode ended with a cross-family brawl? The video does not lie.
BONUS: While checking out The Strokes wikipedia page, I was shocked to find this Blondie-esque cover of "Last Nite" from graduation fanatic Vitamin C. How did I never see this before? It's amazing this was released to the public!