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Yeah Yeah Yeahs - the Band

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'This is Our Time!/Our Time!' chants the genetically-cloned cyberchild of Siouxie Sioux, Gwen Stefani, Suzi Quatro and that randy dragon out of Shrek; the android sex queen of New York trash-flash named Karen O. She's bang on the money. With NYC spewing out stupendous bands like a diseased dog puking stardust, meet the next wave. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.
- Mark Beaumont, NME Magazine Review.

The Yeah Yeah Yeahs formed when vocalist Karen 'O' (Orzoleck) and guitarist Nick Zinner decided it would be fun to form a loud, sexy punk-rock band back in 2000. As Karen O explained to Rolling Stone:

What I wanted to get out of my system with this band was sex and violence and perversion.

Their first musical collaboration together included a four-track, drum machine and copious amounts of alcohol. Despite the informal nature of this first session they soon brought in drummer Brian Chase, a former college friend of Karen's to supplement the band. The combination of Karen O's bombastic vocal and stage performances and the experienced musicianship of Zinner and Chase meant the band had the perfect sound and attitude to impress a burgeoning New York rock scene.

One of the band's breakthrough performances was supporting The White Stripes in 2000, when they (The Stripes) were still a relatively obscure band. For this concert Brian Chase had to use Meg White's drumkit, not having his own. They went on to benefit from a resurgence in the garage-rock sound led by bands like the White Stripes, fellow New Yorkers The Strokes, and many other band beginning with 'The'1. While benefiting from the same spotlight that was being turned on these other bands, a lot of media hype concerning the YYYs centered on lead singer Karen O. Her bizarre sense of style and onstage antics cause many to hail her as a new icon of fashion and rock 'n' roll. Sexually-charged lyrics in songs like 'Bang!' and incest references in 'Cold Night' also helped mark her our in an industry seriously lacking in provocative female rock performers. She inevitably began to draw comparisons with the likes of PJ Harvey and Blondie.

Karen Orzolek of Bergen County, New Jersey, gambols around the stage in a childlike manner, tumbling and shaking with reckless abandon2. At the same time this analogue of innocence is a little skewered by her quasi-orgasmic moaning, squealing and beer-swilling. Outlandish clothing or costume also generally accompany her performance, at one performance she slicked herself in oil and wore heart-shaped pasties on her breasts, another time a silver catsuit and on one occasion a face smeared with lipstick.

Karen O's vocals range from high-pitched squeals to soft melodies and she is complemented in this by virtuoso guitarist Nick Zinner. A talented guitarist, he creates a sound that switches easily from harmonic to guttural riffs. Alongside the skeletal Zinner, who is pale with an unusually high-rise crop of hair and Karen O, who generally looks quite bizarre, drummer Brian Chase looks somewhat out of place in the band. He sports a conservative look: clean-cut and with glasses. Musically, however, the classically-trained percussionist fits in quite nicely keeping a solid, flowing beat.

Despite critical acclaim from media establishments such as Rolling Stone magazine and the New Yorker the continued success of the YYYs remains a little uncertain. The fact that after the release of the first album they were considered to be the 'next big thing' in the eyes of the media means they are also open to the fickleness of the fashionista set3.


This includes all singles, albums and DVD releases before October 2005.


The YYYs have currently only released one full length album 'Fever to Tell' but they also released a self-titled five-track single (below) which has on it a good portion of their earlier songs.

Fever to Tell (2003 Polydor)

  1. Rich
  2. Date With The Night
  3. Man
  4. Tick
  5. Black Tongue
  6. Pin
  7. Cold Light
  8. No No No
  9. Maps
  10. Y Control
  11. Modern Romance
  12. Yeah! New York (Bonus Track)


Yeah Yeah Yeahs(2002 Wichita)

  1. Bang
  2. Mystery Girl
  3. Art Star
  4. Miles Away
  5. Our Time

Machine (2002 Wichita)

  1. Machine
  2. Graveyard
  3. Pin Remix

Date with the Night (2003 Polydor)

  1. Date with the Night

DVD Releases

Tell Me What Rockers To Swallow

Live at the Fillmore, San Fransisco.

  1. Y-Control
  2. Black Tongue
  3. Rockers To Swallow
  4. Down Boy
  5. Cold Light
  6. Machine
  7. Modern Things
  8. Cheated Heart
  9. Mystery Girl
  10. Maps
  11. Date With The Night
  12. Miles Away
  13. Poor Song
  14. Our Time
  15. Art Star
  16. Modern Romance

Bonus Songs:

  1. 10 x 10
  2. Rich
  3. Black Tongue
  4. Sealings
  5. Miles Away
  6. Tick

Related Links

A good starting place for more information is the Official YYYs Website.

1This trend in itself is perhaps homage to older bands such as The Ramones.2She did actually fall off the stage at the Sydney Metro, perhaps due to a little too much abandonment.3A fashionista set is a group of people who are in the fashion or other trendy industries - for example fashion designers, artists, socialites and so on.

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