Yeah Yeah Yeahs - The Band

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"This is Our Time!/Our Time!" chants the genetically cloned cyberchild of Souxie 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

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. 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 4-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 bands 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' (This trend in itself is perhaps homage to older bands such as The Ramones). Whilst benefitting 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!' ("take a swallow as I spit baby/ As a f--k, son, you suck") and incest references in 'Cold Night' also helped mark her our in an industry seriously lacking in provocative female rock performers. She somewhat inevitably began to draw comparisons with the likes of PJ Harvey and Blondie.

Karen Orzolek of Bergen County, N.J., gamboles around the stage in a childlike manner, tumbling and shaking with reckless abandon*. 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 cat suit or 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. With Zinner being skeletal, pale and having an unusually high-rise crop of hair and Karen O generally looking quite bizarre, drummer Brian Chase looks somewhat out of place in the band. He sports 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 and the New Yorker the continued success of the YYY's remains a little uncertain. The fact that they are currently the next big thing in the eyes of the media means they are also open to the fickleness of the fashionista set. Much will depend on their second album to be released soon which, the band claims represents a radical change in direction.

*She did actually fall off the stage at the Sydney Metro, perhaps due to a little too much abandonement.

Discography

This includes all singles, albums and dvd releases to date.

Albums

The YYYs have currently only released one full length album Fever to Tell' but they also released a self-titled 5 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)

Singles

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
Official YYYs Website

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