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Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Yeah Yeah Yeahs in 2003. From left to right: Brian Chase, Karen O and Nick Zinner.
Background information
Origin New York City, New York, USA
Genres indie rock, art punk[1]
Years active 2000 (2000)–present
Labels Interscope, Fiction, Modular, Polydor
Associated acts Native Korean Rock, Head Wound City
Website www.yeahyeahyeahs.com
Members
Karen O
Nick Zinner
Brian Chase

Yeah Yeah Yeahs are an American indie rock band that formed in New York City in 2000. Since their inception, the band has comprised vocalist and pianist Karen O, guitarist and keyboardist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase, who are complemented in live performances by second guitarist David Pajo, who joined as a touring member in 2009 and replaced Imaad Wasif who had previously held this role. According to an interview that aired during the ABC network's Live from Central Park SummerStage series, the band's name was taken from modern New York City vernacular. The band has recorded three studio albums; the first, Fever to Tell, was released in 2003. The second, Show Your Bones, was released in 2006 and was named the second best album of the year by NME. Their third studio album, It's Blitz!, was released on March 31, 2009 in the USA and on April 6, 2009 in the rest of the world.

Contents

History

Formation and first EP

Karen O and Brian Chase first met as students at Oberlin College in Ohio in the late '90s, where Chase was a jazz student at the conservatory. Karen then transferred to New York University, and while in New York met Zinner in a local bar, where they formed an "instant connection". During this time they also shared a loft in Manhattan with future members of the band Metric.[citation needed] The two formed an acoustic duo called "Unitard", but they went electric after being inspired by Ohio's avant-punk scene. After the drummer they recruited initially bowed out, Chase joined the line-up and decided to form a punk band similar to the "trashy, punky, grimy" art student groups that Karen had left behind in Ohio.[2] The band wrote a slew of songs at their first rehearsal and soon wound up supporting the Strokes and the White Stripes, earning a significant buzz for their arty and garage punk scene. In late 2001, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs released their self-titled debut EP, which they recorded with Boss Hog's Jerry Teel, on their own Shifty label.[3] Early the next year the band stepped into the international spotlight, appearing at South by Southwest, touring the U.S. with Girls Against Boys and Europe with Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and headlining their own U.K. tour. Wichita Recordings distributed the group's EP in the U.K. and Touch and Go reissued it in the States.[4]

Fever To Tell

In 2003, the band released their first complete album, Fever to Tell, which received several strong critical reviews and sold more than 750,000 copies worldwide. The album's third single, "Maps", received significant airplay on alternative radio. The video for their 2004 single "Y Control" was directed by Spike Jonze. In October 2004, the band released their first DVD, Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow. The DVD included a concert filmed at The Fillmore in San Francisco, all of the band's music videos to date, and various interviews.

In November 2009, the NME rated Fever to Tell the #5 Best Album of the Decade.[5]

Show Your Bones

Karen O live at the Tim Festival

Their second album, Show Your Bones, was released on March 27–28, 2006. The album's producer, Sam Spiegel – who had previously collaborated with Karen O on the song "Hello Tomorrow" for an Adidas commercial directed by Sam's brother Jonze – told MTV News that it was a concept album about Karen's cat, and would be titled Coco Beware. However, MTV was forced to retract the story, noting that Spiegel had failed to mention that he was joking.[6] Karen O told online zine Drowned in Sound, "Show Your Bones is what happens when you put your finger in a light socket," crediting "9 year old antigenius wonder-kid Drake Barrett for the insight."[7] The first single from the album, "Gold Lion", was released on March 20, 2006, reaching 18 in the Official UK Singles Chart. It has been noted by Leah Greenblatt that "Gold Lion" sounds startlingly similar to "No New Tale To Tell" from 1980s alternative band Love and Rockets.[8] The band toured throughout Europe and the United States during much of 2006, and also helped to curate an edition of the British All Tomorrow's Parties festival. In December 2006, the album was named the second best album of the year by NME magazine, as well as "Cheated Hearts" being voted the 10th best song. Rolling Stone magazine named it the 44th best album of 2006, while Spin magazine ranked it number 31 on their 40 best albums of 2006.

Is Is EP

Yeah Yeah Yeahs' second EP, titled Is Is, was released on July 24, 2007. It includes 5 previously unreleased songs and a short film, which was recorded and filmed at the GlassLands Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. The songs were written in 2004, during the Fever To Tell tour, and performed live often.[9] Three of the five tracks were featured on the "Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow" DVD.[10] They are also going to be releasing a DVD of a performance on May 7 in New York directed by Patrick Daughters. However, the DVD of the performance is yet to be released. The iTunes Store added all the performances in video form.[11]

It's Blitz!

The next album by the band was released in March 2009 and is called It's Blitz!.[12] The band says the album sounds different from their previous ones but "still [sounds] like Yeah Yeah Yeahs". The album was originally set to be released April 13, but following the leak to the Internet on February 22[13] the band's label, Interscope, pulled the release date closer to reduce the impact of the online leak.[14] The album was named as the second best of 2009 by Spin Magazine and third best of 2009 by NME along with "Zero" from the album listed as the best track of the year by both.[15][16][17][18]

Artistry

Their style has been described as "an art-rock trio who made an edgy post-punk, dancefloor-friendly racket that mixed up Blondie with Siouxsie and the Banshees."[1]

Touring

Alongside performing headlining tours across the world, the band has supported artists such as Björk, The White Stripes, The Strokes, Liars, and Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The band became one of the first western rock acts to play in China when they headlined the Modern Sky Festival in Beijing in 2007.[19]

Side projects and collaborations

Karen O and Nick Zinner both appear as guests on Tiny Masters of Today's album Bang Bang Boom Cake. The song was written via email and features Karen singing. In addition, Karen co-directed and all three band members were featured in the video for the group's "Hologram World" video.

In 2009, the band appeared on a charity album War Child Presents Heroes with their version of The Ramones' song "Sheena Is a Punk Rocker". Zinner also contributed to the Bright Eyes' record Digital Ash in a Digital Urn and performed with the band on tour.

Soundtrack work

In 2005, Karen collaborated with MC Kool Keith on the track "Teaser", which was said to be on the porn film Deep Throat vs. Lialeh soundtrack.[20] However the soundtrack was never released but recently started circulating on the web.[citation needed] For the movie Jackass 2, Karen O collaborated with electronic artist Peaches and Johnny Knoxville to record a track entitled "Backass". In 2007, Karen contributed vocals to a version of Bob Dylan's "Highway 61 Revisited" for the I'm Not There movie soundtrack.[21] She also appears on the soundtrack of the film Where The Wild Things Are, directed by former boyfriend Spike Jonze.[22] Their song "Runaway" was also featured on the April 20, 2009 episode of Gossip Girl. "Sealings" appears on the Spider-Man 3 soundtrack.

The KO At Home demo leak

On December 10, 2006, a home-recorded album titled KO at Home was leaked via an invite-only BitTorrent tracking site. The album, originally a personal gift to Dave Sitek of the NYC band TV on the Radio, was discovered inside a suitcase Sitek left behind in a New York City apartment. The disc's 14 tracks and scan of the cover – a photograph of Karen O with a poem written by Oscar Wilde on the back – quickly spread. The music news site Stereogum broke the story of the leak[23] the following morning and continued their coverage[24] when Sitek lashed out at the fan who leaked the demos.[25] Eventually Sitek followed up his comments with an apology letter.[26] Karen O's response to the leak was "shit happens" and although she was somewhat "grossed out," she offered advice on which of the mp3s she liked the best,[27] namely the tracks "Pumpkin" and "Snakes and Worms".

Head Wound City

Nick Zinner also collaborates in a mathcore/thrashcore supergroup Head Wound City. Other members of the group are Jordan Blilie (Past Lives, The Blood Brothers), Cody Votolato (Jaguar Love, The Blood Brothers), Justin Pearson (Holy Molar, The Locust) and Gabe Serbian (The Locust, Holy Molar). Their debut self-titled EP was released in 2005.

Discography

References

  1. ^ a b McLean, Craig (June 13, 2009). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs: why fans of the art-punk trio can't say no". Times Online. http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/music/article6485717.ece. Retrieved 2 January 2010. 
  2. ^ Hanley, Lynsey (February 26, 2006). "Lynsey Hansley talks to Yeah Yeah Yeahs". The Guardian. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2006/feb/26/popandrock.yeahyeahyeahs. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  3. ^ "Jerry Teel". Discogs. http://www.discogs.com/artist/Jerry+Teel. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  4. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs". mtv.com. MTV. http://www.mtv.com/music/artist/yeah_yeah_yeahs/artist.jhtml. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  5. ^ "The Strokes' 'Is This It' tops NME albums of the decade list". NME News. NME. November 17, 2009. http://www.nme.com/news/the-strokes/48412. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  6. ^ Solarski, Matthew (November 30, 2005). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs Title New Feline Concept Record". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. http://web.archive.org/web/20080307170930/http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/news/35524-yeah-yeah-yeahs-title-new-feline-concept-record. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  7. ^ Roberts, Colin (January 11th, 2006). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs LP and single details, yeah". Drowned In Sound. http://drownedinsound.com/news/562122. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  8. ^ Greenblatt, Leah (June 16, 2006). "Did The Red Hot Chili Peppers copy Tom Petty?". Entertainment Weekly (883). http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,1204700,00.html. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  9. ^ Maher, Dave (July 13, 2006). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs to Release New EP of Old Songs". Pitchfork. Archived from the original on 2008-03-07. http://web.archive.org/web/20080307024159/http://www.pitchforkmedia.com/article/news/43606-yeah-yeah-yeahs-to-release-new-ep-of-old-songs. Retrieved 2009-09-17. 
  10. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs to release new EP". NME. June 13, 2007. http://www.nme.com/news/yeah-yeah-yeahs/28940. Retrieved 2008-11-19. 
  11. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs videos". iTunes Store. http://itunes.apple.com/WebObjects/MZStore.woa/wa/viewArtist?id=1265171&mt=5&s=143441. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  12. ^ Breihan, Tom (January 21, 2009). "New Yeah Yeah Yeahs Album: It's Blitz". Pitchfork Media. http://pitchfork.com/news/34436-new-yeah-yeah-yeahs-album-iits-blitzi/. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  13. ^ "diditleak.co.uk". http://diditleak.co.uk/?paged=2. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  14. ^ "Yeah Yeah Yeahs to release album early due to leak". NME. March 3, 2009. http://www.nme.com/news/yeah-yeah-yeahs/43188. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  15. ^ "The 40 Best Albums of 2009". Spin. December 7, 2009. http://www.spin.com/gallery/40-best-albums-2009?page=39. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  16. ^ "50 Best Albums of 2009". NME. http://www.nme.com/list/50-best-albums-of-2009/159978/. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  17. ^ "50 Best Tracks of 2009". NME. http://www.nme.com/list/50-best-tracks-of-2009/159979. Retrieved 13 December 2009. 
  18. ^ Spin Staff (December 7, 2009). "The 20 Best Songs of 2009". Spin. http://www.spin.com/articles/20-best-songs-2009. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 
  19. ^ Sisario, Ben (2007-11-25). "For All the Rock in China". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/25/arts/music/25sisa.html. Retrieved 2007-12-03. 
  20. ^ van Horn, Teri (May 13, 2005). "Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O Tackles Folk Music, Porn". mtv.com. MTV. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1501795/20050513/yeah_yeah_yeahs.jhtml. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  21. ^ "New Karen O – "Highway 61 Revisited" (Stereogum Premiere)". Stereogum. October 25, 2007. http://stereogum.com/archives/new-karen-o-highway-61-revisited-stereogum-premier_006927.html. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  22. ^ Kasia Galazka (2007-11-20). "Karen O is Where the Wild Things Are". Paste Magazine. http://www.pastemagazine.com/articles/2007/11/karen-o-is-where-the-wild-things-are.html. Retrieved 2007-11-20. 
  23. ^ "Karen (Dem)O". Stereogum. December 11, 2006. http://stereogum.com/archives/mp3/karen-demo_004140.html. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  24. ^ "The Story Behind The Karen O Demo". December 11, 2006. http://stereogum.com/archives/the-story-behind-the-karen-o-demo_004144.html. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  25. ^ Sitek, Dave (December 11, 2006). "Blogpost about Karen O's demo leak". http://youngliars.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html#39643304333086041. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  26. ^ Sitek, Dave (December 12, 2006). "Apology letter". http://youngliars.blogspot.com/2006_12_01_archive.html#7815441358413327623. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 
  27. ^ Adler, Heather (December 14, 2006). "Karen O on Demo Leak: 'Shit Happens'". dose.ca. http://www.dose.ca/photos/music/story.html?id=ffc20ba9-da25-4e03-b2cf-d7db526bee08&k=18318. Retrieved 2009-04-15. 

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