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The Yeah Yeah Yeahs ride a tsunami of garage-punk hype into town

Wednesday, Sep 18 2002
There's a track on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' self-titled debut called "Art Star," on which singer Karen O satirizes the hype-induced rise of a conceptual artist. Ironically, although this song was written and recorded almost two years ago, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs now face a similar scenario. Thanks to the current Midas touch of New York City's rock scene, the act needed no more than a 14-minute EP -- essentially a demo -- to be named one of Rolling Stone's 10 Bands to Watch last January. Since then the trio has ridden a tsunami of press, all of it glowing. But now, as the hype machine winds down, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs face the age-old question: Will they live up to the publicity blitz?

As evidenced on the EP, the band's sound is a bawdy brand of garage-punk minimalism. Nick Zinner is a guitar-fuzz master whose simple, cantankerous riffs are pounded by the jazz-style drumming of Brian Chase. Add Karen O's penchant for the risqué ("Take a swallow/ As I spit/ Baby!"), and you've got the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' recipe for rawk. This simple formula seems like it would get tiresome after a while, but, like the similarly outfitted White Stripes, it's amazing how much the Yeah Yeah Yeahs do with it.

Recently, the band canceled its highly anticipated appearances at two of Europe's biggest music festivals (Leeds and Redding) to work on its even more highly anticipated debut album, some of which will be unveiled for the first time on this tour. Expectations are incalculably high, and only time will tell whether the Yeah Yeah Yeahs prove to be the real deal or the Yeah Yeah Maybes.

About The Author

Garrett Kamps


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