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Day 13: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

 


Yeah Yeah Yeahs are an indie rock band formed in New York City, New York, USA in the late summer of 2000 by Karen O, born Karen Lee Orzolek (vocals), Nick Zinner (guitar, keyboards) and Brian Chase (drums). Their music melds genres ranging from new wave to art punk and garage rock using heavy guitars, synthetic sounds, and screaming, erotic, bluesy vocals. Karen O is known for her energetic, animated stage presence, complemented by her outrageously colorful costumes.

The band have recorded three studio albums (“Fever to Tell,” “Show Your Bones,” “It’s Blitz!”), as well as three EPs (“Yeah Yeah Yeahs” EP, “Machine” EP and the “Is Is 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. 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. 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 9 July 2001, Yeah Yeah Yeahs released their debut EP Yeah Yeah Yeahs, which they recorded with Boss Hog’s Jerry Teel, on their own Shifty label. In 5 November 2002 they released the second EP entitled Machine on Touch and Go label.

In 29 April 2003, the band released their first studio album “Fever to Tell,” which peaked at #13 on UK albums chart, #55 on Billboard 200 and also received critical acclaim. The album was produced by David Sitek and the band. Four singles were released from this album: “Date With The Night,” “Pin,” “Maps,” “Y Control.” The album’s third single, “Maps,” received significant airplay on alternative radio and is their most known song.

In October 2004, the band issued the DVD, “Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow” which included a concert filmed at The Fillmore in San Francisco, all of the band’s music videos to date, and various interviews.

Their sophomore album “Show Your Bones,” featuring acoustic guitars mixed with their trademark sound, was released on 27 March 2006 and reached #11 on UK albums chart and #11 on US Billboard 200. “Show Your Bones” was produced by Squeak E. Clean, David Sitek and the band members. Three singles supported this album: “Gold Lion” (#18 UK , #14 Modern Rock), “Cheated Hearts,” and “Turn Into.”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ third EP, titled Is Is EP, was released on 24 July 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.

The third full-length album “It’s Blitz!” was released 9 March 2010 for the digital version and 31 March 2010 for the CD, with an 6 April release for the rest of the world. The album was produced by the band’s long-term producer Dave Sitek, along with Nick Launay and it’s notable for its mix of indie rock and electronic sound. Three singles were released from this album: “Zero” (#49 UK, #18 US alternative chart), “Heads Will Roll,” and “Skeletons.”


Side projects and collaborations:
Nick Zinner also plays in Head Wound City, a hardcore supergroup with members of the Blood Brothers and The Locust, and has toured with Bright Eyes for his album, Digital Ash in a Digital Urn. Brian Chase has an active side project in the form of his improvisational band, The Seconds.

Karen O had begun working on a small side project called Native Korean Rock and the Fishnets with fellow NYC musicians in 2008. On the collaboration-project “N.A.S.A. The Spirit of Apollo”, she appears on the track “Strange Enough,” together with Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Fatlip.

In 2005 Karen O collaborated with Kool Keith on the track “Teaser.” For the movie “Jackass 2”, she collaborated with Peaches and Johnny Knoxville to record a track entitled “Backass”. In 2007 she contributed vocals to a version of “Highway 61 Revisited” by Bob Dylan for the “I’m Not There” soundtrack.

Karen O wrote and performed with Nick Zinner, Brian Chase, Bradford Cox of Deerhunter and Yeah Yeah Yeahs associate Imaad Wasif on the soundtrack of the Spike Jonze’s film adaptation of “Where the Wild Things Are,” credited as Karen O and the Kids.

In 2008, Nick Zinner and Karen O both appeared on the Tiny Masters of Today album, “Bang Bang Boom Cake.” Karen also directed the video for their song “Hologram World.”

Track Info:
1. Rich 3:36
2. Date With The Night 2:35
3. Man 1:49
4. Tick 1:49
5. Black Tongue 2:59
6. Pin 2:00
7. Cold Light 2:16
8. No No No 5:15
9. Maps 3:40
10. Y Control 4:01
11. Modern Romance 7:29

Fever to Tell

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