Yeah Yeah Yeahs

From left: Brian Chase, Nick Zinner, Karen O

From left: Brian Chase, Nick Zinner, Karen O Photograph by David Yellen

Time Out Ratings :

<strong>Rating: </strong>0/5

"We played a show at Mercury Lounge in November," says Nick Zinner, guitarist for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. "The next day, there were two messages in our e-mail box. One was from Jon Spencer, inviting us to tour Europe. The other was from Rolling Stone, saying they wanted to put us on their 'Ten Bands to Watch' list. Before I knew it, labels, lawyers and accountants kept calling. I had to unplug my phone."

Somehow, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs—who formed a year and a half ago and have yet to complete their full-length debut (it should be out early next year)—have been anointed the band of the moment. The Brooklyn trio is an unlikely pick for such a dubious distinction, and not only because of its greenness. The band's fidgety punk is artier than the music that typically inspires accountants to stalk guitar players, and little on its self-titled EP would tickle the ears of FM programmers.

No doubt, much of the attention is directed at Karen O, the triple Yeahs' charismatic singer. Onstage, she giggles and twists, showering herself with beer while belting throaty come-ons over Zinner's jerky guitar and Brian Chase's drumming. "I'm fine falling all over the place and letting everyone see my underwear," says the singer, who initially declined this interview out of "shyness." "The one thing that embarrasses the shit out of me is when my boobies pop out of my dress."

While some listeners may head to shows anticipating popping boobies, others are more concerned with the garments from which they escape. Perhaps the only indie rocker with a personal seamstress—designer Christian Joy—Karen comes across as something like Chloë Sevigny with a backing band. "The first dress Christian made me was really out there," she says. "The night of the show, I pled to the rock gods, 'Please let me live up to this dress!'"

If Karen is worried about being upstaged by a dress, one can only imagine how her bandmates feel. "You know," Zinner says, "I wouldn't want everybody to look at me onstage anyway."

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