In an era of artificial style over actual content, of press, publicists and pushy people foisting all manner of rubbish into yer blogs and onto yer airwaves, we should appreciate Yeah Yeah Yeahs. The New York three piece have more fire in their collective rake-thin bellies than most. A riot of shiny shiny bobbed hair, caustic barbed wire guitars and neanderthal tub thumping, they’re a welcome and necessary interruption to yer Slaves and Sleafords and whoever else is flavour of the month. They rarely appear on any ‘Best Of…’ and ‘Essential’ lists, they hardly ever pop up in the 6 Music playlists and I can’t remember the last time they toured anywhere near here, but it’s perhaps for those very reasons that when I listen to them they suddenly sound more vital and necessary than any other band around.
Their Is Is EP from 2007 (11 years ago already. Jeez!) is the one to go to. Five tracks long, it’s a snotty, arty and pretentious distillation of all that is great about the band. Vocalist Karen O drawls like the hipper, more street-smart sister of Chrissie Hynde with eye-bothering fringe to match. Brian Chase’s drums are loud and mighty in a John Bonham kinda way and perhaps the most vital ingredient in the band’s art attack.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Rockers To Swallow
On opener Rockers To Swallow he manages to sound like Adam & The Ants playing When The Levee Breaks. Elsewhere, his cymbal splashes and gut-punching floor toms provide a suitably tribal back beat upon which Nick Zinner’s guitar(s) shine. A genuine original, he wrings seven shades of hell from his machine, with a cheesegrater-thin ear-splitting riff here, a feedback-soaked squeal there and a filling-loosening slab of Sabbath in-between.
Yer actual Johnny Marr rates him as one of the current greats, having heard the band blasting noisily from his son Nile’s stereo. A couple of years ago I tried to swap a beautiful Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ tour book, signed by Zinner himself, for one of Nile’s dad’s guitars. He relented of course, but still left with the book. What did I expect?
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Isis
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Kiss Kiss
4 thoughts on “You Know You Should Be Glad”
Yep, can’t argue with any of that Mista Callsta. Funny enough, I found ‘Show Your Bones’ in the car recently and thoroughly enjoyed it, having forgotten what a fine wee combo they are. ‘Zero’ (one of the best singles ever!) has been a SYB fave coupla times. Check out when they shamelessly (but brilliantly) “played to the crowd” at TITP in 2009. There’s not much better than hearing a Noo Yoik accent saying “The East Kilbride Pipe Band!”
That’s a good wee clip. Ta!
Our Time is my favourite, a righteous blast.
I first encountered them through an HMV Playlist cd (what a good idea!) which had Mystery Girl on it.
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