Yeah Yeah Yeahs are an American indie rock band formed in New York City in 2000. The group is composed of vocalist and pianist Karen O, guitarist and keyboardist Nick Zinner, and drummer Brian Chase. They 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 four 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 US and on April 6, 2009 elsewhere. Their fourth album, Mosquito, was released on April 15, 2013.
Karen O and Brian Chase first met as students at Oberlin College in Ohio in the late 1990s, 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 with future members of the band Metric. The two formed an acoustic duo called "Unitard", but soon decided to "shake things up a bit" by forming a "trashy, punky, grimy" band modeled after the art student, avant-punk bands Karen O was exposed to at Oberlin. After the drummer they recruited initially bowed out, Chase joined the line-up.
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. 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.
Fever To Tell (2003-2004):
In 2003, the band released their debut 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. In 2010, Rolling Stone ranked "Maps" as 386th in their list of the "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. 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, NME rated Fever to Tell the No. 5 Best Album of the Decade.
Show Your Bones (2005-2006):
Their second album, Show Your Bones, was released on March 27-28, 2006. 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." The first single from the album, "Gold Lion", was released on March 20, 2006, reaching number 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.
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 (2007):
Yeah Yeah Yeahs' third 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. Three of the five tracks were featured on the "Tell Me What Rockers to Swallow" DVD.
It's Blitz! (2008-2009):
The next album by the band was released in March 2009 and is titled It's Blitz!. 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 the band's label, Interscope, pulled the release date closer to reduce the impact of the online leak. The album spawned three singles: "Zero", "Heads Will Roll" and "Skeletons".
It's Blitz! 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.
On December 9, 2011, Karen O reported to NME that she had been working on new music with the band, hinting a new album was possibly in the making.
On January 14, 2013, it was announced via their official Facebook page, that the new album is titled Mosquito and is due to be released on April 16 of the same year. It features production by TV on the Radio's Dave Sitek, Nick Launay, and LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy.
The first single "Sacrilege" was released on February 25, 2013.
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."
Touring and performances:
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.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs performed on the Late Show with David Letterman on April 5, 2013.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs have recently been confirmed to headline and curate ATP's I'll Be Your Mirror festival at Alexandra Palace in London on May 4, 2013.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs are scheduled to play at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, in Indio, California on April 12 and 19, 2013, and at the Firefly Music Festival on June 21-23, 2013.
Fever to Tell
Best Alternative Music Album
Show Your Bones
Best Alternative Music Album
Best Alternative Music Album
MTV Video Music Award nomination:
Best Art Direction in a Video
Best Editing in a Video
Best Cinematography in a Video
Heads Will Roll