NYC is exploding with new garage/punk/new wave bands. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs are one such band, but until very recently, they were the one everyone had heard of, but not actually heard. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have enjoyed NYC's garage punk renaissance; they were chosen to open tours with The White Stripes and The Strokes due to their sexy and arty, yet lighthearted punk style. While the headliners have flooded commercial airwaves with a much-needed taste of the underground, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs barely had an EP out on their own Shifty Records. Touch and Go Records released the EP in the U.S. and Wichita distributed it abroad in support of the group's U.K. tour -- all of which was in preparation for the band's fall 2002 debut album release which wound up being delayed until spring 2003 (but proved well worth the wait).
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs' sound is raw and energetic garage punk rock with a taste of new wave and the look and feel of the shows during the early '80s heyday of CBGBs. Singer Karen O could very well be related to Joan Jett, with her fishnet stockings and pleather belts hanging from torn miniskirts. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs also conspicuously steal the guitar riff from Jett and the Blackhearts' hit version of the Tommy James song "Crimson and Clover." Nick Zinner hits the stage with a spiky hair and plays dirty and lurching guitar like an apathetic and drunken Sid Vicious doing Skull Kontrol. All told, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs are terrifically entertaining and cool without taking themselves seriously -- plus, helpfully, they have the kind of sound everyone is freaking out over.
On the eve of the long-awaited release of their debut full-length LP Fever to Tell on their new superpower new label Interscope Records, the YYYs kept their fans hungry with a great EP on Touch and Go entitled Machine, the title track of which appears here. Finally in April, the album came out at last, with an attendant media blitz sure to make the YYYs a household name from here to Kalamazoo. Those turned off by NYC scenesterism may want to dismiss this album on principal, but a single listen to Fever to Tell careening rhythms, cock-rock guitar riffs, and Miss O's sex-kitten shrieking will hook you on the band for life. Every song is a gem, with some dark and rather tender pieces dropped in among the art-garage rave-ups. The Yeah Yeah Yeahs have certainly proven by now that they're the real deal -- expect them to be around for a long long long time.