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2000 – present (17 years)
New York, New York, United States
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.
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.
"Fever to Tell" was nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Music Album and was certified Gold in the UK. The New York Times chose "Fever to Tell" as the best album of the year. In June 2005, the album was ranked number 89 on Spin magazine's list of the 100 Greatest Albums, 1985–2005. It is also featured in the book "1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die." In 2009, the album was declared by Rolling Stone, Pitchfork Media, and NME, the 28th, 24th, and 5th best album of the decade, respectively.
The video for "Maps" was nominated at the 2004 MTV Video Music Awards for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Editing, and the MTV2 Award.
"Show Your Bones" 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 "Show Your Bones" as being the 44th best album of 2006, while Spin magazine ranked it number 31 on their 40 best albums of 2006.
Karen O won Spin Magazine's Sex Goddess Award in both 2004 and 2005. In 2006, she was named one of rock's hottest women by Blender. In 2007, Karen O placed #3 on Spinner.com's Women Who Rock Right Now. In February 2010, she won a Shockwaves NME Award for the Hottest Woman.
"Where the Wild Things Are OST" was nominated for the "Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media," a songwriter's award, at the 2010 Grammy Awards.
"It's Blitz!" was ranked as the third best album of the year 2009 by NME and second best by Spin. Both magazines also listed the song "Zero" as the best of the year.
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