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Yeah Yeah Yeahs: “Heads Will Roll” and “Zero”

Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who have been around since 2000, are getting a lot of coverage. Spin’s March cover story is about the band — the piece is promoted here — but apparently isn’t online yet. The New York Times also recently ran a piece on the indie band. This paragraph is about halfway through:

You’ve never met three more awkward rock stars. Chase is a consummate music nerd, a conservatory-trained jazz drummer who  still plays in the city’s experimental scene. Zinner, who looks the part of a rock star, is a regular at bars and other bands’ shows but doesn’t say much. And Karen O is an exhibitionistic Boo Radley, a warped dervish onstage who disappears after the encore and is rarely seen out in real life. What they have in common is a hypersensitivity to the world that borders on pathological — a near parody of the artist’s temperament. It sounds like a miserable way to live. “There’s definitely been times where I thought I would trade any of my gifts just for a normal, happy life,” Karen O said. But it’s also their secret weapon. When the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ collective anxiety about, well, anything — themselves, one another, existence in general — boils over, it happens to make a really cool sound. As the band’s producer Dave Sitek puts it, “Discomfort is fuel for them.” (Continue Reading…)

I have no idea what Time’s writer Lizzy Goodman means by the phrase “an exhibitionistic Boo Radley,” and sort of doubt she does either. But it’s a nice phrase, and Karen O certainly is a great front person.

There is dark stuff in many of the band’s videos. Above is Heads Will Roll and below is Zero.

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Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

🎼🎺🎻🎹🎷🎶🎵


What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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