Thursday, March 8, 2012

Song #148 of 9999 - Bang by Yeah Yeah Yeahs

Song #148 of 9999

Title: Bang
Artist: Yeah Yeah Yeahs
Year: 2001
Album: Yeah Yeah Yeahs

It's funny listening to all these songs from 2001 and occasionally (perhaps frequently) thinking "this sounds so 2001." I had no idea there was a 2001 sound, But there is and I'll share some of it with you tomorrow or over the weekend.

In the meantime, let's look at an EP that defies time-stamping. It's so rare that I'm ahead of the curve with new music, but I somehow managed to come into this EP by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs right when it was released. I remember having the same reaction to this that I had with my first Nirvana experience. I wasn't sure I liked it exactly, but I knew I wanted to hear it again when it was over. It's a very strange sensation.

But maybe that's a normal reaction to hearing something so strikingly original. It's a powerful record not just for Karen O's voice with its punk rock quiver, but for the nuclear energy created by guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase. Zinner's thick guitar sound seems like it would be cold to the touch with its emphasis on low, hollow overtones. Chase's drumming is some of the most complementary I've ever heard as he meets every note of every guitar riff with the perfect selection of timbres and rhythms.

The record borrows from surf rock, punk, rockabilly, even "Crimson and Clover" to form a very interesting blend of styles that is at once derivative and original. I like to think this self-produced record released on the band's own label captures the Yeah Yeah Yeahs sound as they conceived it. None of the (very successful) major label work that followed ever had the raw, heavy sound heard on this album.

Although I am featuring the first track, I highly recommend the entire EP, which can be found here. It's just 14 minutes...unless you have to listen to it over and over again for an hour like I just did. :D

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