Yeah Yeah Yeahs (EP)

The band is currently touring with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and will perform at the Catalyst in Santa Cruz on Sept. 19 and the Fillmore in SF on Sept. 20.

Forget about The Strokes, The Hives, The Vines—or whatever cool MTV garage band is being hyped as the next big thing. It’s easy to replicate an unpolished “old-school” look or sound, but the real thing—teetering on the edge of musical chaos—is still better. Hence the draw for New Wave/riot grrl Brooklyn trio the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, led by the crazed theatrics of front woman Karen O, a roughly sewn temptress in Siouxsie threads heaping up praise in the alt press for her mesmerizing presence.

Backed by the rabid drumming of Brian Chase and sloppy, diesel-punk/blues of guitarist Nick Zinner, O doesn’t display much of a singing voice but makes up for it with her delivery, from squeals and sighs to overblown yelps. She sounds like a dusted Chrissie Hynde about to fly into an empty swimming pool.

Some might argue the music suffers some from lack of a bottom end (no bass), but it still exudes celebratory rawness as well as a refreshing lack of lyrical irony (for example, the economic “as a fuck, son/ you suck” from “Bang"). Lower East Side punk chic made into fun, easy dance steps.

Highlights on this five-song EP include catchy Blondie-esque rocker "Miles Away"; the abrasive "Art Star" jumping between a bouncy, pop riff with O talking about "screwing on tracks of abandoned train stations" then launching into Half-Japanese-flavored, mic-in-throat screams; and finally the closer, "Our Time," a strange valediction for post 9-11 New York with its slow "Crimson and Clover"-modeled chorus of "It’s our turn to be hated."