Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ It's Blitz Blends New York Smut with Vulnerability

In July 2007, Yeah Yeah Yeahs appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman, capping the night with "Down Boy," from their then-current EP, Is Is. "Down Boy" is a dark, sultry song, and the band's singer, Karen O, swayed in place with odd, theatrical movements, unable to keep a lipsticked grin from breaking across her face. When the band finished, Letterman took the stage to thank them, gave Karen O's hand a courtly kiss, kept hold of it throughout his sign-off, and, as the credits rolled, gazed at her as if about to offer to carry her books.

Karen O(rzolek) is, of course, not the first rock star to be crushed on so intensely, but infatuation informed and sometimes devoured the critical reaction to Yeah Yeah Yeahs in their early years. Any rock band with a chick in it, let alone a chick with Orzolek's theatricality and NYC-trashy sense of sex — in 2002, majorly hyped, YYYs were nevertheless more famous for the beer baths she took onstage than for the 13-minute self-titled EP that was then their only recording — is going to have trouble escaping the nominative ghetto of Chicks Who Rock.

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Mon., June 8, 8 p.m., 2009
 
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