The Yeah yeah yeahs were born, broadly speaking, from the same New York scene
as the Strokes
Although deeply routed in New York, this sound has spread out across the world. What we may well be witnessing is the birth of a new genre, a new musical movement. Although this movement could be seen to be closely related to the Detroit rock scene, or indeed the garage movement, it is distinct from both. The New York scene could be identified by its more art house feel, typified, by the more progressive, indulgent sound of the yeah yeah yeahs. The Detroit rock scene is in contrast a calvinistic sound, denying itself any unnessecary bloat, and revelling instead in the naive exuberence of youth.
When the Strokes broke onto the music scene two years ago, they were pretty special. Sounding raw and fuzzed up, they created a lot of excitement. But we've come a long way from there. If you go back to your Strokes album now, it sounds tired, staid and conservative.
Bands such as the Raveonettes, The Kills and the YYYs have picked up that baton and run with it. And the sound is still progressing, still spreading. The Kills represent an expansion, not just geographically (Hotel is a South Londoner) but also in style, bringing in sounds from deep underground alternative movements from the past, bringing in the sound of the alternative movement in London. The Raveonettes also represent a significant step. Whereas the YYYs could be seen as a direct progression from the Strokes, simply more intense and extreme, the Raveonettes revisit the sounds of the sixties, the sounds of Phil Spectre (bad time to do so methinks). Ripping across genres with wall of sound production and close male/female harmonies, they sound like the soundtrack to a thriller. So although the sound of the White Stripes might on first impressions be closely linked to the YYYs, it is the more indulgent, artistically progressive bands that make natural companions.
And this scene continues to grow. The scene is set, and the ground is fertile. The YYYs are the flag carriers, for now. But what else is out there? Being inspired, and influenced by the New York scenes freedom to experiment Because thats what this scene seems to be, the permission to release something carnal, something raw, without first polishing it to a high sheen. We had Nu Metal, a corporate monster designed to extract money from teenagers. Now we have the YYYs: art punk with a green card to be crap. And because they /can/ be crap, they can hit highs only dreamed of by the more commercial bands.
Whilst the detroit scene is excellent, it is essentially a closed door, a dead alley. The New York scene, however, offers true development of expression.