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O Yeah

She screams, she moans, she squeals one minute and growls the next, she pants lyrics like "bigger is better" and writes chorus lines about bad fucks. Karen O is the rock star every girl wishes to be and every boy wishes to be with. Or vice versa, she's that cool. Frontwoman for New York art-garage band Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Karen O, along with Brian Chase on drums and Nick Zinner on guitar, is making the music industry succumb to her band's trash punk like a willing servant under the spiked heel of a dominatrix's stiletto.

Notorious for their sleazy, sweaty, beer-soaked performances, word about this art-rock trio spread from their home nook of Williamsburg faster than the Hipster Handbook hit the bookshelves of scenesters everywhere. When O formed the band with college pals Chase and Zinner, dark and dirty clubs seemed a realistic future, not the major-label bidding war they were recently in the thick of (after a lengthy decision-making process they signed with Interscope in February). The Yeahs went from indie to major in a mere eight songs. With the glaring absence of a full-length album in their repertoire, the buzz about the Yeahs, which grew to near-deafening decibels, centered on their over-the-top live shows and two teaser EPs they released last year. Their self-titled first EP is raunch-rock at its finest. The five song Yeah Yeah Yeahs is a lo-fi masterpiece, unabashedly showcasing O's tremor-inducing wails backed by a range of explosive guitar, pop-oriented melodies and bursts of drums. Sing-alongs like "Our Time" and scream-alongs like "Art Star" make the EP a necessary element in gritty, garage-rock collections. Their second EP Machine features three more tracks of the same.

In May, the Yeahs released their first full-length, the much-anticipated Fever to Tell, proving to the public there was substance behind the hype. The album has garnered the Yeahs oodles of press from every music mag on the market. Nary a publication can be opened without seeing O's cherry-lipped pout, Chase's intent stare and Zinner's Robert Smith-like coif. With bedhead hair messily framing her face and strategically ripped punk chic clothes, O is the picture of rock star infamy. Throw in a few stories of backstage shenanigans, including a run-in with Courtney Love and the ransacking of Clinic's dressing room at South by Southwest and you get the sense her look isn't merely a gimmick. Photos of O are nearly as ubiquitous as the year's earlier spreads of Chan Marshall, who could be found everywhere smiling girlishly from beneath her bangs, as she rode the wide-spread acclaim of her recent Cat Power album You Are Free. This visual inundation however, is where the similarities end. If Cat Power is the shy, soft-spoken girl next door then O is the slutty girl from across the tracks who spits, steals 40's from the liquor store, swears like a sailor and makes out with all the boys. In the new wave of rock, her outspoken sex tigress attitude is the antithesis of Meg White's 'sisterly' reticence and she is the drunken rock counterpart to sexed up no-wave star Peaches.

If you cannot be Karen O, though an army of O look-alikes proves that many are trying, seeing her on stage writhing, yelping, crooning and seducing, is your next best bet.