- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 21, 2002

Back in February, the rock mag Rolling Stone picked 10 artists to watch in the coming year. Local audiences will have the chance to see whether the old publication is still worth its salt this week, when three of those acts the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs , Andrew WK and Hoobastank (who open for 311 tomorrow at Nation) stop in the District.
The Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs are quickly being swamped by the same media hype that overwhelmed its fellow New Yorkers, the Strokes, last summer. The trio made of up of singer Karen O, guitarist Nick Zinner and drummer Brian Chase is fresh from the studio, where they are working on a 10-song debut record, set for release this spring or summer.
The band is still pondering whether to make a move to a major label for the album's release. A five-song EP, "Master," released late last year, has already been making the rounds and gaining a flood of attention. The trio opens for former D.C. band Girls Against Boys at the Black Cat tonight.
"Most of the feedback has been good," says Karen O via phone, her voice sounding tired from a late night of partying. "It's blown our stack…we've been bombarded by these record company types."
"Master" is filled with blues-driven riffs, set to the angst-ridden, scratchy vocals of Karen O, that sound a bit like Siouxsie Sioux or a female version of the Stooges. One track that shows the band's range is "Art Star," which starts off with spoken vocals before mutating into a distortion-filled, angry, hard-rock number.
"We were hearing from people before we were even selling it in stores," Mr. Zinner says of the EP. "It found its way to Sweden and Montreal. People told us they were playing it at parties…everyone just kind of stumbled over it."
Another artist people are stumbling over is Andrew WK. His debut album, "I Get Wet" begins with a heavy metal riff, thunderous drumming and the singer (born Andrew Wilkes-Krier) chanting "It's time to party…don't try and deny/We're going to have a party tonight" on "It's Time to Party."
It's perhaps the first time heavy metal has combined with the peppy-fun of dance pop, a la the Go-Gos, and marks a return to the kind of rock once practiced by Motley Crue and Kiss.
One has the distinct impression that Andrew WK himself will come to beat you up if you don't follow through on his many demands to get a party started, which makes his death metal, without the death, both sinister and comical. See whether that threat comes true tonight at the 9:30 Club. He returns to the Black Cat in early April, as part of the MTV2 tour.

Another act that defies most conventional definitions of what it means to be a metal act is Dream Theater , now in its second decade as a band. The quintet formed in the late 1980s, mixing the progressive rock style of Yes and Rush with heavy guitars and plenty of ambition.
The group has never made the big time, though legions of devoted fans have made it possible for the band to release its 10th, and boldest, record, "Six Degress of Inner Turbulence." The two-disc set features a slightly experimental first half, before the 42-minute title track takes over. That song, based around six characters suffering from mental disorders, is operatic in its scope, mixing metal with a full orchestra.
The band brings its strange vision to the 9:30 Club Sunday.

Anyone who likes to frequent smaller clubs in the D.C. area has probably come across Rubin Kinkaid . The band rarely plays outside the area, but has frequented the Metro Cafe, Mr. Smith's, Zig's Bar and Grill and a handful of other, popular venues that tend to nurture local talent. It plays a free gig at Luna Park Grille in Arlington Saturday.
In true D.C. fashion, the members of Rubin Kinkaid actually knew each other from the upstate New York music scene, before separately transplanting themselves to the District. When bassist Ed Morrissey and singer-guitarist Debbie Cohen stumbled into each other at a club one night, without knowing either was in the area, they made plans to form a band.
Several years later, Rubin Kinkaid (its name comes from the fictional manager on "The Partridge Family") has grown larger in reputation than any of its members anticipated. A short EP, "Apathy," gained local attention back in 2000, and last year's "Pink Elephant" has helped them draw a following in the area.
The group is rounded out by guitarist Chris Macica and drummer Scott Evans.
"The more we play out, the more we realize how powerful this music is," Miss Cohen says by phone. "Just watching people respond to it has made us want to write more."
"Pink Elephant" opens with the title track, a driving number that showcases Miss Cohen's melodic vocals and the somewhat crunchy guitar sound of Mr. Macica, along with the punchy drums of Mr. Evans. The band's sound owes its debt to the grunge era, but Miss Cohen's vocals often recall '80s acts like Pat Benatar and Blondie.
"People who have been following us since we started say that we have become a little more raw and edgy and a little heavier, actually," says Mr. Morrissey on a conference call.
Upcoming appearances include the Washington Area Music Association's Crosstown Jam on April 20 and more shows throughout the spring, with an eye toward gigs in Baltimore and Richmond. An album of new material will be ready, the band hopes, for a late spring or early summer release. Though all four members still have day jobs, the band is taking more of their attention.
"It's not fluff," Miss Cohen says of the music. "There's a groove there that's edgy and melodic."

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Copyright © 2019 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide