From the way they dress, you’d probably assume the Yellow Dogs were like any other young, handsomely disheveled Brooklyn indie rock band. You probably wouldn’t guess that they spent years practicing in a clandestine basement to keep their music a secret from Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance. Nor would you assume that two of the band’s four members had been arrested—for their hair. But the Yellow Dogs hail from Tehran, where their brand of Joy Division-influenced rock is illegal.
Two weeks after the band played their first legal show in Istanbul, the Yellow Dogs flew to New York. Obash, Looloosh, Koory and Zina have been here since, keeping the regular low-profile of Brooklyn indie kids. In 2009, documentarian Bahman Ghobadi directed a film about Iran’s underground rock music scene, No One Knows About Persian Cats. The film, which won the Special Jury Prize in the Un Certain Regard category, prominently featured the Yellow Dogs. It’s kind of incredible these guys weren’t caught or silenced by the Iranian regime, and instead can hang out with us at SummerScreen while we sip on canned Sixpoint and watch Wayne’s World. Now, what politically daring moves have you made for the sake of your art recently? More power to them ’tis the point! To quoth Wayne and Garth, the lovable, rock-loving underdogs themselves, “PARTY ON!”
You can check out the Yellow Dogs before they came to the States in this CNN “Inside the Middle East” interview, or spot them practicing in the No One Knows About Persian Cats trailer above. And be sure to show up to SummerScreen at McCarren Park this Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., where you can stick it to Ahmadinejad and experience the truly subversive rock and roll in person.