If you saw the members of Iranian indie rock band, The Yellow Dogs, on the streets of Brooklyn, you wouldn't bat an eyelash. They could easily pass for any other messy-haired group of Brooklyn hipsters -- complete with beards, skinny jeans, hoodies, and a passion for Joy Division -- but their roots are anything but typical.
The group hails from Iran, where rock music is considered un-Islamic and a punishable offense.
Now, the band is featured in the eMusic Selects program, which showcases up-and-coming indie artists, and they have a new page on Rockethub, where they're aiming to raise money for a world tour. Rockethub also helped them shoot a video to promote the fundraiser.
As one of the principal bands featured in the 2009 award-winning documentary, "No One Knows About Persian Cats," the Yellow Dogs were once fixtures in Tehran's underground rock scene before Iran's MInistry of Culture caught on to them. So the group fled the city in January of 2010 and headed to New York, where they were granted asylum by the U.S. government and permitted to rock freely.
Their music, as bass and synth player Koory describes it, is "dance-punk-psychadelic," a sort of cross-section of The Rapture and 80s post-punk.
The members explain that they'd like to play in Istanbul, where their friends and parents could legally come see them. "Our parents have never seen us play," admits Obash, the lead singer.
The group has been playing quality venues all around Brooklyn and Manhattan over the past year, and they had a slot at 2010's South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas -- a far cry from their formerly secret venues in Iranian apartment buildings and warehouses.
In 2009, before they left Iran, they were interviewed in a video for CNN, where they showed off their secret practice space, along with their gas-canister microphone stand and broken door. In that video, their grasp of English was a bit shakier, and they claimed their sound was "modern rock played with bad equipment," but their love of music was strong as ever.
And The Yellow Dogs aren't the only band to take this route. Hypernova, also out of Tehran, have booking agents and managers and have already toured America. Their debut album, "Exit Strategy" is available on iTunes.
Watch The Yellow Dogs' video for Rockethub: