06/02/2010 10:50 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Yellow Dogs: An Illegal Rock Band Breaks Out

What repression can do for art: The Yellow Dogs are an amazing rock band in Iran, where rock bands are illegal, along with other important things that make life worth living. I don't think I've felt this way about discovering a band since the White Stripes. My God-- the Yellow Dogs are brilliant. You wouldn't believe they could sound this good unless you've seen them live. They're good; I, and the fifteen other people downstairs at The Delancey last night, can attest to their powers.

We were moving and dancing and all smiles last night to music that's illegally practiced and performed in a basement in Tehran, so the downstairs of The Delancey made them feel at home, said the lead singer. It was good, like I-was-just-on-my-way-home-and-tired-but-I-made-myself-see-this-band-good. Oh, the humanity, that you can't see them live, too. Right now.

But you can watch this music video and tell everyone you know going to SXSW that they'll be there:

I caught up with the Yellow Dogs after the show. Standing on a corner on Delancey, all gracious and adorable, they shared their influences: Joy Division, The Rapture, Arctic Monkeys, Modest Mouse, Moving Units, and The Kinks. I wanted them to cite The Beatles as well, but they didn't. Later, when I got home and watched their music video, I saw the poster of John, Paul, George, and Ringo in a shot - ahhh, I knew it. Who doesn't love The Beatles?

Remember when I said that Phoenix, that electronic pop band from France with that big hit back in the day, was going to be huge, music to make the spring ever springier? I'm right when I say that the Yellow Dogs are one of the best bands in the world. If you're in South By Southwest (SXSW) this week, make sure to see them at The Wave on Wednesday March 17 at 8pm. They're playing at 8pm so you know they'll help you get the night started. And they are also featured in a Cannes-celebrated documentary about the illegal rock underground in Iran called No One Knows About Persian Cats, co-written by Roxana Saberi, a journalist recently freed from prison in Iran. The doc, distributed by IFC, will be in select theaters and available by download April 16.

I'm so glad I listened to my friend who emailed me from San Francisco: "undeground iranian band playing NYC tnite...pretty inspiring." This is the friend who first introduced me to Radiohead, so I'm obligated to listen to him, on these matters. (Thank you, Payam.)

Austin, you're going to love them. I want the Yellow Dogs to play at my wedding.