Experimental Africana beats, electronics, and trumpets? What do these things have in common? They are the playplace of rising indie star tUnE-yArDs
tUnE-yArDs is the music project of New England native Merrill Garbus. When performing live, Garbus creates drum loops on the spot, and layers these with ukulele, voice, and electric bass (played by Nate Brenner).The “w h o k i l l” tour will add a saxophone section.
The first tUnE-yArDs album, BiRd-BrAiNs, was originally self-released by Garbus on recycled cassette tape. It was recorded using only a handheld voice recorder. A limited edition vinyl was released in June 2009, via the Portland-based imprint Marriage Records. In July 2009, it was announced that Tune-Yards had signed to 4AD, and a limited edition pressing of Bird-Brains was released on August 17, 2009. A full worldwide release followed on November 16, 2009 (and November 17 in North America). The autumn 2009 pressing was remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Christian Wright, and includes two new bonus tracks: “Want Me To” and “Real Live Flesh.”
A second album, w h o k i l l, was released on April 19, 2011. A single from it, “Bizness”, came out in February 2011. It was produced by Garbus and engineered by Eli Crews at New, Improved Studios in Oakland, California. Applying the live approach to her studio work for the first time, Garbus works with bass player Nate Brenner, who co-wrote some of the album’s songs. Comparing the act to Sonic Youth, Frontier Psychiatrist said, “if BiRd-BrAiNs was Garbus’ EVOL, a record bursting with musical ideas that attempted to subvert the notion of song, w h o k i l l is her Sister, a record that embraces the traditional pop song as a vehicle to convey those ideas.”
Garbus’ song “Fiya” is featured on a 2010 commercial for the Blackberry Torch. w h o k i l l has already made it all the way into the UK album charts
Real Live Flesh