The brainchild of Merrill Garbus, tUnE-yArDs began life as dictaphone recordings which were then painstakingly mixed down on GarageBand to create the opening gambit, her debut album BiRd-BrAiNs.
Initially released on a limited LP run through Marriage Records with screenprinted sleeves recycled from thrift store bargain bins, it wasn't long until others took notice and she soon signed a worldwide deal with 4AD. The album was formally released in late-2009, having been remastered and with four more tracks added. The Guardian, whilst awarding it 5/5, called her "the find of the year."
Alongside the record, she also started to build quite a reputation for her live performances. Using loop pedals, two mics, a snare drum, a ukelele, her distinctive voice (she's spent time teaching singing in Kenya) and crucially, a second band member, Nate Brenner on bass. Together, things started to happen when they took to the road with kindred spirits, the Dirty Projectors, on both their US and European tours. As word of mouth spread, the venues they were playing in were filling up earlier than usual as people heard of their genius. Anyone who has seen them live will attest to them being nothing short of incredible live.
The latest album, w h o k i l l, was released on April 18th on 4AD and marks a time when everything came together in to one cohesive whole. Recorded in a studio and influenced heavily by her moving to Oakland, California, she and Nate have made an album that delivers on her early promise. Lyrically Garbus explores constructs of femininity and sexuality with the threat of violence that lurks on the streets where she now lives, while the energy of their show has been translated perfectly to record.
tUnE-yArDs celebrates her birthday today with the news that her new album, Nikki Nack, is in the can.
Being released in the week commencing 5th May, Nikki Nack follows on from 2011's hugely successful W H O K I L L, an album that topped the highly prestigious Village Voice Pazz & Jop poll, based on votes from 700 of America’s most notable music critics.
After affording herself a much needed break, Merrill Garbus is back...
In 2010, Yoko Ono performed several shows with the Plastic Ono Band and special guests at the Orpheum in Los Angeles. Among the guests of Iggy Pop, Mike Watt, Thurston Moore, Kim Gordon, Perry Farrell, RZA, Lady Gaga, Carrie Fisher and Joseph Gordon-Levitt performing songs from throughout Yoko’s career were tUnE-yArDs, an act she had recently fallen in love with.
Their update of the 1972 lyrics of Yoko's ’We're All Water’ was to prove a highlight and shortly afterwards, Yoko...
Tune-Yards is the singular musical project of New England native Merrill Garbus. Possessing an expansive sound that marries a coarse folk ingenuity with the bold pop sensibility of an R&B siren, her debut record Bird-Brains, released on November 16, was assembled with a staunch DIY aesthetic, all dramatically on show in this inauguratory showcase for the 4AD Sessions alongside fellow...