I've been entranced by tUnE-yArDs for a long time. Bandleader Merrill Garbus makes music about rage and love; it wrestles with cultural inequality while also celebrating the joy of what it feels like to open your mouth and let out a wild sound.
Originally published on Thu March 29, 2012 12:33 pm
Credit Courtesy of the artist
Merrill Garbus, the woman behind tUnE-yArDs, began as a solo act, and her talent practically explodes out of every performance. She commands any space, especially from behind a set-up of a tom and snare drum, a ukulele, and her bare feet atop the loop pedals from which she builds her compositions. Every sound that Garbus weaves into her songs is so deliberately placed that "experimental" seems too nonchalant a word.
The music of tUnE-yArDs can be deceiving. Instruments transform; recordings morph; one voice can sound like four or five. The woman behind the project, Merrill Garbus, can certainly make a lot of noise on her own. Armed with a ukulele, drums and a voice that has been called a cross between Aretha Franklin and Yoko Ono, Garbus uses a loop pedal to build songs that are larger than life.