I’ve got an eclectic taste in music; The last two concerts I saw were M83 and Scissor Sisters. My favorite show of 2012 was Gogol Bordello, and I checked recently and my most listened to track on my iPod was Prince’s “Kiss.” Embarrassing or Awesome? You tell me.
But one group I’ve been really into is tUnE-yArDs. When first formed, the band was comprised of New England native Merrill Garbus and electric bassist Nate Brenner. Garbus uses looping devices to layer her own drum beats, ukulele and vocals, which can range from rich and buttery, to throaty and Joplinesque, to high and quaking. As far as talent goes, Garbus is as good as it gets.
After her first album, Garbus added two more members to her funkfest, taking her uke/bass/percussion combo to a whole different level with saxophones. While I dig their first album, BiRd-BrAiNs, I’m seriously smitten with their 2011 drop– w h o k I l l. If you can’t tell by their stylized band and album titles, the group is very different. And that’s why I like them. Well, one of the reasons.
I’m also a big tUnE-yArDs fan because I’ve been following them for a few years—Garbus is the daughter of a family friend of ours. I have a hazy early childhood memory of chasing some sort of small pet (bunny? guinea pig?) around her backyard. My dad has been sending me news on her since I was in college. Thanks, dad!
Recently though, Merrill and her crew have been all over, with their new tour w h o k I l l making rounds, and publicity brewing about the live score they came up with for four Buster Keaton shorts. Really unique stuff.
I was lucky enough to catch their show at Bonnaroo, and it was ahhhhh ahhh ahhmazing. They are just as good live as they are tumbling out of my headphones. I stumbled into Garbus after the show. Super cool lady making swoonable tunes! There is really nothing else like them out there right now.
Hands down, my favorite tUnE-yArDs track is “Powa,” off w h o k I l l. It is seriously shiver inducing. Need proof? When Garbus hits those high notes at the end, my cat Zucchini hides under the bed. It’s that good.