tHe PoWa oF tUnE-yArDs
by Dan Weiss | May 11, 2014
No one else in indie music works as hard as Merrill Garbus, has her musical chops or her lyrical ability to share so succinctly and humorously how deeply she cares about the world. In her one-of-a-kind band, tUnE-yArDs, she counters an abusive boyfriend by threatening to get pregnant with birds ("News"), fantasizes about the cop arresting her brother ("Riotriot"), wishes her own skin didn't make her skin crawl ("Fiya"), and buys a two-pound chicken with a blood-soaked dollar ("Water Fountain"). To try and think of a remotely similar rock 'n' roll artist is to point out how the switches and changes of "Sink-O" are more of a reminder of System of a Down than anything else. But her supposed interloping is as sincere and well-schooled as it comes, mastering Motown sha-la-las on "Doorstep" and circular Mbuti chanting on "Rocking Chair," and playing soukous riffs on a ukulele and drums with forks and glasses. On "Real Thing," she makes an uncomfortable point about her country's history with Native Americans. Get to know this incredibly interesting iconoclast with our attached playlist.