It's not hard to spot the art-school damage when listening to tUnE-yArDs, the one-woman band helmed by Merrill Garbus. A lo-fi, kitchen-sink mentality runs through her debut album, BiRd-BrAiNs; the collection marries acoustic guitar strums with metallic drum machines and stitched-together beats. What's buried beneath the static is an affinity for classic pop songwriting and forceful female vocals — Garbus' voice carries with it a dump truck full of soul, suggesting a cross between Nina Simone and Polly Jean Harvey. On "News," clattering, drumstick-on-chair percussion supports jazzy ukulele strums while Garbus' multi-tracked vocals harmonize like a menagerie of morningbirds. Xiu Xiu, Jamie Stewart's long-running sideshow of tortured, industrial mea culpas, headlines the show.
Support Local Journalism.
Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.
Join the Riverfront Times Club for as little as $5 a month.
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.