Trying to classify the lo-fo experimental quirk of Marrill Garbus’ tUnE-yArDs is about as easy as trying to watch 5 different movies at once and fully understanding each of their plot lines. It’s Afro-beat, folk-pop, R&B/Hip-Hop, dance house, and really just everything and anything else that Garbus feels like tossing in. Literally. The first pieces of this indistinguishable music were first documented through a handheld voice recorder, created by a mixture of Garbus’s homemade sounds ranging from loops of strange percussion beats to a plucking ukelele. After two years of piecing the songs together Bird-Brains was released as tUnE-yArDs’ first full-length album. w h o k i l l, released in 2011, profiles a much more disjointed mix of songs with confident vocals inspired by the time Garbus spent teaching singing in Kenya. Despite being produced and recorded professionally, w h o k i l l never abandons the uniqueness of Garbus’s vision as a musician, first exemplified by her premiere album. Since her start, she’s enlisted the companionship of one bassist Nate Brenner as a permanent addition to tUnE-yArDs, bringing in the occasional extra musician or two to add to her layering of textural sound. Garbus and Brenner are committed musicians. They never stray from what they intend to create during both performance and composition. That’s what makes them desirable to listen to , even with the extreme individuality of their music. Maybe our taste as music listeners is becoming more distinguished and we’re growing tired of hearing the same stream of songs playing on the radio. If our preferences are finally developing, I’d say tUnE-yArDs is ahead of the curve and should be expecting a very strong fandom very soon.
tUnE-yArDs plays at 7:30 pm on the Bigfoot stage on Saturday, May 26th.