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Thread: tUnE-yArDs

  1. #1
    sing to the moon dAmION's Avatar
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    tUnE-yArDs

    I didn't see a Tune-Yards thread so I decided to start one. I really excited about upcoming release Nikki Nack.




  2. #2
    She was looking out the window Snow White's Avatar
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    Very, very excited for this album and tour. Glad to see this thread.

  3. #3
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    Her last album was stellar and this one sounds like it will be in the same league. Did anyone else think she was a big bosomed black woman before they saw her? I love her voice.

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    Sleeps to dream entropy's Avatar
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    I love "Water Fountain". Her voice seems more tame on this album!

  5. #5
    sing to the moon dAmION's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASpark658 View Post
    Her last album was stellar and this one sounds like it will be in the same league. Did anyone else think she was a big bosomed black woman before they saw her? I love her voice.
    lol I can see where you'd get that.

  6. #6
    Sleeps to dream entropy's Avatar
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    NPR is streaming the album! I'm really enjoying my first listen. So far "Water Fountain" and "Real Thing" stick out!

  7. #7
    She was looking out the window Snow White's Avatar
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    ^ Thanks for the heads up. My workday just got a lot better!

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    I'm half and half about this record after two listen, it's really enjoyable but some weaker cuts, giving it more time.

  9. #9
    Senior Member baroquepopfan's Avatar
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    Sounding promising, and hopefully a worthy follow up to w h o k i l l. It's great to hear something loud and lively, but with a bit of sophistication and cleverness too. I'm pretty sure this album will live in my car's CD player this summer, culminating with seeing her at the End of the Road festival at the end of August.

  10. #10
    Cause I Like You theswirlgirl's Avatar
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    Here the link to the stream--legit I guess since it's not a leak: http://www.npr.org/2014/04/25/306543...rds-nikki-nack

  11. #11
    sing to the moon dAmION's Avatar
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    Video for Water Fountain.

  12. #12
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    Fun album.

    I think "Water Fountain" remains my favorite but I'm still unsure about how it ends :/ I like the idea of the layering/unlayering structure but in reality it kind of feels like it just peters out. More listens required, I guess!

    I think it's a more consistent album than w h o k i l l, even tho it lacks a "Gangsta"
    Last edited by Andrew; 05-01-2014 at 11:34 AM.

  13. #13
    I am not a loony beanstew's Avatar
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    From the Guardian:

    Tune-Yards: politics, pop and Pee-wee's Playhouse
    It's hard to imagine Merrill Garbus getting bored with herself. As Tune-Yards, she piles ideas into her songs like they're colourful ribbons stuffed into a car, streaming out of the windows as it careers along the causeway. She smears warpaint across her face when she performs, looping her voice, ukulele and drums as she sings – or yells – about issues such as racial profiling and gender stereotyping. Her vision for our photoshoot, meanwhile, is "Pee-wee's Playhouse". She doesn't strike you as an artist who suffers from creative block.

    However, that's exactly what happened when Garbus returned home from touring her breakthrough record, 2011's Whokill. "I was getting bored with myself," she says, scrubbing off the last of the fuchsia lipstick she wore for the camera. "Sure, a lot of people are telling you you're great, but I wasn't feeling great physically, and I was tiring of the set-up that I had. So I tucked away the things that I relied on to write with before. I was ready to do something new."

    This new way of working included reading books about how to write a pop hit, listening to talks by experimental singer Meredith Monk and taking up vodou drum and dance lessons. The latter experience involved a trip to Haiti, where she spent four hours a day pounding drums and swivelling her hips. "I've been making a wild mess," she later wrote of how she channelled that energy on to tape back in her Oakland, California studio. "Sometimes it sounds like an out-of-control beast I cannot begin to tame."

    In the end, though, she curbed the chaos and smoothed it into Nikki Nack, her third album, a lurid combination of frantic percussion, slack-kneed reggae beats, octave-hurdling vocal theatrics and production that beefs up her lo-fi racket so it can compete with anything else on your iPod. "It feels new, difficult at times, and very dense," says Garbus – and she's right. Never mind the sounds that squeeze in and rub up next to each other – dancehall, Katy Perry hooks, and 80s R&B acts such as Lisa Lisa & Cult Jam – there are several lyrical and thematic layers. Her songs may give the illusion of being playground jump-rope chants, with the repetitive rhythm and pace of a hopscotch race, but listen a little harder and they're dark, often distressing affairs. It's a balance inspired in part by TV shows and books for children. "I think it has a depth that a lot of adult art does not," she explains. "It carries more darkness because it's couched in joy. You can't expose a child to a super-disturbing idea, you have to have a fun thing, but the adult creating the art has this darker understanding of the world, and they don't want to lie to the kids. I think there's a lot of that [in my music]. I don't want to just say, 'Let's dance all night', as if there's nothing wrong with the world. Because that's a big old lie."

    Take Water Fountain, for example, a song from which neon-lit sounds spurt out of every crevice. Its tune may fool you into "thinking that you're listening to a kids' song", explains Garbus, but actually it's about "the disintegration of society and the rotting of American cities", as well as touching on Haiti's economic issues, such as rice importation. "And then you can just shake your asses to it," she says. It's a crucial point; the asses, that is. Tune-Yards' music isn't so worthy or so overstuffed with ideas that you can't enjoy it. Like MIA, she cloaks her political messages in party music. "People like her make what feels like crazy dance music but the words are calling for revolution," says Garbus of the Paper Planes star. "I've found her to be a real inspiration in terms of that being possible; that people could actually want to dance to music like this."

    At the same time, though, and despite her wacky image, Garbus takes her messages seriously. "I think about how everything that we have here comes at a cost to someone somewhere else," she says. "People are still unaware about what's happening outside of their world and they divorce themselves from it. It's like, 'Oh, those poor, pitiful people in Haiti', and it's insulting to not say, 'Well, part of Haiti's poverty is [because of how] Europe and America has exploited its riches for itself, and not given it a fair economic chance, ever. And sure, there are earthquakes and hurricanes, but politicians and people don't see the connection between what we do here and what happens in the rest of the world, as if we're very innocent."

    Haiti, however, is "just one part of the puzzle". The incessantly catchy Stop That Man reflects on issues closer to home, such as last year's George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin trial, and what she has called in the past "white-person guilt". "It's a lot about my own confusion and also coming to terms with crime in my neighbourhood; multiple friends of mine have been robbed at gunpoint," she explains, adjusting her bobbly orange cardigan. "But instead of saying, 'This man is the guilty one and I am disassociated from that', [it's about asking], 'Where am I on the spectrum between Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman? How can I do all I can to work against racism within myself, and against fear, stereotyping, and all the things that I think made up what Zimmerman's [motivation] was. Those are important questions and they are uncomfortable to ask."

    The sound of R&B subtly creeps through Nikki Nack like a buzz genre that doesn't want to be caught out. After two self-produced albums, Garbus went into the studio with Frank Ocean co-writer Malay and Rihanna producer John Hill. It was the first time that she and Nate Brenner, her Tune-Yards bandmate and boyfriend, had worked with other producers; Merrill picked them because they "weren't just trying to make the right song". They've taken Tune-Yards' quirks and teased them out, adding, as on standout track Wait For A Minute, starry OutKast sounds to complement Merrill's bigger soul moments. I tell her they remind me of Mary J Blige. "Truthfully, I don't think I intended for it to sound like that," she admits, "but I had been taking voice lessons and there was a new aspect to my voice that I hadn't heard before, so we just went for it. It's a lot more like other kinds of music to me, but it still has these things that make it sound 'wrong'. If I'm going to have an R&B-type jam then I need something to be a little bit off."

    I could peel back those layers all day, but Merrill is tired after an unusually long day of press; more than ever before, she notes. Since our interview, she's also supported Arcade Fire on their arena tour of North America, which indicates that her new music is destined to reach a much bigger audience than the DIY music community she sprung out of. Which is cheering because, unlike most of the pop singers who gyrate up and down the charts, singing about being rebellious while fannying around in their pants, there's a fire in Tune-Yards' music, as if she's whooping and hollering you to action. No matter what style or sound enthralls her, she has integrity. It's unlikely her fans will ever get bored of that.

    Nikki Nack is out in the UK on 5 May on 4AD; you can stream it here.
    Maybe for once, someone will call me "Sir" without adding, "You're making a scene."

  14. #14
    sing to the moon dAmION's Avatar
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    ^Awesome, article. Thanks!

  15. #15
    She was looking out the window Snow White's Avatar
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    I've tried Nikki Nack multiple times but I'm having difficulty entering it. Most of it floats past me and doesn't stick. Weird because I loved her last two albums. Am I alone in this? I'll give it another try but I don't know that it'll grow on me.

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