Tag Archives: Tune-Yards
Merrill Garbus’s tour in support of her third (terrific) Tune-Yards album, Nikki Nack, is winding down now, but not before she comes to Brooklyn for four shows at Music Hall of Williamsburg this week. There are still tickets to see her on Sunday, but her Thursday, Friday and Saturday appearances are already sold out. However, The House List is giving away two tickets to see Tune-Yards on Saturday night. And if you want ’em to be yours, try to Grow a Pair. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Tune-Yards, 12/6) and a brief message explaining why December rocks. Eddie Bruiser, a fan of Nikki Nack and the twelfth month, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.
Tags: Contest, Eddie Bruiser, Free Tickets, Grow a Pair, Merrill Garbus, Music Hall of Williamsburg, Nikki Nack, Tune-Yards
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It begins with her big, evocative voice. It’s devastatingly huge. (Pitchfork calls it: “Rough-edged and dark but still velvety, with fluid hints of gospel.”) And even when Cold Specks (above, doing “Bodies at Bay” on Later … with Jools Holland) shows restraint, you get the sense that her voice could blow the roof off wherever she’s standing, should she choose to do so. Fortunately, she doesn’t. Instead she focuses it on what she calls “doom soul,” a mix of Southern Gothic, traditional folk and American soul, which is slightly ironic as singer-songwriter Al Spx is actually Canadian. But no matter, because her music speaks for itself: I Predict a Graceful Expulsion (stream it below), out in 2012, and its follow-up, Neuroplasticity (stream it below), released this past August. PopMatters declares, “While the disc has many different stylistic tones, and is a bit all over the map, it still hangs together remarkably well. Imagine Tune-Yards without the dance beats, and the overall picture of Cold Specks’ sound emerges, though her music is certainly darker…. There’s a real sense of adventure here, and it is fun to be swept away and carried along by the tide of Spx’s smooth voice and audacious songwriting.” Get swept away in person tomorrow night at Rough Trade NYC.
Tune-Yards – Webster Hall – June 23, 2014
New Yorkers, if you haven’t had the chance to catch Tune-Yards yet you’ve missed your chance this time around. The band ended their U.S. tour in New York City last night, giving locals three different chances to see them over the past couple of months, first playing a show at Rough Trade NYC in May and ending it with two more at Webster Hall, including last night. The show began with the venue practically already at capacity for Sylvan Esso’s opening set. The band featured the wonderfully charismatic singer Amelia Meath, with equally impressive dance and vocal moves, backed by Nick Sanborn’s dance-mandatory electronic music. With its repeated chorus of “heads, shoulders, knees and toes,” the song “H.S.K.T.” felt like a request to move all of the following. Watching Meath do so unabashedly onstage made it easier for everyone else at Webster Hall to follow. It was a set that could leave one thinking, “Why isn’t this band bigger?”—a question more likely than not to become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Behind Sylvan Esso was the backdrop for Tune-Yards. The Peptmo Bismol–colored pink curtain covered in giant UFO-looking iridescent eyes offered a taste of what was to come. Tune-Yards have grown for this tour to include a handful of backing dancers and singers. It’s a welcome addition for the new Nikki Nack songs, much more percussive and rhythm-based, which even had Merrill Garbus on the drums for most of the night. With the backdrop, dancing, backup vocals and neon costumes perfect for a backlight, things kicked off in a maximalist way, offering something for every sense.
In comparison, “Gangsta” felt distilled down to its chaotic essence, held together at times only by its intermittent police-siren-sounding wails. Garbus brought ought the ukulele for “Powa.” Just the sight of it elicited a noticeable cheer from the audience, but the highlight of the night was “Bizness.” The song kicked off with the backing singers impressively covering the harmonic hoos usually done by Garbus and a loop pedal. As the tune reached its triumphant peak, Sanborn from Sylvan Esso jumped out of nowhere to crowd surf over the dancing audience. This moment, as well as the rest of the night, felt like a celebration of a U.S. tour well done. —Dan Rickershauser
Lucius – The Bowery Ballroom – December 7, 2013
Having met while majoring in voice at Berklee College of Music, Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig seemed destined to join forces, thanks to their complementary wall-of-sound voices and a similar unabashed sense of fashion. So it was no surprise that they became bandmates, along with drummer Dan Molad and guitarists Peter Lalish and Andrew Burri, in the Brooklyn outfit Lucius. “Their charisma and charm helps turn good pop songwriting into an endearing performance,” extolled NPR’s Bob Boilen.
That praise wasn’t in question on Saturday night, the first of two sold-out Bowery Ballroom shows over the weekend. After opening with an interlude of the Beatles’ “Free as a Bird,” the five-piece continued to enthrall fans with “Don’t Just Sit There,” the singers in matching dresses and sporting asymmetrical bobs. Large black-and-white silhouettes facing each other in a perfect yin and yang served as an appropriate backdrop. Treating longtime admirers to “Geneieve,” off their self-titled EP, the vocalists howled, “All you had to do was shut your mouth, GENEIEVE!” And Laessig exclaimed how happy Lucius were to return home to close out their 2013 tour.
The tenor thuds were in full force for “Tempest,” followed by “Monsters” with Jeff Taylor accompanying on whistling duties. The crowd really got into “Until We Get There,” clapping along to the rhythm. But the meat of set came toward the latter half, as Lucius doled out the percussion-heavy tUnE-yArDs-sounding “Nothing Ordinary,” fan-favorite “Go Home” and their full-length album’s title track, “Wildewoman.” However, Saturday’s show was not to end so quickly as Lucius promptly returned for an encore of “Turn It Around” and “Two of Us on the Run” before joining the audience on the floor for a seasonal surprise, an acoustic rendition of John Lennon’s “Happy Xmas (War Is Over),” with fans hovering around them as if encircling a campfire. One couldn’t think of a more fitting ending. —Sharlene Chiu
Tags: Andrew Burri, Beatles, Berklee College of Music, Bob Boilen, Dan Molad, Holly Laessig, Jeff Taylor, Jess Wolfe, John Lennon, Lucius, Peter Lalish, Tune-Yards
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tUnE-yArDs – Terminal 5 – June 1, 2012
In an age with limitless music choices and musicians clamoring to find a way to stand out from the crowd, making music that sounds nothing like anything that’s ever been done before is nearly impossible. But Merrill Garbus, better known as tUnE-yArDs, is one of the few artists to pull it off, winning near universal acclaim. With a snare drum, ukulele, loop pedal, bass player and two saxophonists, tUnE-yArDs churns out a unique sound that defies easy categorization. Even though Garbus is at the forefront of the avant-garde, her music is incredibly accessible, enough so to pack Terminal 5 full of dancing bodies.
The percussive “Gangsta,” with Garbus’s siren-like looping wails filling the venue with frantic energy, opened the show. She admitted that performing here sometimes made her nervous, but it wasn’t visible in her demeanor. Wearing a black dress with multicolored bands jutting out from her shoulders, Garbus had the appearance of a ukulele-wielding gladiator of Afro rhythms. She gracefully brushed off a technical glitch during “Real Life Flesh,” and the small hiccup reminded the audience that the layered loops of rhythms and harmonies are the result of an organic process that’s tough to pull off live.
Watching Garbus piece together her songs from nothing is the most impressive aspect of her performance. The high-energy crowd went crazy at the first recognizable sax lines of “Bizness,” the breakout hit from w h o k i l l. The band returned to play two songs for the encore: “Sunlight,” which Garbus reminded the audience wasn’t new but was actually the first single off the debut tUnE-yArDs album, and “Party Can (Do You Wanna Live).” The latter’s repeated call-and-response chorus of “Do you wanna live?” and “Yeah!” made for an appropriate ending to the life-affirming concert. —Dan Rickershauser
Photos courtesy of Greg Notch | notch.org
There are (at least) two notable things about Merrill Garbus: The Connecticut native makes cool music as tUnE-yArDs and she capitalizes letters as she pleases. Her debut album, BiRd-BrAiNs, the lowest of lo-fi folk, was recorded through a handheld digital voice recorder and released as a pay-what-you-please download. And when performing live, Garbus makes drum loops onstage that she layers with ukulele, her soulful voice and Nate Brenner’s bass. The second tUnE-yArDs disc, w h o k i l l, having been recorded in a studio, is a more polished affair that covers a wider musical terrain—Afro beat, folk, funk, jazz, R&B and rock. But the way to truly experience tUnE-yArDs (above, playing “Bizness” at this year’s Coachella) is live, which you can do on Friday night at Terminal 5.
Tags: Allen Toussaint, Blind Boys of Alabama, Carnegie Hall, Del McCoury Band, Jim James, Michael Jurick, My Morning Jacket, Photos, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Steve Earle, Tao Seeger, Trey McIntyre Project, Trombone Shorty, Tune-Yards, Yasiin Bey
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Dirty Projectors – Music Hall of Williamsburg – November 21, 2009
This month New York magazine featured Dirty Projectors in the cover story “Brooklyn’s Sonic Boom.” While the piece broadly expounded on the virtues of Brooklyn’s music scene, Dirty Projectors were labeled the archetype of “inventiveness and risk-taking.” Since the release of their 2009 album, Bitte Orca, the band has received many similar accolades. Originally the group represented frontman Dave Longstreth’s solo work. But Dirty Projectors expanded to include Amber Coffman (vocals, guitar), Angel Deradoorian (vocals, keyboard, samples, guitar, bass), Brian McOmber (drums), Nat Baldwin (bass) and Haley Dekle (vocals).
On Saturday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, Dirty Projectors played the third of four sold-out New York City shows. Tune-Yards, the moniker for Merrill Garbus’s solo work, played the role of opener to perfection. Occasionally accompanied by a bassist, Garbus created the illusion of a band using ukulele, drums and multiple looping pedals. Her intensely passionate vocals, marked by a timbre similar to Nina Simone’s, left an indelible impression. A singular, strong yelling of the lyric “There is a natural sound that wild things make when they are bound” from the song “Hatari” was perhaps the highlight of the night.
Up next, Dirty Projectors displayed their virtuosity. I think a concert experience is highlighted by the ability to observe how musicians create their sound. So I was delighted to witness the intricate composition that defines their music. Using complex vocal arrangements, fractured Afro Pop riffs and fierce drumming, the band played many of their recent songs as well as some new material. Coffman boogied down to the R&B-influenced “Stillness Is the Move,” and “When the World Comes to an End,” a sonically engaging up-tempo song, closed out the night. With intensity, focus and brilliant musicianship, it’s no wonder that Dirty Projectors are the talk of the town. —Jared Levy