Results for Merrill Garbus

interviews

tUnE-yArDs

tUnE-yArDs's second album w h o k i l l made it onto both Jim and Greg's lists of the Best Albums of 2011 (so far). This week, Jim and Greg are in the studio with the creative force behind the band, New England native Merrill Garbus. Garbus has come a long way since her days as a professional puppeteer, when she performed for modest crowds with the indie act Sister Suvi and lived with her parents. This month the Oakland-based musician will be one of the most anticipated acts at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Like one of her early influences, Paul Simon, Garbus incorporates plenty of African polyrhythms and vocal textures into her music, and she doesn't shy away from discussions about cultural appropriation. She also takes huge risks as a live performer, looping her voice, drums, and ukulele onstage to become a veritable one-woman band. She performs the feat live in the studio, taking Jim and Greg through the beginning of "Powa." With the backing of bassist Nate Brenner and a hefty horn section, she also performs "Doorstep" and the band's breakout song "Bizness."

Go to episode 294
reviews
Nikki NackNikki Nack available on iTunes

tUnE-yArDs Nikki Nack

Merrill Garbus, the creative force behind tUnE-yArDs, is back from Haiti with adventurous new rhythms and a whole lot to talk about. The result is her third album, Nikki Nack. Expectations for this release were high for Jim and Greg, who lauded 2011's W H O K I L L, and were wowed by the band's live performance on Sound Opinions. But Garbus has outdone herself on Nikki Nack. Greg loves the unconventional Haitian percussion tapping underneath as Garbus 's voice, an instrument in its own right, explores deep, dark themes with a soaring“ecstasy.”Jim agrees, only taking issue with the cannibalistic interlude, "Why Do We Dine on the Tots?," a quirky skit adapted from Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" that lets Garbus showcase her puppeteer training. Otherwise, Jim admires the empathy for women and the poor that comes through in these experimental pop songs, and thinks that Garbus got more out of her Haitian visit than Arcade Fire did. Both critics will Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 441
Livin' on a High NoteLivin' On a High Note available on iTunes

Mavis Staples Livin' On a High Note

Mavis Staples had a legendary career with her family's gospel and soul band The Staple Singers, which was a major part of the protest movement of the 1960s and scored huge hits for Stax in the 1970s. Mavis reinvented herself as solo artist in 2000s, collaborating on records with Ry Cooder and Jeff Tweedy. For Livin' On a High Note, she and producer M. Ward as a producer asked a variety of contemporary songwriters to write material for her to sing, including Neko Case, Nick Cave, Bon Iver's Justin Vernon, and Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs. Jim loves how the best songs bring Mavis full circle by referencing on the Black Lives Matter movement. While the other songs are hit and miss, Mavis Staples is a“national treasure”and her voice is as powerful as ever. Jim is still waiting for her end career masterpiece, but this album is a definite Buy It. Greg – who literally wrote the book on Mavis Staples – points to We'll Never Turn Back as her masterpiece, but says this album is very good too. He loves what she does even with the lesser songs, like Vernon's generic love song, which she transforms into a moving address to her sister Yvonne Staples. In the middle of her 70s, Mavis Staples is doing some of the best work of her career.

JimGreg
Go to episode 536
I can feel you creep into my private lifeI Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life available on iTunes

tUnE-yArDs I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life

Merrill Garbus is back with her fourth full-length tUnE-yArDs project, titled I Can Feel You Creep Into My Private Life. Jim says that immediately before writing this album, Garbus was on a six-month meditation workshop to see what she could do "as a white person in the realm of social justice. That sounds like heady and heavy stuff…It's not though. This is a dance album, heavily influenced by '70s disco, and I think the classic sounds of Chicago house." Greg adds that the album“could easily be ponderous, but she's paring cultural appropriation, the end of the world… these are heavy subjects… with this incredibly liberating music, this body music.”Standout tracks include "{track: Heart Attack", "Colonizer" and "Home". Jim and Greg give it a double Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 635