Being weird in a good way seems like a more difficult status for artists to attain than it used to be. We can tell when you're trying too hard -- the Gaga meat dress, the Miley tongue-wags felt 'round the world -- and it's straight-up unappealing. Thanks to Ye Olde Internet, we're also genuinely harder to shock than we used to be. At the same time, the acceptable box that artists seem to need to fit into to be marketable, to achieve anything like mainstream success, feels smaller all the time.Read more »
Oh, Merrill Garbus. Remember the days when the endearingly weird, weirdly endearing, predictably unpredictable tUnE-yArDs felt like an open Oakland secret, an East Bay girl (by way of the East Coast) who slowly but surely started to outgrow us?Read more »
Despite a relentless touring schedule, and an intense side-project, scoring the upcoming SFIFF-presented evening of Buster Keaton shorts at the Castro Theatre with Oakland-based guitar virtuoso Ava Mendoza, Merrill Garbus, the artist otherwise known as tUnE-yArDs, gave us a great interview, and not all of it could fit in this week's print feature on Garbus and St. Vincent.
While currently living in Oakland, Garbus hails from the East Coast, and has also lived in Kenya and Montreal, a combination of influences that allows her and her singular, quixotic music to avoid falling into a trap of regionalism or simple categorization. Catch tUnE-yArDs with Ava Mendoza at the Castro on April 23, and at the Fox Theater April 24, in concert with St. Vincent. Read more »
MUSIC At first blush the music of St. Vincent, the alter-ego of accomplished guitar hero Annie Clark, and that of live looping sensation tUnE-yArDs, born Merrill Garbus, don't appear to have a lot in common.
Sure, they share a gender, a label, and an impulse for quirky alias and chimerical shape-shifting, but Clark's complex guitar-and-synth driven compositions and Garbus' polyrhythmic ukulele and percussion spree emerge from completely different musical impulses and backgrounds.Read more »
tUnE-yArDs seemed so playful and free on Wednesday at the Regency, like a band of highly skilled children, in particular the ringleader-pied piper of the bunch, Merrill Garbus. Hopping around barefoot, playing with different toys – pedals and looping samples, ukuleles, and crash drums – all on a square of carpet that had a curvy gray racetrack: genius kindergartner. Or as a show companion described it, "it feels like the world's greatest camp band." Read more »