I should have written something about this lady a while back especially as it was the only album I bought last year. tUnE-yArDs is Merrill Garbus an American songstress who uses the mix of lower and upper case letters in the name to ‘annoy people’. I’m slightly hesitant to describe her debut album BiRd-BrAiNs mainly because I always been pony at describing music but also because her sound doesn’t really fit into the neat little genre boxes that the music stuffed shirts always try and force everything into. Indeed, when I went to purchase said album I was met with total bemusement wherever I asked for it even though she’s on a reasonably well known label.


The album itself is home made and recorded on a cheap ass Sony voice recorder with some even cheaper ass freeware editing software. I described it to record shop bloke as ‘electronic folk’ which made him scratch his designer stubble in a thoughtful and arty farty kind of way. Her main instrument is the Ukulele and she also uses effects, drum loops (see live video below for evidence of this) and bass guitar accompaniment from her brother who sometimes performs with her live. She has an interesting voice which moves between careful whispers to some proper full lung wailing (don’t forget the yodelling) and back again.

There is certainly enough in this album to keep most people interested. The low-fi demo nature of it certainly appeals to me as it seems a bit more rough and ready then it would have been if had been recorded in a big studio. It’s one of the more interesting albums I’ve come across in a while and well worth checking out.

Tune yards video

James Mullarkey

I write about the web and digital, mediocre sporting performances and places I've been, for this blog and only this blog.