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The brainchild of Merrill Garbus, tUnE-yArDs began life as dictaphone recordings which were then painstakingly mixed down on GarageBand to create the opening gambit, her debut album BiRd-BrAiNs.

Initially released on a limited LP run through Marriage Records with screenprinted sleeves recycled from thrift store bargain bins, it wasn't long until others took notice and she soon signed a worldwide deal with 4AD. The album was formally released in late-2009, having been remastered and with four more tracks added. The Guardian, whilst awarding it 5/5, called her "the find of the year."

Alongside the record, she also started to build quite a reputation for her live performances. Using loop pedals, two mics, a snare drum, a ukelele, her distinctive voice (she's spent time teaching singing in Kenya) and crucially, a second band member, Nate Brenner on bass. Together, things started to happen when they took to the road with kindred spirits, the Dirty Projectors, on both their US and European tours. As word of mouth spread, the venues they were playing in were filling up earlier than usual as people heard of their genius. Anyone who has seen them live will attest to them being nothing short of incredible live.

The latest album, w h o k i l l, was released on April 18th on 4AD and marks a time when everything came together in to one cohesive whole. Recorded in a studio and influenced heavily by her moving to Oakland, California, she and Nate have made an album that delivers on her early promise. Lyrically Garbus explores constructs of femininity and sexuality with the threat of violence that lurks on the streets where she now lives, while the energy of their show has been translated perfectly to record.

Latest News

8th April
'Wait For A Minute' Streaming Online

'Wait For A Minute' Streaming Online

Tune-Yards

With the release of the new album from tUnE-yArDs less than a month away, a second track from Nikki Nack can now be heard streaming on the band's YouTube channel.

‘Wait For A Minute’ is one of two tracks on the album to have been co-produced by LA-based producer Malay, most famous for his work with John Legend, Alicia Keys and Frank Ocean (producing Channel Orange). His sleight of hand helps to guide them to new tUnE-yArDs territory, slowing the tempo down to help showcase a stunning vocal...

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18th March
tUnE-yArDs Album And Tour Dates, Hear New Track 'Water Fountain'

tUnE-yArDs Album And Tour Dates, Hear New Track 'Water Fountain'

Tune-Yards

Due out May 6th, Nikki Nack - the third album from tUnE-yArDs - was announced when Merrill Garbus celebrated her birthday a few weeks back by posting a 'MegaMix' of album tracks online. Delighting fans, she's teased everyone long enough and is now ready to reveal more album details, plus a number of new live dates across North America and Europe throughout this summer.

Succeeding 2011's W H O K I L L (an album that featured prominently in most year end lists and even topped the Village Voice's highly prestigious Pazz & Jop poll), Nikki Nack is brilliantly playful, more than matching its jump-rope-chant title. Experiences in her time off between albums proved to be influential catalysts in the songwriting process; a life-affirming trip to Haiti, her upbringing, and finally catching up with 80s kid’s TV program Pee Wee’s Playhouse some 25 years since its first broadcast were all topics at the forefront of Merrill's mind that helped to color the record...

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4AD Session 001

Click to watch the session

Tune-Yards is the singular musical project of New England native Merrill Garbus. Possessing an expansive sound that marries a coarse folk ingenuity with the bold pop sensibility of an R&B siren, her debut record Bird-Brains, released on November 16, was assembled with a staunch DIY aesthetic, all dramatically on show in this inauguratory showcase for the 4AD Sessions alongside fellow...