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Tune-Yards

Nikki Nack

5th May 2014

After 18 months of near solid touring around second album w h o k i l l, Merrill gave herself some much-needed time off; "It was nice; I was trying to be healthy and have a good time,” she says. It was also the first time since embarking on life as tUnE-yArDs that she was without any new material in the works, allowing her to reflect on what’s gone before and where to next; “I thought, 'OK, if I'm going to grow as an artist, I need to do this differently.’” Where the second album saw her stepping in to a studio proper for the first time, her third album Nikki Nack sees her enlist producers to help her achieve new heights on some tracks; “To ask Malay (Frank Ocean, Alicia Keys, Big Boi) and John Hill (Rihanna, Shakira, M.I.A.) for input, I had to let go of tUnE-yArDs being rigidly my production. I have a very specific vision for the sound of the band and I don't think women producers get enough credit for doing their own stuff, so I was resistant – but we grew, Nate and I both, and the songs grew. And it turns out that's what's most important: the songs, not my ego.”

A record that could only have been made by its creator, experiences in between records - like a life-affirming trip to Haiti, her upbringing (her dad’s old fiddle even makes an appearance) and her finally catching up with 80s kid’s TV programme Pee Wee’s Playhouse some 25 years since first broadcast - proving influential during the songwriting process.

Experimentation is still key too. Where the loop pedal and the saxophone were main components of the first and second record respectively, it’s the drum that takes centre stage here, augmented by greater use of synth and Nate’s growing prowess as a bassist. With it’s its jump-rope-chant title, the brilliantly playful Nikki Nack continues the tUnE-yArDs story gloriously.

1 Find A New Way 3.28
2 Water Fountain 3.03
3 Time of Dark 4.33
4 Real Thing 3.22
5 Look Around 4.26
6 Hey Life 3.37
7 Sink-O 3.17
8 Why Do We Dine On The Tots? 1.28
9 Stop That Man 3.33
10 Wait for a Minute 3.54
11 Left Behind 4.31
12 Rocking Chair 2.03
13 Manchild 3.09
1 Find A New Way 3.28
2 Water Fountain 3.03
3 Time of Dark 4.33
4 Real Thing 3.22
5 Look Around 4.26
6 Hey Life 3.37
1 Sink-O 3.17
2 Why Do We Dine On The Tots? 1.28
3 Stop That Man 3.33
4 Wait for a Minute 3.54
5 Left Behind 4.31
6 Rocking Chair 2.03
7 Manchild 3.09
1 Find A New Way 3.28
2 Water Fountain 3.03
3 Time of Dark 4.33
4 Real Thing 3.22
5 Look Around 4.26
6 Hey Life 3.37
7 Sink-O 3.17
8 Why Do We Dine On The Tots? 1.28
9 Stop That Man 3.33
10 Wait for a Minute 3.54
11 Left Behind 4.31
12 Rocking Chair 2.03
13 Manchild 3.09

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Tune-Yards

Having just played four consecutive nights at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, tUnE-yArDs will finish off an exceptional year with a handful of dates on the West Coast later this week. Before then, Merrill and band will be performing tonight on US TV on Conan, which is broadcast coast-to-coast on TBS at 11pm...

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