tUnE-yArDs – Water Fountain

This song. Is. ALIVE.

I am physically charged, up to my max every time I play this song. Since yesterday, I haven’t been able to stop. I have so many thoughts and feelings about Merrill Garbus, her music, her beauty, the sounds that she and her band mates are capable of creating. So many thoughts. But I can’t really formulate them at the moment because I can’t stop swaying and shaking my head, thrashing my hair in every direction, and above all else, smiling.

I hate to say that I called this, but I did. If you remember, in 2011 I wrote a post (as a writer, I’m allowed to be critical of my work and I’m going to be critical when I say, that post was so excited about everything that I may have used the word “amazing” one too many times. I regret nothing.) about seeing tUnE-yArDs live on the Hudson Pier. There was a full moon and the air was thick with New York City summer, but I remember thinking, “These guys are going to be huge.” And secretly, I didn’t want to think that. I didn’t want them to get huge. I had a selfish moment, and even considered not writing about them, even though I said I would. I wanted to keep them in my pocket, a secret dance and hop-scotch band inspired by sounds from all over the world.

So here’s my attempt. tUnE-yArDs comes to us after a near freezing season of cold hearts and grayness, here in New York, and this track is a beating heart that lives on outside of its body. Notice how bright and full of life the music is in this song (and most of the group’s songs in general). And then there’s this duality in the wordplay and lyrics. Two different messages going on at once, hoping to provoke not only mindless movement but analysis and attention to detail.

So listen to the words I say, baby
Say give me your head
I’ll barely going round and round and round
Now I’m in your bed
How did I get ahead?
Your, your finger through my hair
Finger through my hair
Give me your chest
Give me oppress
I’ll give a thing to caress
Wouldya wouldya wouldya listen to the words I say?

Over a Diwali Riddim beat, this song demands your attention because of how summertime-playing-double-dutch-in-the-park happy and full of bounce it is. It shields the subject matter darkness of violence with a mask of color and flavor. This is a song you can taste. Bubble-gum, kiwis, mangoes, a clementine that you share with your best friend on the stoop outside your house in the middle of a hot day in July. It’s waking up numb after a night of giggles and bubbles, not speaking, and breaking out into a dance party at noon when you have a never ending list of work to do. It’s honest and uninhibited movement that you can’t explain; your brain takes a backseat and you just move.


Feel it in your bones and hit repeat, unashamed.

tUnE-yArDs – Water Fountain

Music Video

Tune Yards

A couple of nights ago, I ventured to the Hudson river, (something I don’t do as much as I’d like) to see a free Tune Yards concert at Pier 54. Somehow, everyone and their mother was there. I swear, every time there’s something free in the city, it’s like people are hired to go by the dozens even if they don’t know the band. However, the crowd at this concert was quite the Tune Yards following, all resembling something of the hip young status. I guess the proper word for that would be hipster, but I don’t really want to make any vast generalizations. So let’s just stick with hip youngsters.

Anyways, I’ve been obsessed with Tune Yards for a while, and I think it’s because their lead singer, Merril Garbus, is so far-fetched, voluptuous, quirky, and multi-talented. The truth is that she takes over the stage in a way that not many artists do, especially since she’s still so new to the scene. I personally love her sound, because it’s so full of range and spunk, but I can understand how it may not have necessarily grown on everyone just yet.

After the concert, my friend and I were having a conversation about new music and how a lot of people have one idea about electronic music. It’s gotta be techno, and it’s gotta sound a certain way. The most beautiful thing about it though, is that it doesn’t. I’d consider Tune Yards’ music to be electronic a lot of the time, not because it’s something I’d play in a club, but because it utilizes electronic tools to create swanky music, and doesn’t overpower the awesomeness of the actual vocals. That’s what electronic music is all about. We’re such a modern age, and even though I find myself often times hating on technology, I’ve learned to just embrace it. It’s so fantastical, and has revolutionized our music world, especially when used correctly. How amazing is that?

Anyways, it might be best to check out some of the actual concert footage. I wish I could have taken some videos, but I was really busy gettin’ my groove on. After scavenging youtube, I found this video which seems to sum the night up pretty well.

Also, I have to add one thing. A really swaggy band opened for Tune Yards, by the name of Austra. Amazing. I found myself dancing to their music in no time. I’d describe their sound as a cross melt between The Knife and Florence and the Machine. They are so hip looking too, it’s almost a little ridiculous. Check them out, you’ll like what you hear.

Bizness – Tune Yards

Lose It – Austra


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