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tUnE-yArDs Review and Black Angels on Friday

Thursday May 5, 2011

To say that Merrill Garbus, ostensibly the band tUnE-yArDs, has a gift is an understatement. To try to adequately describe this gift and its manifestation from their show last Tuesday night, May 3rd at Urban Lounge, is next to impossible. Garbus, bass player Nate Brenner and a saxophone duo wove an environment of sonic delight.

Looping the varied pitches and octaves of her voice through her full pedals board, Merrill IS and WAS her own backup vocals. Pounding out an uptempo percussion arrangement or a cooled out rat-at-tat rhythm she captured these hooks and adds them to Brenner’s low-fi fuzzy rich baselines. She created a pastiche of digitally organic sound so simple in its parts yet full, rich and complex in its overall tone.

Then, Merrill started to sing. Merrill's voice bounced and peaked, whispered and squeaked. Her vocals would float above the crowd like in the ethereal 'Doorstep' or jitterbug along like a skat obsessed pre-pubescent boy on a tune like 'You Yes You' or hit you over the head and punch you in the gut with a desperate force on 'Riotriot' or 'Bizness.'

Captivating as the composition of the music is Merrill's lyrics; toss and turn through happiness and angst, double entendres and simple sweetness with a self-awareness far beyond her years. No better example from the evening was 'Powa'- a sultry, sweet jam with still enough awkward raunch in the cracks and variance in her vocal range to give you goosebumps. There's charm in her smile, wisdom in her eyes, and overall passion and vibrance that is rare these days. Enthralling and engaging, I for one am already waiting for tUnE-yArDs next stop through Salt Lake.

Black Angels back in SLC

Looking ahead to can’t miss shows of the weekend, my pick is The Black Angels. Playing Friday night, May 6 at Urban Lounge, these psychadelic rockers from Austin have been pounding the pavement since the release of "Phosphene Dream" in September. This quintet, taking their name from a Velvet Underground song, creates an amazingly full sound that rides you through their distortion and low driving bass and drums to find the beautiful in the shadows of Alex Maas’ vocals.

A hot ticket for the weekend, this show is not to be missed. Have a listen below...


Check out more upcoming independent live shows, including Yelle, Crystal Slits, A Mayer Hawthorne DJ Set and The Dodos at Urban Lounge at www.theurbanloungeslc.com.

This post first appeared at Bombshell Music & Media by Matt Ostasiewski.