(photo via jcbehm 11/17/09)
After viewing Ray C's video from Northside Festival, I was happily sold on tUnE-YaRdS. BiRd-BrAiNs has soundtracked a private groove sesh or two in the solitude of my bedroom.
At the Dirty Projectors show at Music Hall of Willburg this past Saturday (11/21), a slightly less private affair, I grooved with the masses. Live, tUnE-YaRdS is Merrill Garbus with a ukelele, drums, loop machines, and some rando on bass in the shadows. So commanding was she on stage, it was impossible to look away as Garbus channeled Janis Joplin and some sorta enchanting voodoo queen. The crowd was really feeling it. Then she busts out this lyric that goes like: "My man likes me from behind // Tell the truth, I never lie."
It totally floored me. How fucking badass is that?? I couldn't believe it -- I have a major tendency to mishear even the bluntest of lyrics and I wasn't too familiar with this song yet. After the show I asked Garbus if that was actually what she sang. (Unlike plenty of other female artists, she doesn't overtly force her sexuality on her audience. It's just natural.) Garbus confirmed, with a smile, that I had indeed heard her correctly. I had to fight off the urge to high-five her and be like, "Yeahhh gUrL! Me fucking too!" No, that's inappropriate. She told me she also had a "censored, PG-version" prepared for the show the following night at Bowery Ballroom, where her parents would be in attendance. AWKWARD!
Anyway, the song is called "Powa," which only makes it more perfect. Even though it refers to her man's sexual power, that's exactly what she herself exudes. You can check out tUnE-YaRdS video performing "Powa" from the new 4AD sessions, if you click the little drop-down menu below the vid and select the song.
While you're at it, dig on "Real Live Flesh" from the same series:
"I know I've been away so long you love me only in your dreams // Lucky for you, I do much better in real live flesh." Dayumn, I love this woman! (Plus she's down with Thao.)
Watch that Ray Concepcion vid I mentioned from way way back in early summer. So beautiful: