So we're into predictions lately. Here's one: 2011 is going to be a great year for Tune-Yards, the Oakland-based project of Merrill Garbus, whom you may as well start thinking of as the one-girl Dirty Projectors of the West. (A problematic comparison, but it'll do for now.) You'll know we're not exactly going out on a limb with this when you hear "Bizness," the bizarrely layered, thoroughly groovin' first single from her upcoming album, whokill, out on 4AD April 19.
You can download the song here, after the jump, and you should. Out of her own pitter-pattering vocal scraps and elemental guitar, bass, and drums, Garbus builds to a vaguely Afro-pop bounce that feels at once elated and agitated. Is this a sad song or a happy one? The eventual brass swells are pure bliss, but Garbus won't let us settle so easily. "Don't take my life away, don't make my life away," she pleas, subverting a pointillistic pleasantness with sharp rushes into the upper registers of her voice. Think while you dance, or dance while you think -- either way, this one will keep you busy for a while.
We aren't alone in this view. The March 17 issue of dead-tree-based music blog Rolling Stone mentions Tune-Yards not once, but twice: first as No. 4 on this issue's "Hot List," behind Radiohead, the Cars, and Kanye West (and ahead of Adele); and secondly in a four-star review of "Bizness." Now why should virulently indie Nor-Cal-ers care about this nod from a magazine that put Jersey Shore's Snooki (puke) on the cover? Because it confirms one of the surprises of Tune-Yards: All of Garbus' layered vocal identities and roughly sketched grooves and spare instrumentation add up to a song that you don't have to be some experimental music freak or lo-fi slut to love.