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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How Oakland's tUnE-yArDs Conquers the World, One Bag of Rice at a Time

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 10:02 AM

click to enlarge tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner - MIKE HENDRICKSON
  • Mike Hendrickson
  • tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus and Nate Brenner

From the latest SF Weekly:

Our cover story on tUnE-yArDs: Barely post-slumber -- definitely pre-caffeine -- and nearing the exact midpoint between two seven-hour band rehearsals, Merrill Garbus appears both irreparably frazzled and warily content. It's 7:45 on a Thursday morning in mid-April, and Garbus, the 35-year-old creative epicenter of the critically acclaimed art-pop outfit tUnE-yArDs, has just sat down for a cup of coffee at a small café in East Oakland. Her hair, often chopped into baroque patterns and dotted with feathers, is today smeared across her head like a dab of butter on toast. Her eyes, neon blue in pictures, are grayer than expected. And where in concert she's shouting and wailing and laughing, today Garbus is wearing the tired smile of someone who believes, perhaps because she has to, that the best is yet to come.

Her third album, Nikki Nack, is due out on May 6. Like its predecessor, 2011's w h o k i l l, it is a breathtaking and densely layered affair. Anchored by Garbus' acrobatic, impeccable tenor, it erupts with percussive flourishes and sonic peculiarities. It is somehow both tidier and more volatile than anything she has done before... [continue reading]

The Mysteries of William Onyeabor: There is more to wonder about Nigeria's William Onyeabor than there is to know -- but since his music is more knowable than anything else, let's start there. Between 1977 and 1985, Onyeabor released eight albums of psychedelic synthesizer funk so alien, yet so seductive, that his obscurity is practically offensive. Discovering a song like "Body and Soul" is like hearing Sly and the Family Stone for the first time: It's 10 minutes of strutting funk so pure and intoxicating that you have fight to hold still while it plays. The best of Onyeabor's songs could've been ejected from whatever Afro-mystic volcano or magical fount of syncopation gave us the work of James Brown and George Clinton. His music easily stands next to that of better-known West Africans like Fela Kuti and King Sunny Adé. But given Onyeabor's obsession with Moog synthesizers and studio electronics ­-- not easy equipment to acquire or maintain in the Nigeria of the '70s, or even now -- his brand of sci-fi funk is excellent accompaniment for these gadgetized times... [continue reading]

Sizzle and Fizzle: Highs and lows from the week in S.F. music.

Hidden Agenda: Small shows and offbeat events to check out this week.

And we recommend concerts!

Los Rakas with Fortunate Youth and True Press on Thursday, May 1, at the Independent!

I Break Horses with Dawn Golden on Friday, May 2, at The Independent!

Nile with Blasphemous Creation and Embryonic Devourment on Monday, May 5, at Slim's!

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