Monday, April 11, 2011

tUnE-yArDs - w h o k i l l (2011)

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When tUnE-yArDs announced that their sophomore album would be studio recorded, I was dubious. The lo-fi charm of BiRd-BrAiNs is essentially what initially drew me to her and when I initially heard first single "Bizness", I was at first sure my reservations had proved true. After seeing tUnE-yArDs perform it live it was incredibly hard to listen to a recording where she swapped out vocal ornamentation for computer blips and beeps but it grew on me. Some people might be put off by her sudden jump to high quality recording: Don't be. w h o k i l l is a natural progression for Garbus, proving what she's learned from years on tour and contains all the best elements from fans can come to expect like her big, brassy vocals combined with some of the newer aspects featured at her live shows like bassist Nate Brenner (who helped write some of the new songs), and a horn section to name a few. There's a lot of sonic differences from her debut and a new found sense of restraint that's actually incredible endearing.

Charging right out the gate with her own take on the national anthem "My Country", it's clear that w h o k i l l is going to be an experience like no other. Whether you begin listening to the album with lofty expectations or an open mind, you're bound to have all of your wildest expectations shattered as that's just Garbus' style. Even songs you may have heard before have gotten a bit of a makeover. They're still recognizable but Garbus has tweaked them up to offer up a new listening experience.

The new album is now streaming as part of NPR's first listen. Give it a listen here.

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