tUnE-yArDs – Gangsta

tUnE-yArDs – Killa

I've been really diggin' on the new Tune-Yards album, w h o k i l l. It's a deliciously fresh blend of quirky, edgy, and downright fun pop tunes. It's the kind of album that always pops up early in the spring and feels totally right on a comfortable, sunny day.

I use this word "quirky" quite a bit to try to describe some of my musical tastes and while it's hard to define exactly what I mean by it, I feel like it's accurate. In this case, Tune-Yards' new album is lush, heavily produced, and after careful breakdown is entirely made up of things you've heard before. But it has this free-spirited playfulness flowing through it. I love that sentiment in music, because while I'm generally a hopeless romantic, I also love music as entertainment that's just damn fun.

Tune-Yards is the moniker of one Merrill Garbus. She's the driving force behind the project and her creative juices spill all over every track. She put out an album in 2009 called Bird-Brains that was well received and gained her some attention, but w h o k i l l is really launching her to a new level of exposure.

w h o k i l l is put together like a model airplane. This sound is created specifically to go here, while this one is entirely seperate but goes right on top. And all these sounds piece together naturally to create something entirely different. The cohesive whole is the sum of painstakingly produced little parts. Here's the part where I name-drop: Bjork, Menomena, Radiohead, Micachu, so on and so forth. You'll pick out these influences, but make no mistake, the sound is totally Garbus's.

The great thing about the album though is that you can fully absorb it with 34 listens on a great set of headphones while drinking beer, or at full blast on your car stereo while cruising with the windows down on a summer day. In fact, I'd argue that it demands both situations. It's full of bright horns, clap-along jams ("Bizness"), songs that could be updated Journey b-sides ("Powa" – yeah, I said it), and vocal theatrics.

Check out the Tune-Yards site with links to buy the album, her Facebook page, label page,  and a free mp3 of "Bizness".

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