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>Hipster RunOff has become a go-to site for me to find new music and I saw a mention of Merrill Garbus, better known under the moniker tUnE-YaRdS (annoying spelling right?), a one woman band whose sophomore album “w h o k i l l” is easily one of the freshest and most unique outings of the year.

The album has such an eclectic mix of genres and she herself brings major diversity vocally going from a really aggressive spoken word vibe to a soft almost jazzy tone (and this is sometimes within the same song). “w h o k i l l” is the most adventurous and fearless album I’ve heard maybe since Dirty Projectors “Bitte Orca” which was so far outside the box but still very catchy. tUnE-YaRdS are totally different from that group but in the same ways her approach works on so many different levels.

The albums first single, and my first introduction to this talent, “Bizness” goes from a soft electronica track with a replayed vocal sample in the beginning to a joyous and highly energetic jam session towards the end. And this is the best representation of what the album holds in store for the listeners, an album where each individual song is it’s own musical movement. Garbus really throws everything into the pot from Folk, Salsa, R&B, Rock and Hip Hop. At times she recalls the aggressive spoken word of a PJ Harvey over beats likened to (believe it or not) A Tribe Called Quest (try “Es-So”) , and than on other tracks she’s flowing softly about love-making over something Erykah Badu or Jill Scott might attack. With all the highs and lows of each track, and the overall diversity of the album you’d think it would be too much… and at times it is, but the album of the whole is a very pleasant listen because she’s very skilled at balancing out all of her influences. “w h o k i l l” is a great showcase for a very talented artist, and though there’s not much here that would typically be considered commercial, she’s the type of artist people do need to know about.

4.5 of 5
Best: Powa, Gangsta, Riotriot

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