tUnE-yArDs perform live in The Current studio

tUnE-yArDs perform Water Fountain in The Current studios. (MPR Video / Nate Ryan)
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    Jul 17, 2014 Listen to all 4 tracks:
    tUnE-yArDs In-studio
    tUnE-yArDs - Hey Life (Live on 89.3 The Current)
    tUnE-yArDs - Real Thing (Live on 89.3 The Current)
    tUnE-yArDs - Water Fountain (Live on 89.3 The Current)

It's been three years since tUnE-yArDs released w h o k i l l and two years since Merrill played an unforgettable set at 2012's Rock the Garden, but it's finally here: tUnE-yArDs' highly anticipated follow-up Nikki Nack. In his review of the new record, host Mac Wilson marvels that, "At its base level, her music sounds simple, but even a cursory listen immediately reveals new patterns, en route to a world that's distinctly her own."

Before tUnE-yArDs' sold out show at First Avenue with local opening act Dosh, Merrill Garbus and the gang stopped by The Current studios to play tracks off the new record, Nikki Nack, and chatted with host Mary Lucia.

Merrill explains that the Nikki Nack writing process differed from past records. Since tUnE-yArDs' debut Bird Brains had three releases, there was plenty of time to write sophomore record w h o k i l l on tour, while Nikki Nack was written after Garbus took three well-deserved months off post-tour. Garbus reveals that while writing Nikki Nack, she and bassist Nate Brenner didn't think about how the songs would be performed live to maintain creative momentum. That's where tUnE-yArDs' first ever backup singers come in. After seeing Abigail Bengson and Jo Lampert perform the theater piece Hundred Days in San Francisco, Merrill enlisted Bengson, Lampert and Dani Markham for the live show.

Listen to the full in-studio session to hear Merrill chat with host Mary Lucia about why "Water Fountain" almost didn't make it on the new album, what is was like opening for Arcade Fire and what wild animal she'd choose to be her domesticated pet.

Songs Performed

"Hey Life"
"Real Thing"
"Water Fountain"

All songs off tUnE-yArDs' latest record, Nikki Nack, out now on 4AD.

Hosted by Mary Lucia
Produced by Jade
Engineered by Mike DeMark

Guests

  • tUnE-yArDs

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  • Album Review: tUnE-yArDs, 'Nikki Nack' Tune-Yards' new album Nikki Nack consistently blurs the line between silliness and seriousness. These serious nursery rhymes address weighty issues. And even though Merrill Garbus's music sounds simple, even a cursory listen immediately reveals new patterns en route to a world that's distinctly her own.
  • First Listen: tUnE-yArDs, 'Nikki Nack' Merrill Garbus' music finds genius in the ongoing struggle between the orderly and the unknown. tUnE-yArDs' dazzlingly imaginative third album is filled with sudden and arresting left turns.

8 Photos

  • tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus performing live in The Current studio.
    tUnE-yArDs' Merrill Garbus performing live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • tUnE-yArDs' bassist Nate Brenner performing live in The Current studio.
    tUnE-yArDs' bassist Nate Brenner performing live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • tUnE-yArDs performing
    tUnE-yArDs performing "Water Fountain" live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • Vocalists Abigail Bengson, Jo Lampert and percussionist Dani Markham performing with tUnE-yArDs live in The Current studio.
    Vocalists Abigail Bengson, Jo Lampert and percussionist Dani Markham performing with tUnE-yArDs live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • Vocalists Abigail Bengson and Jo Lampert performing with tUnE-yArDs live in The Current studio.
    Vocalists Abigail Bengson and Jo Lampert performing with tUnE-yArDs live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • Percussionist Dani Markham bangs on a water bottle with tUnE-yArDs live in The Current studio.
    Percussionist Dani Markham bangs on a water bottle with tUnE-yArDs live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • tUnE-yArDs live in The Current studio
    tUnE-yArDs live in The Current studio (MPR / Nate Ryan)
  • Vocalists Abigail Bengson and Lo Lampert performing
    Vocalists Abigail Bengson and Lo Lampert performing "Hey Life" complete with choreography live in The Current studio. (MPR / Nate Ryan)
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