Remember the way you first felt psyching yourself up with lipstick lined cheeks? That pre-pounce compression coiled in your limbs when you were just a bushbaby, stalking the kings of the savannah with bubblewands? Remember the way the cockatoos crooned, harmonizing in time with the cricket’s crouching amidst the tall grass securing your secrecy? And the release of all that joyous good juju as you danced a tribal two-step alongside that lioness with glowsticks in her mane?
Ah yes, childhood.
tUnE-YarDs made number 7 on Pitchfork’s top albums of the year with w h o k i l l, the second studio production by Merrill Garbus — and duly so. The album is full of beautifully savage songs, sounds that have been described as “primal pop,” and sentiments that stick amiably to your musical memory. See if you don’t end up walking around and attempting to sing “Your power / inside / it rocks me like a lullaby,” the visceral anthem found within Powa. You can read the pretentious (yet positive) reviews of w h o k i l l all over the internets. For now though, let’s return to that savannah — in this case, a lawn party at South by Southwest 2011.
It’s sweltering. Vocals loop over each other each over loop vocals weaving a heatwave in your brain. A sneering drum snares your thoughts as the saxophone asks what you’ve already been dreaming. What’s a kick drum to a doldrum? Who’s this wildwoman and how does she sing so recklessly on key? How do you spell ukulele? And what’s the bizness?!?