Getting into Tune-yards at Amnesia

Pub date November 21, 2008

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Put up your ukes: Tune-yards. All photos by Jen Snyder.

By Jen Snyder

The only thing I really knew about music from Vermont before Saturday was Phish, which naturally threw a big, damp drug rug over my entire interest in seeking out and discovering new jams from the state. But about a month ago, I found out that Citay (the Guardian’s triumphant Goldie winner) was going to be playing at Amnesia with a band called Tune-yards, hailing from Vermont. A Citay band member promised, “No joke at all – this is the best music I’ve heard and seen in years and years. I shit you not.”

I was somewhat conflicted at first, but a post-election, Obama-esque change-is–possible wave swept over me and I decided to not judge a state I had never been to, and to check it out.

Tune-yards, which had never previously played in San Francisco, did not disappoint. The project, which consists solely of Merril Garbus and her excellent digital voice recorder, was consistently intriguing. Garbus is very self-sufficient: she loops her own vocals, drums, and chanting over what looked like a cross between a children’s fake guitar and a ukulele.