Thursday, January 28, 2010

tUnE-YaRdS at the Bell House

By Meredith Deliso

Merrill Garbus feels the Brooklyn love.

“I feel very embraced by Brooklyn,” says Garbus, the woman behind the indie folk outfit tUnE-YaRdS. “I feel like the Dirty Projectors were such a big help to us. When we played with them in New York it felt like a really big hug from the Big Apple, that people really enjoyed what we did.”

Along with bassist Nate Brenner, Garbus has toured with the likes of Brooklyn’s Dirty Projectors this past year, performing songs originally created by herself using a digital voice recorder and a laptop from the album “BiRd-BrAiN.” Though only originally just her on the album, the songs had much scale – in emotion, as well as influences, including R&B, lo-fi and pop mentalities, and instrumentation, with ukulele meshed with digital loops.

On February 5, tUnE-YaRdS return to Brooklyn for a show at the Bell House as part of BAM’s Sounds Like Brooklyn festival, a testament indeed to the Brooklyn love for the band, which, after time in Montreal, has found a new home not here but in Oakland, Calif.Despite the long distance relationship, Garbus always feel at home in Brooklyn.

“I grew up in Connecticut and New York is the city that I call ‘the city,’” says Garbus. “It feels good to have New York be a home base of sorts, especially because of moving out here (to Oakland) – it’s definitely new territory.”

The move hasn’t stifled Garbus at all though; in fact, it’s fed her creatively, as she and Brenner have been at work on writing new songs and preparing for a European tour after the Bell House gig, and then a spring tour with Xiu Xiu.

“In my mind I equate (Xiu Xiu) with a lot of experimentalism, and I think that’s been inspiring me to think about the show in a boarder terms,” says Garbus.

In the process of writing new music, Garbus has been big on non-musical influences, ranging from the poetry and writing of Amiri Baraka to Patti Smith.

“I feel like her approach to being a rock singer as a poet and as someone who’s deeply rooted in the society that she’s living in – those are things I’d like to be part of in my education and my moving here,” says Garbus.

And while there’s decidedly more support on the follow-up to “BiRd-BrAiN,” when it was just her and her laptop in a Montreal apartment, Garbus is looking to stay true to what she likes.

“Before it was very much for myself and what I wanted to hear. I’m trying to get back more to that, just recording what I would like to hear versus thinking about what anybody else will want go hear,” she says.

One thing’s for sure – Brooklyn’s ears are waiting.

TunE-YaRdS plays the Bell House (149 7th St.) February 5 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 (advance tickets are sold out). With Takka Takka and A Rose Parade. For more information, call 718-643-6510.


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