My Top 20 Songs of 2011 #10: tUnE-yArDs – ‘My Country’

I’d written in my last blog about the brilliant female singer-songwriters that released great records this year, but perhaps because of her relative obscurity before this year, the most exciting was Merrill Garbus aka tUnE-yArDs.

There’s a confidence to at work here that is infectious. Unlike the macho-confidence of swaggering cockramps like Kasabian or Kings of Leon, it’s the kind of confidence based around a freewheeling creativity giddy that is, at times, bat-shit mental. The manipulation of vocal tracks, the parps of horns criss-crossing each other, the stop-start loops and the aural battery of drum beats: it somehow all comes together to create something that sounds tight and is overwhelming exciting.

It is muscular, dynamic, visceral and it touches on an atavistic urge to throw your body around to thumping beats. Garbus is from Oakland, California, a place beset with turbulence, riots, police brutality and often sweltering heat. You can hear all of this in the record. Magnificently unique.

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