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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intricate and satisfying music
I've been listening to this album for a couple of weeks (captured from a pre-release stream from NPR). At first it seemed jagged and a bit gimmicky (like the alternating caps in the band's name), but after more than a dozen listens, it all sounds like music and it all sounds authentic (not gimmicky), rich, and amazing, so I've ordered the CD through my local record store...
Published on April 29, 2011 by Jeff Engel

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Powerful But Not An Everyday Listen
For the NPR crowd: This is a tough album to listen to on a regular basis - dark lyrics along with a frenetic background make for an only occasional listen on my IPod. I like a several of the songs, and she has an amazing voice. You might just download a song or two:
Published on April 22, 2012 by David Froman


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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intricate and satisfying music, April 29, 2011
This review is from: w h o k i l l (Audio CD)
I've been listening to this album for a couple of weeks (captured from a pre-release stream from NPR). At first it seemed jagged and a bit gimmicky (like the alternating caps in the band's name), but after more than a dozen listens, it all sounds like music and it all sounds authentic (not gimmicky), rich, and amazing, so I've ordered the CD through my local record store (sorry, Amazon). It has been fun as well to watch live performances on YouTube and see how Merrill and her combo construct the music on stage with a loop pedal, ukelele, and that incredible voice (not to mention some very tasty bass).

This music rewards repeated listening: I'm still hearing new things, and because the lyrics aren't always easy to hear, new snatches are still surfacing (not always pleasant when you finally understand the words). My favorite song for a long time was Powa, romantic and sexy with a great slow build; lately my favorite changes depending on the day (today it's the last track, Killa), and I think that is a sign of a great album.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earthly pleasure, April 22, 2011
This review is from: W H O K I L L (MP3 Music)
I'm pretty OCD when it comes to organizing my songs, but Tune-yards makes music that inspired me to create a new genre in iTunes called "music". As in, hard-to-classify, genre-busting, down-right *good* music. I guess I'd call it "Afro-electronic funk-alternative acoustic R&B world soul".

Merrill's voice has an incredibly unique tone, rich with expression. The instrumentation is for the most part minimalist, but is heavily supported by looped riffs of her fascinating vocalizations; just listen to a few seconds of 'Bizness' and you'll hear what I mean.

Favorite tracks are Gangsta, Powa, Bizness, but really the whole album is a well-worthwhile listen and purchase. (also, go check out "Bird-Brains". The track 'Sunlight' is gorgeous)
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great, but Flawed in its Entirety, September 9, 2011
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This review is from: W H O K I L L (MP3 Music)
Alot of people find the album "WHO Kill" hard to review, and SIRIUS XMU kept getting feedback whether this was the real deal or not. For me, it was fresh and inovative, but with many new takes on genre-bending music, it's a hate it or love it kind of deal. This reviewer personally loves the approach and sound that the "Tune-Yards" are pumping out. What is the genre? Well that's what makes this album so great. A mix of Indie, Hip Hop, Skat, and whatever else you can lable them with. You'd think alot of the beats are produced on "Reason" or something, but all the videos I've seen of them in they've produce all organic beats. Exceptional!

This album is far from perfect, with many of the songs being okay but not as catchy as the four really great ones, the experimental sound can make or break it for the listener, in the end the four best songs on "Who Kill" make up for the rest of the album. The biggest hook line and sinker is definatly the "Bizness" which really shows off Merrill Garbus (YES IT'S A CHICK! DUH) vocal prowess. "Powa", "Doorstep", and "You Yes You" are the remaining greats while the others are just seminally okay.

Based on those few songs I'd give this album 5 stars, but the leftovers are hard to get into. This reviewer is really looking foreward to the next album and seeing what the "Tune-Yards" can really shell out. I believe we have something very important developing here. One last quip I'd have is that while the vocals are brought into a spectacular art-form by Merrill, they can fall short in the song-writing department, still this doesn't hold the "Tune-Yards" back from a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

7/10
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of 2011, April 28, 2011
This review is from: w h o k i l l (Audio CD)
Time will tell, but this is probably a masterpiece. I bought W H O K I L L on its day of release and I can't stop listening to it. I'm listening to it for the fourth time today which is very rare for me. The music is wonderfully rich and packs dozens of styles into a cohesive, imaginative, and addictive entirety. It's as close to perfection as it gets. For comparison, I can hear the swagger of Dirty Projectors, the kinetic of Florence & The Machine, the flourishes, if not the sound, of the Fiery Furnaces and the imaginative punch of St. Vincent. Most outstanding is Merrill Garbus' voice. It lifts and fuses the complex collisions of jazz, funk, r&b, hip-hop, and rock into one big adventure. I have already told everyone I know to get this album and I expect it will top many year-end lists. This is a must-have in my opinion.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic, genre defying and like nothing you've heard before..., March 11, 2012
This review is from: w h o k i l l (Audio CD)
I've heard about tUnE-yArDs for a while now and finally gave it a go a few months ago and I'm one of those fans that just can't get enough of this innovative, inventive and thoroughly imaginative music. Her voice is strong, sure, pitch perfect and has attitude for days, her musicianship is stellar and her songwriting is way ahead of its time. All of her sample loops are done live, her rhythms are organic and looped live and her approach is so fresh, so surprising, it's hard not to watch her perform with your jaw on the floor the whole time. If you're not convinced that she's doing something new and important here, see her live. Here's an example: [...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best CD of the decade for me., May 6, 2013
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This review is from: w h o k i l l (Audio CD)
I heard Merrill Garbus (Tuneyards) on the great NPR music show "Sound Opinions. The music is adventurous, funky and totally unique. I found out that my favorite nephew independently discovered the band, and he raved about it. This is NOT music for people that like to play it safe with their music. Every time I listen, I like it more. Check out their performance on "Austin City Limits".
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jazzy Genre Smashing, April 6, 2012
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This review is from: W H O K I L L (MP3 Music)
I like Genre Mashing... this is more like genre smashing though. Instead of being able to hear distinctive parts of different styles of music, what you hear is tidbits and fragments which are then melded together to create a sort of jazzy/reggee/rock/folk mix.

The beauty of this album is that it really gets better with each listen. I think this is due to the complexity of the music, and that you just can't get it all in one listen. There were 3 songs I liked on the first listen (especially Powa). Well now I like 8/10 songs and I'm not sure that Powa is still my favorite, and that's a good thing.

Musically this album is diverse. Gangsta is quite Regge, Powa has adriving rock/soul flavor, while Wooly Wolly Gong sounds like a lullably. There are so many different sounds pieced together that I really suggest listening to the Album with a solid set of headphones. It sounds so much better in my Shure 750 DJ headphones than it does over any speakers I own.

Lyrically this album is creative. I find the lyrics to be more poetic and abstract than they appear at first listen. Take the song Powa for instance: at first listen it sounds like a sexy rock ballad, but after you start to pay attention the lines blur. Is it a sexy balld, or is it about a woman who is kind of abused by her man? Or is it about a woman who is abused by her man and likes it? I've listened to the song a number of times but can't quite figure that question out. The music says "The relationship is passionate", but the lyrics say "The relationship is absuive" These contrast between what the lyrics say and how they come accross musically is dynamic and I like that.

Is the album good at face value? Yes, but it's way better after a couple listens and after you start digging through the subtle meanings and themes being explored.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Arresting, melodic, fun..., April 19, 2011
By 
S. Johnson (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: w h o k i l l (Audio CD)
As a Tune-Yards newbie I'm very happy to have found Merrill's music; it's complex yet melodic and simple, her voice is full of life and sounds wonderful solo or layered in dense overdubs of lilting harmony, the production and song-writing is odd, aggressive and FUN to listen to. The African elements are readily apparent and are a big part of these shining, sunny tunes even when the lyrics turn somber.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Most Important Band Since Radiohead Released OK Computer, June 21, 2012
By 
Winston Steward (A Very Cold Place) - See all my reviews
This review is from: W H O K I L L (MP3 Music)
tUnE-yArDs album w h o k i l l is the first knock-out release of the new decade. Like the 1980's were defined by U2's self-important excess, the 90's by Radiohead's icy and beautiful detachment, the 00s by The White Stripes bluesy tunefulness, the 10's belong to Merrill Garbus AKA The tUnE-yArDs. Merrill creates powerful music from the melodies and sounds she seems to grab out of thin air. She's not random. She knows exactly what she wants to sing, create and play. She simply does it by sampling as she goes (if you've seen her live, then you know exactly what I mean). Her songs are brilliant, lo-fi compositions that, even though they are created from sampled bits of wild sound, they are stunningly sophisticated. The tUne-yArDs are what is happening in music today.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent through and through, August 27, 2011
This review is from: W H O K I L L (MP3 Music)
Clever arrangements, great performances. The album veers from sparse and tribal to thick and lush, often with little warning. The vocals have a savageness to them that is just amazing when she really gets going, and the songs manage to be catchy for all their weirdness. Definitely a new favorite!
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W H O K I L L
W H O K I L L by Tune-Yards
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