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w h o k i l l

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 19, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Garbus has applied the tUnE-yArDs live approach to her studio work for the first time in w h o k i l l. Her tools have not changed. Rather, she's added more buttons and joints to those already being used (one essential new joint is dexterous bass member Nate Brenner, who co-wrote a few songs.) The opportunities exploited are evident in w h o k i l l's dynamic range as it matches Garbus' creative strides.
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 19, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 4ad Records
  • ASIN: B004LPNB74
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,558 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jeff Engel on April 29, 2011
Format: 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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Format: 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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Format: 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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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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