Reviews in 200 Words

Top Ten Albums of 2011: #4 The Decemberists and tUnE yArDs

In Beat Jab Best of 2011 on December 13, 2011 at 6:40 am

#4 Album of the year:

Jay Cullis

tUnE yArDs: “whokill”

Don’t underestimate tUnE yArDs’ mastermind Merrill Garbus. What she does – playing ukuleles and drums, recording, looping and layering them on the fly – it’s not easy. Not even remotely so. But somehow Garbus pulls off the most creative album of the year. Instantly catchy, these songs are clamorous. Riotous. They explode and writhe around Garbus’ eminently weird voice. You get the sense she played a lot of different music before hitting on what worked. Folk. Heavy metal. Reggae. “What’s a girl to do if she’ll never be a Rasta?” Garbus asks in the album’s best song, “Gangsta.” Well, it seems: this.

Micah Ling

The Decemberists: “The King is Dead”

If ever there were a trend this year, it would be for bands to surprise us: to do things entirely different from what we’ve heard before. This album was released early in the year, but it was not forgettable. Maybe because they just recently followed it up with an EP, “Long Live the King,” that perfectly extended the album: charged us up about the two combined. We needed to be uplifted at the beginning of this year: little did we know what we were in for; and so, let’s go out with this one, too.



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