Looping the varied pitches and octaves of her voice through her full pedals board Merrill is and WAS her own backup vocals. Pounding out an uptempo percussion arrangement or a cooled out rat-at-tat rhythm she captured these hooks and adds them to Brenner’s low-fi fuzzy rich baselines. She created a pastiche of digitally organic sound so simple in its parts yet full, rich and complex in its overall tone. Then, Merrill started to sing.
Merrill's voice bounced and peaked, whispered and squeaked. Her vocals would float above the crowd like in the ethereal 'Doorstep' or jitterbug along like a skat obsessed pre-pubescent boy on a tune like 'You Yes You' or hit you over the head and punch you in the gut with a desperate force on 'Riotriot' or 'Bizness.'
Captivating as the composition of the music is Merrill's lyrics toss and turn through happiness and angst, double entendres and simple sweetness with a self-awareness far beyond her years. No better example from the evening was 'Powa' a sultry, sweet jam with still enough awkward raunch in the cracks and variance in her vocal range to give you goosebumps.
There's charm in her smile, wisdom in her eyes, and overall passion and vibrance that is rare these days. Enthralling and engaging, I for one am already waiting for tUnE-yArDs next stop through town.
Looking ahead to can’t miss shows of the weekend, my pick The Black Angels. Playing Friday night, May 6 at Urban , these psychadelic rockers from Austin have been pounding the pavement since the release of Phosphene Dream in September. This quintet, taking their name from a Velvet Underground song, creates an amazingly full sound that rides you through their distortion and low driving bass and drums to find the beautiful in the shadows of Alex Maas’ vocals.
A hot ticket for the weekend, this show is not to be missed.