tUnE-yArDs is Merrill Garbus. She writes the songs, which frequently consist of musical riffs broken into pieces and shards, glued together with an organizing rhythm. She provides most of the multi-layered vocals, much of the percussion, as well as various keyboards, ukele and other instruments and objects. Working with bassist Nate Brenner and occasionally a few other singers and instrumentalists, Garbus gives electrifying performances that showcase her remarkably flexible singing voice. In her ability to create music that sounds at once invitingly familiar and disorientingly new, Garbus is the real thing — an original artist.

Check out Ken Tucker’s full review of Nikki-Nack 

“I think that we need more weird, loud women role models, and I think that’s what I have become. It’s weird. I don’t feel like I’m so nice and happy and everything and all my music sounds normal. I think it’s pretty gritty. I’m just glad that there are girls that can be inspired by that.”


You know, that’s the whole idea of the American Dream, that we can all have it as long we work hard — and that is untrue. There are so many ways in our country where we are not giving the same opportunities to everybody.

–Merrill Garbus on Morning Edition