Saturday, October 10, 2009
Pop Montreal Discoveries: Merrill Garbus
The Phenomenal Handclap Band's attempts to establish a new world record for greatest number of tambourines incorporated into a never-ending jam. Fever Ray channeling unholy spirits to stun the audience. Girls collapsing and interrupting Sufjan Stevens work-shopping new material. The Balconies staking claim to being the best unsigned band in Canada. Pop Montreal 2009, The Quebecois version of SXSW, was not exactly bereft of memorable moments. Even so, there was one individual who stands out as the revelation of the festival.
Merrill Garbus, an adopted Montrealer, otherwise known as tUnE YaRdS gave astonishing performances first in a packed in-store basement show at Phonopolis and then with added theatrics at Musée d'art contemporain de Montréal. The instant appeal is to her incredible vocals which enable her to morph from a naive 13 year old girl, to a world-weary passionate African woman, often within the same song. This focus is helped by the relatively simple instrumentation consisting primarily of ukulele and drums giving a tribal folk feel. BTA was also in attendance to see her side project, Sister Suvi, at their last ever show. We've picked up their "pay what you like" LP, Now I Am Champion which also comes highly recommended.
tUnE YaRdS - Sunlight
tUnE YaRdS - Fiya
Sister Suvi - Champion