Music » Critics' Picks

tUnE-yArDs/Xiu Xiu

8 p.m. Tuesday, March 30. Lemp Neighborhood Arts Center, 3301 Lemp Avenue.

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It's not hard to spot the art-school damage when listening to tUnE-yArDs, the one-woman band helmed by Merrill Garbus. A lo-fi, kitchen-sink mentality runs through her debut album, BiRd-BrAiNs; the collection marries acoustic guitar strums with metallic drum machines and stitched-together beats. What's buried beneath the static is an affinity for classic pop songwriting and forceful female vocals — Garbus' voice carries with it a dump truck full of soul, suggesting a cross between Nina Simone and Polly Jean Harvey. On "News," clattering, drumstick-on-chair percussion supports jazzy ukulele strums while Garbus' multi-tracked vocals harmonize like a menagerie of morningbirds. Xiu Xiu, Jamie Stewart's long-running sideshow of tortured, industrial mea culpas, headlines the show.

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