- As Nikki Nack, the joyously fearsome new album from Merrill Garbus' tUnE-yArDs, cartwheels along, one primal line surfaces: "Oh my god, I use my lungs!" The sentiment is archetypally tUnE-yArDs—a rebel yell that's exultant, thrilled, and terrified at the same time, like the look in the eyes of a person who's discovered how loud she can scream.
“Speaking up, speaking out—that's a theme that will always be there for me,” Garbus tells me in a New York City cafe one brutally cold recent day. "But I still have that hesitation: Can I really tell you the truth?” She's just stepped off a West Coast red-eye and is due back on a return flight in a few hours. But despite working on four hours sleep, her eyes are alive and eager; three years after the release of her brilliant 2011 album w h o k i l l, she’s ready to leap back into the fray.