December 11, 2014 at 12:47 PM
Merrill Garbus, who has performed under the band name Tune-Yards since 2009, has risen in five years from quirky club favorite (she last played here at the Crocodile) to major venue star, opening for the likes of Arcade Fire and returning to Seattle to play the Moore Theatre. It’s altogether appropriate, then, that her new album, “Nikki Nack,” inspired by the rhythms of Haiti and a refreshing year-and-a-half off, has a danceable, poppy patina, though it is still informed by her scrappy, deconstructive, critical sensibility.
The 35-year-old musician grew up in New England, attended Smith College, worked as a puppeteer, played in Montreal for two years with Sister Suvi and now makes Oakland, Calif., her home. She has released two hot-colored, kaleidoscopically cartoonish videos for the new album.
“Real Thing” plays on tensions between the technological and organic — musically and physically (body parts fly freely) — and girl power. “Water Fountain” appears to be a rather straightforward warming warning about the California drought.
Garbus creates live drum loops on stage as well as playing ukulele and drums. For this tour, she has a five-piece band that includes her longtime collaborator Nate Brenner on bass, plus a live drummer and two backup singers.
If you can imagine a cross between Cyndi Lauper and Laurie Anderson, you have some idea of what her highly recommended show might have to offer.
8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 13, at the Moore Theatre, 1932 Second Ave., Seattle.
–Paul de Barros, Seattle Times music critic