Originally published on Tue October 2, 2012 8:39 am
Merrill Garbus, the mastermind behind tUnE-yArDs, often uses a minimal assortment of resources — a ukulele, some pedals, a bit of percussion here and there — to craft an explosive, unpredictable, worldly, beautiful and utterly inventive sound. On last year's widely beloved w h o k i l l, Garbus' music forms a cut-up collage of coos, howls and bold statements of purpose, but her live shows fan out into epic rave-ups, complete with a pair of saxophonists.
In recent years, the Chicago-based R&B singer R. Kelly has alternated between elaborate ballads and and the more erotic collection of songs and videos for his series Trapped In The Closet. His new album, Write Me Back, may be relatively chaste in its sentiments, but it's by no means without passion.
The image of John Carlos raising a black-gloved fist on the medal stand at the 1968 Olympics became a symbol of the Civil Rights era. Last year, he published "The John Carlos Story," which detailed the trouble he faced after that gesture. Now Carlos tells listeners what music inspires him in Tell Me More's occasional series "In Your Ear."