On a Tuesday night in San Francisco, I wandered to Great American Music Hall, alone, having been told I would only have a ticket for myself. This turned out to be untrue. But with the man at will call telling me that my guest needed...

In 2009, Portland record label Marriage Records released Merrill Garbus' first album under the moniker tUnE-yArDs. The album was called BiRd-BrAiNs, and only one month later, Garbus was signed to 4AD, a reputable label known for their work with everyone from Deerhunter and Blonde Redhead to The Mountain Goats. With only one month of buffer time between her record release and her label signing, what was it about Garbus that captured the attention of such a huge label?
To put it concisely, Garbus is a helluva woman. Armed with a ukelele, free music editing software, and a digital recorder to capture samples with, Garbus created the lo-fi BiRd-BrAiNs in as DIY a manner as possible. She channeled the hopelessness from a particularly low point of her life into an experimental album – one which feels positive in its instrumentation but has hints of cynicism in its lyrical content. The album is chock full of rhetorical questions -- hypothetical what-ifs one might ask when questioning oneself.

"At a certain point in my mid-20s, I hit real rock bottom -- I mean, in terms of, feeling I wanted to exist on the planet. When I realized that if the choice was between dying versus doing something that made me want to live and made me want to be a part of the world, that was the obvious choice," explains Garbus. "And I guess through my music, I found that."

Listen to "Hatari" - DOWNLOAD MP3