tUnE-yArDs is the music project of New England native Merrill Garbus. When performing live, Garbus creates drum loops on the spot, and layers these with ukulele, voice, and electric bass (played by Nate Brenner). The "w h o k i l l" tour has added a saxophone section.
The first tUnE-yArDs album, BiRd-BrAiNs, was originally self-released by Garbus on recycled cassette tape. It was recorded using only a handheld voice recorder. A limited edition vinyl was released in June 2009, via the Portland-based imprint Marriage Records. In July 2009, it was announced that Tune-Yards had signed to 4AD, and a limited edition pressing of Bird-Brains was released on August 17, 2009. A full worldwide release followed on November 16, 2009 (and November 17 in North America). The autumn 2009 pressing was remastered at Abbey Road Studios by Christian Wright, and includes two new bonus tracks: "Want Me To" and "Real Live Flesh."