Best Genre-Bending Local Album 

w h o k i l l by tUnE-yArDs

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tUnE-yArDs is Merrill Garbus, a New England-bred, Oakland-residing white woman whose music combines Afropop, spoken-word, hip-hop, rock, reggae, doo-wop, and jazz; who employs instruments and samples including ukulele, horns, sirens, and pots and pans, in addition to her own powerful voice; and who sings about concepts as disparate as race and gender relations, sex, gentrification, and body image (all without ever seeming preachy, mind you). Basically, this woman's entire existence is a testament to the creative velocity of heterogeneity. Hell, she doesn't even use consistent capitalization. tUnE-yArDs' debut album, 2009's BiRd-BrAiNs, was a quiet critical hit, but April's w h o k i l l hit with the wallop of something much bigger, earning accolades from all across the critical spectrum. It's a mesmerizing jangle of influences and elements, deftly flitting between genres in a way that manages to feel completely organic — the kind of album you can listen to hundreds of times and still find something to be surprised by. It's easily the best local release of the year thus far.

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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