tUnE-yArDs Battles Robot Mannequins in "Real Thing" Video

tUnE-yArDs Battles Robot Mannequins in "Real Thing" Video

tUnE-yArDs‘ new video for “Real Thing”, from this year’s Nikki Nack, features Merrill Garbus trapped in a factory, playfully battling with robot-like department store mannequins. Tom Jobbins directs.

Watch it below, via NPR Music. tUnE-yArDs have also added dates to their current tour. Check out the schedule below.

In a press release, Garbus said:

I believe “Real Thing” was the one song I didn’t want to make a video for. It has too many images of its own in the lyrics, and could mean so many different things for different listeners… I love leaving room for audiences to paint their own mental pictures. What changed my mind is wanting so much for this particular song to be heard by more people.

We chose Tom Jobbins’ idea because it framed the sometimes heavy lyrics in a Charlie Chaplin-like, humorous idea of me being a box of body parts in a factory. A simple and light-hearted backdrop for some complex and weighty ideas.

Jobbins added:

Hearing the song made me think of bright patterns and dancing hands! With these initial thoughts in my mind and the song on repeat I envisaged a madcap story about three plastic sisters and an all-singing all-dancing Merrill. It’s a brash and brilliant song and I wanted to match that with the visuals. Merging animation and live action allowed us to create different spaces and bring in lots of visual treats. Merrill was great from beginning to end. Her advice was always to go weirder and wilder, and I think her brilliant performance shows just that.

Read our interview with Garbus here.


10-07 St. Louis, MO – The Ready Room #
10-08 Louisville, KY – Headliners Music Hall #
10-09 Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works #
10-11 Austin, TX – Austin City Limits
10-12 Mexico City, Mexico – Corona Capital Festival
10-14 Atlanta, GA – Variety Playhouse #
10-15 Athens, GA – Georgia Theatre #
10-16 Carrboro, NC – Cats Cradle #
10-17 Charlottesville, VA – Jefferson Theatre #
10-18 Millvale, PA – Mr. Small’s Theatre #
10-20 Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall #
10-21 Pontiac, MI – Crofoot Ballroom #
10-22 Chicago, IL – The Vic #
10-23 Milwaukee, WI – Pabst Theatre #
10-26 Las Vegas, NV – Life Is Beautiful Festival
11-01 Paris, France – Pitchfork Music Festival Paris
11-02 Antwerp, Belgium – Trix
11-03 Lille, France – Grand Mix
11-04 Nantes, France –  Stereolux
11-06 Lyon, France – Ground Zero
11-07 Geneva, Switzerland – La Graviere
11-08 Bologna, Italy – Locomotiv
11-12 Berlin, Germany – Postbahnhof
11-13 Copenhagen, Denmark – Lille Vega
11-14 Stockholm, Sweden – Debaser Strand
11-16 Helsinki, Finland – Tavastia
11-17 Tallinn, Estonia – Von Krahl
11-18 Riga, Latvia – Palladium
11-20 Katowice, Poland – Ars Cameralis Festival
11-21 Prague, Czech Republic – Meet Factory
11-23 Utrecht, Holland – Le Guess Who? Festival
11-26 Madrid, Spain – Teatro Lara
11-27 Ourense, Spain – Teatro Principal
11-28 Lisbon, Portugal – Vodafone Mexefest
11-29 Vigo, Spain – Auditorio C.C. Afundación
12-04 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *!
12-05 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *!
12-06 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *!
12-07 Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *!
12-10 Los Angeles, CA – Wiltern *
12-11 Oakland, CA – Fox Theatre *
12-12 Portland, OR – Roseland Theatre *
12-13 Seattle, WA – Moore Theatre *

# with James Tillman
* with Cibo Matto
! with BEEP

Watch tUnE-yArDs perform “Water Fountain” at this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival:

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