tUnE-YarDs‘ Merrill Garbus is being modest in this Yours Truly interview and performance video when she says melodies always “baffle” her. She prefers to talk about the interlocking groove that makes “Gangsta” (from her 2011 album w h o k i l l) so addictive, but there’s something self-assured about the five-note bass melody that kicks off the song. And this video, recorded at New, Improved Recording in Oakland (where Garbus also recorded w h o k i l l), shows the masterful way she loops and manipulates her voice, transforming her strident police-siren cry into “Gangsta”‘s stickiest melody. It doesn’t seem like it would work, but it does. Part of this is Garbus’ talent for saying and doing wacky things with supreme confidence (note that her face remains passive no matter what syllable’s currently coming out of it). The other secret is also inside this video, when she explains that percussive melodies are what’s most exciting to her. Essentially she’s translating one difficult aspect of songwriting into the language she better understands. But it’s all still foreign to the listener, which is what makes it exciting for us.