Band To Watch

Band To Watch: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The glammed-up, psychedelic, soulful, punked-out Unknown Mortal Orchestra is the brainchild of Oregon (via New Zealand) resident Ruban Nielson, a former Mint Chicks guitarist who mentions Captain Beefheart, Sly Stone, and RZA in the same breath. UMO’s self-titled debut full-length sounds like funkier Ween tackling Elephant 6, blending New Age ’70s recording techniques with that recent lava lamp/black-lit bedroom aesthetic (see Ariel Pink). It makes sense Nielson and his live band’s playing shows with Fat Possum labelmates Smith Westerns, sure. At the same time, you’ll think he might want to find a time machine and do a gig or two with Syd Barrett, the Kinks, or some private-press loner dude destined to be reissued and distributed via Forced Exposure. The music’s playful, but accomplished; familiar, but ambitiously charting its own collaged course. Take a listen to lead track “How Can U Luv Me” to see how all these descriptors tie together.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra – “How Can U Luv Me”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra:

01 “FFunny FFrends”
02 “Bicycle”
03 “Thought Ballune”
04 “Jello and Juggernauts”
05 “How Can You Luv Me”
06 “Nerve Damage!”
07 “Little Blue House”
08 “Strangers Are Strange”
09 “Boy Witch”

Unknown Mortal Orchestra is out 6/21 via Fat Possum. You can hear “FFunny FFrends” and “Nerve Damage!” at the label site. Look for a remix by someone from Odd Future. And here are those live shows:

04/24 – New York, NY @ Piano’s
04/25 – New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom #
04/26 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brendas #
04/28 – Baltimore, MD @ Ottobar #
04/29 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings Barcade #
04/30 – Atlanta, GA Masquerade (Hell Stage) #
05/05 – Sacramento, CA @ Harlows %
05/06 – San Francisco, CA @ The Fillmore Auditorium %
05/07 – Anaheim, CA @ House of Blues Anaheim %
05/08 – Scottsdale, AZ @ Martini Ranch %
05/11 – Colorado Springs, CO @ The Black Sheep %
05/12 – Fort Collins, CO @ Aggie Theatre %
05/13 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater %
05/14 – Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theater %
05/17 – Kansas City, MO @ The Record Bar %
05/19 – Little Rock, AR @ Revolution Music Room $
05/20 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater %
05/21 – Houston, TX @ Fitzgeralds %
05/25 – Columbus, OH @ Outland Live %
05/26 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues Cleveland – Cambridge Room %
05/27 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace %
05/28 – Syracuse, NY @ Westcott Theater $
05/30 – South Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground %
06/03 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall %
06/07 – Millvale, PA @ Mr. Smalls Theatre %
06/08 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live! %
06/09 – Asheville, NC @ Orange Peel %

# w/ Smith Westerns
% w/ Portugal. The Man, Telekinesis
$ w/ Portugal. The Man

The LP:

Unknown Mortal Orchestra - Unknown Mortal Orchestra