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Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Formed 2010)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra is an American/ New Zealand Rock band consisting of the members, Ruban Nielson (singer, guitarist and songwriter), Jake Portrait (bassist) and Riley Geare (drummer).
Nielson started the band, after leaving the band 'The Mint Chicks'.
They are best known for their singles, "Multi-Love" and "So Good At Being In Trouble".
Formation: For a hobby, Nielson wrote demos in his basement using samples.
Fat Possum Records soon discovered his experimental pop.
Music Career: Nielson released the track "Ffunny Ffriends" in 2010, on his bandcamp profile.
Wanting to discover who created it, bloggers hassled until Nielson claimed it as a track by Unknown Mortal Orchestra.
The band's self-titled album was released on the 21st June 2011, through Fat Possum Records.
It received an 8.1 rating from Pitchfork, and also won the Taite Music Prize in 2012.
Nielson also won the title of Best Male Artist at the 47th annual Vodafone New Zealand Awards.
Jagjaguwar signed the band in September 2012, and the band began working on their second album straight away.
It was released on the 5th February 2013, and titled "//".
"Swim And Sleep (Like a Shark)" was the first single to emerge from the album, and was available as a 7" on their tour with Grizzly Bear.
The album Won Best Alternative album at the New Zealand Music Awards in November 2013, and was nominated for the Taite Music Prize 2014.
It was awarded 9/10 by Clash Music, and was praised by NME.
The band embarked on a World tour in the winter of 2012.
It began in Australia and then worked its way round Europe.
With the opener 'Foxygen', they also toured through North America.
They were named one of Fuse TV's 30 must-see artists at SXSW in March 2013.
Throughout Europe, the UK, and North America, the band's shows sold out on numerous occasions.
Because of this, they decided to extend their tour through to the end of 2013.
The same year, they performed at numerous famous European festivals such as Roskilde Festival, Pukkelpop and Lowlands.
They performed "So Good At Being In Trouble" on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon on the 25th February 2013, making their television debut.
The bands EP "Blue Record" was released on the 29th October 2013, and included three songs, which had been taken from the previous album.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ruban Neilson, Jake Portrait, Jacob Portrait, Julien Ehrlich and U.M.O - Celebrities at BBC Radio 2 - Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Ruban Neilson, Jake Portrait, Jacob Portrait, Julien Ehrlich at BBC Western House - London, United Kingdom - Tuesday 19th May 2015
Elton John and Mumford And Sons are leading the line-up.
Outside Lands organisers have finally unveiled the spectacular 2015 line-up for their eighth year, featuring headliners Elton John and Mumford And Sons. The event is set to bring its usual combination of music and munchies to San Francisco this August.
Joining Elton and Mumford are a range of equally exciting acts, both of the veteran and the up-and-coming variety. Man of the moment Sam Smith - whose already bagged a total of six awards this year, including four Grammys - will bring his pop genius to the stage, alongside The Black Keys who released their first chart-topping album last year, and Kendrick Lamar whose highly anticipated third album 'To Pimp A Butterfly' sailed to number one in both the US and the UK last week.
Album set for May 2015 release; check out the title track and tour dates.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra fans will be thrilled at the announcement of their self-produced new album, 'Multi-Love'. It is set to be released in May 2015 through Jagjaguwar Records.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra to release 'Multi-Love' in May
'Multi-Love' shows a whole new twist to UMO's brand of psychedelic rock. Frontman Ruban Nielsan explained that, through using more retro methods, they were able to offer a fresh direction to the music. 'It felt good to be rebelling against the typical view of what an artist is today, a curator', he says. 'It's more about being someone who makes things happen in concrete ways. Building old synthesizers and bringing them back to life, creating sounds that aren't quite like anyone else's. I think that's much more subversive.'
Continue reading: Unknown Mortal Orchestra Return With New Jagjaguwar Release 'Multi-Love'
The Zombies, The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The War On Drugs are among this year's dynamic Austin Psych Fest bill.
Shield your eyes as Austin's most vibrant music festival marks its seventh year from May 2nd-4th 2014. With The Zombies, The Horrors and Temples on this unique bill, are we looking at Austin Psych Fest's best year yet?
Founded in 2008, the Austin Psych Fest started off as a tiny event; a one day blast of sensational independent bands at The Red Barn venue. It took just one year for it to expand into three whole days of psychedelic magic and will this year take place at the Carson Creek Ranch playing host to some of the most well respected bands of the genre in the business. We've had six years so far of this inimitable energy and with old lucky number seven comes a line-up that is arguably the festival's most interesting yet.
Continue reading: Does Austin Psych Fest 2014 Have The Best Line-Up Yet?
As 2014 approaches, Joe Wilde unveils the most listenable releases of the past year.
Hookworms 'Pearl Mystic' - Few albums released this year let you step inside to a whole new world of colour and sound as 'Pearl Mystic' has. The Leeds band's immersive debut might not be for everyone, but those who like what they happen upon in the 'Pearl Mystic' landscape will no doubt struggle to forget what they've seen.
Continue reading: Joe Wilde's Top 10 Albums Of 2013
A preview of some of our favourite bands playing L@L 2013
This weekend Leeds city centre will play host to some of the best musical talent 2013 has to offer. Whatever your taste in music, with over 100 bands playing at 12 different venues scattered around the city you're sure to find bands that are to your liking.
Since first launching 6 years ago, Live At Leeds has progressed from a relatively locally focused event to the best city music festival in the UK. With the organisers still eager to showcase the finest upcoming local acts, you might just stumble upon your new favourite band.
Continue reading: Live At Leeds - 2013 Preview
Albums of Note... Tasked with the tricky mission of releasing an album that stood up to their back catalogue, after several years in the wilderness and a brief spell of time on the reunion circuit, Suede have finally released Bloodsports. Rather than opting for replicating one of their previous albums, they have amalgamated elements of all five of them.
They’ve not lost their distinctive, Bowie-obsessed sound and Suede will forever have one foot in the Britpop era but with Bloodsports they have achieved what few can manage: to come back after a lengthy hiatus, ties unsevered, water under the bridge and still get back to making a quality album and reclaiming their mark on the British landscape.“Bloodsports then, is exactly the album that Suede needed to make. It is loud, aggressive, uncompromising and absolutely, defiantly Suede. Nobody else could have written these songs. Suede have done the almost impossible task of simultaneously looking back at the past while planting a foot firmly into the future.”
Pitched somewhere between The Killers and the Kings of Leon, Cold War Kids have returned with much of the same kind of material that they showcased on their first album. Dear Miss Lonely Hearts is a little bit “Cold War Kids by numbers” and although they’re pretty adept at what they do, if they just stepped out of their comfort zone for a moment, they could surely achieve much greater heights.
“The album's sure fire highlight is Jailbirds, a jaunty rocker, with a fat bass line and a noisy breakdown reminiscent of Queens of the Stone Age. This song offers something a little different and breaks the slight monotony of the rest of the album.”
A name like Unknown Mortal Orchestra might suggest an army of classically trained musicians shrouded in suspense. The reality of course, is even more enticing. Essentially the brainchild of Ruban Nielson, a formidable guitar player and songwriter who initially cut his teeth alongside brother Kody in highly revered experimental combo The Mint Chicks. Ever since the delightfully mysterious 'Ffunny Friends' appeared online three years ago followed twelve months later by the low-key release of the band's eponymous debut, critical acclaim has followed Unknown Mortal Orchestra at every turn.
Interestingly, when the first Unknown Mortal Orchestra record appeared in the summer of 2011, the psychedelic (or "psyche" as its come to be known) revival hadn't yet come to fruition. Which in a round about way makes Nielson and his two cohorts - bass player Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare - innovators. Comparisons arrived thick and fast with the likes of Ariel Pink and Animal Collective, and while it's difficult not to detect the obvious similarities with either, there's a much deeper range of influences at bay here than merely Pitchfork's flavours of the decade.
Devouring an array of reference points stretching back four decades or more, Nielson has crafted a follow-up befitting of the word psychedelia. Rather than writhe around in a vat of cringeworthy pastiche, 'II' represents one of the most forward-thinking long players to come out of the genre's recently discovered second wind. At times an adventurous voyage of discovery, Nielson and co. concocting long and winding passages via the spirit of Hendrix and Garcia all the time casting one eye on the future as they go. What makes 'II' even more of a sumptuous melting pot is that almost every one of the eleven pieces contained within it find themselves bursting with a pop-tinged zeal sadly lacking in many of their equally feted peers works.
Continue reading: Unknown Mortal Orchestra - II Album Review
A Week in Videos...The popularity of Unknown Mortal Orchestra has been on a slow burning rise for some months now. Taken from their forthcoming second album, helpfully entitled II, ‘So Good At Being In Trouble’ sees the band in a particularly catchy mode, a lilting melody lifting the trademark stoner vibe. The video features the actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse (you’ll know him as McLovin’ from the movie Superbad) causing a scene and trying to snatch a hippy from a scene that could well be set in a 1960s era Venice Beach.
In this video, Nina Simone talks about freedom and love, before the film cuts to a grainy performance of her performing ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free.’ One of music’s legendary performers, Simone’s rendition of the song showcases her warm and passionate vocal. On the subject of freedom, Simone insists that she couldn’t possibly describe how it feels to be free, just as much as its impossible to describe the feeling of being in love. To hear her perform the track, though, you get just a glimpse of what freedom might feel like.