Emerging from hedonism and isolation is II, the new album from Unknown Mortal Orchestra. The musical vision of Ruban Nielson started as an anonymous home-recording project that fused psychedelia, soul, choppy percussion and funk. UMO came to life in basements and bedrooms after Nielson moved from his native New Zealand to Portland, Oregon with his family. Following the recruitment of a new drummer Greg Rogove (in addition to longtime bassist Jacob Portrait from Blouse), and a deal with Jagjaguwar, UMO toured the US with Grizzly Bear and Liars. We got to interview the band while they were tripping LSD last year, you can listen here.
II builds on the break-beat, junk-shop charm the 32-year-old multi-instrumentalist and songwriter came to be renowned for following his self-titled 2011 debut, and signals the solidification of Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s position as an endlessly intriguing, brave psychedelic band. UMO is unafraid to dig deeper than the rest to lock into their intoxicating, opiate groove and bring rock’n’roll’s exaggerated myths to life.
Written during a punishing, debauched touring schedule during which Nielson feared for both his sanity and health, II illustrates the emotional turmoil of life on the road, painting surrealist, cartoonish portraits of loneliness, love and despair. Pulling Pink Floyd, the Family Stone, The Beatles and the Soft Machine through his warped rock’n’roll filter; Nielson created a collection of expressive, psychedelia. Unknown Mortal Orchestra was once Ruban Nielson’s closeted concern. With an album that uses his singular musical imagination and extraordinary talent to parade his emotions with unyielding honesty, it is now a fully realized band operating at the peak of its powers.
After recently sharing new single (and “II” cut) “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)”, UMO are sharing II details, including album art, release date and track list. Additionally, the “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)” 7″ that was previously only available on the band’s recent tour with Grizzly Bear is now available on iTunes.
Feb 5, 2013
1. From the Sun
2. Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark)
3. So Good at Being in Trouble
4. One at a Time
5. The Opposite of Afternoon
6. No Need for a Leader
9. Faded in the Morning
10. Secret Xtians
10/12 – Campestre Don Juan – Cholula, Mexico
10/13 – Corona Capital Festival – Mexico City, Mexico
10/17 – Hype Machine CMJ Party @ Brooklyn Bowl – Brooklyn, NY (RSVP here)
12/28 – Rhythm and Alps Festival – Christchurch, NZ
12/29 – Rhythm and Vines Festival – Gisborne, NZ
12/30 – Pyramid Rock Festival – Phillip Island, Australia
12/31 – Peats Ridge Sustainable Arts & Music Festival – Peats Ridge, Australia
01/04 – Bodega – Wellington, NZ
01/10 – Cassette Nine – Auckland, NZ
01/11 – Vector Arena – Auckland Central, NZ w/ Weezer