Unknown Mortal Orchestra

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I'm usually wary of bands with a lotta hype but this band caught my ear today. It's refreshing to hear a 'new' band that I don't totally immediately hate. What does the ILM hivemind think of these guys? They kinda sound like pop dudes who also dig Ornette and Howling Hex or something, with some, err, Jane's Addiction art poses thrown in. Also, great guitar player. I'm 4 songs into their debut album now. Liking it.

If Assholes Could Fly This Place Would Be An Airport, Thursday, 7 February 2013 02:06 (five years ago) Permalink

Debut - solid and refreshing. Just wriggles and misbehaves more and more inside your head the more you listen.

The new one has some stellar tunes - Swim and Sleep as well as So Good At being In Trouble plus some puzzling bloated noodly doodles.

In short: A fine, original songwriter with a melancholy and deep world view plus a good knack for interesting, addictive melodies.

Hinklepicker, Thursday, 7 February 2013 04:01 (five years ago) Permalink

Swim and Sleep has an amazing guitar part, so simple but beautiful tone and phrasing. It makes me sigh to hear it. A great track.

Just listening to the album for the second time. Nothing as immediate as that track, but I like it even if listening to music that scrupulously mimics the past makes me feel guilty.

Eyeball Kicks, Thursday, 7 February 2013 16:41 (five years ago) Permalink

swim and sleep is completely gorgeous. i think i'm getting into the rest of the album too.

call all destroyer, Thursday, 7 February 2013 16:54 (five years ago) Permalink

I was really, really into the first one for an intense, albeit short, period of time. The second one didn't inspire the same dedication on my part. I can see myself spending time with it in the future, though.

Johnny Fever, Thursday, 7 February 2013 17:03 (five years ago) Permalink

haven't really heard them too much, but yeah, swim and sleep is gorgeous.

tylerw, Thursday, 7 February 2013 17:05 (five years ago) Permalink

I had a similar reaction to the debut as Johnny Fever but coincidentally revisited it about a month before the new one came out (didn't know a new one was on the way) - it's a great record. The new one is a little more modest; there's nothing like "Ffunny Friends" or "Thought Ballune." I've listened to it a bunch but it still hasn't fully grabbed me. Still, I do keep listening to it, hoping it will grab me.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Thursday, 7 February 2013 17:28 (five years ago) Permalink

"swim and sleep" makes me sad

billstevejim, Thursday, 7 February 2013 17:38 (five years ago) Permalink

That's interesting, same thing happened to me with the first one. I wonder why.

wk, Thursday, 7 February 2013 17:43 (five years ago) Permalink

they are kinda sad-boy sounding.

billstevejim, Thursday, 7 February 2013 17:45 (five years ago) Permalink

sorry, I meant that I thought it was the best thing I'd heard all year for about a month and then I forgot all about it completely.

wk, Thursday, 7 February 2013 17:51 (five years ago) Permalink

this record is exactly what i wanted the tame impala record to be but wasn't

ciderpress, Saturday, 16 February 2013 19:13 (five years ago) Permalink

Do any US UMO fans know Reuban's previous band with his brother, the Mint Chicks? They were a v.big deal in New Zealand - the last big Flying Nun band / cleaned up at the NZ music awards in 2007, had some fairly omnipresent songs & a big live following, but never made it overseas.


etc, Saturday, 16 February 2013 22:38 (five years ago) Permalink

it took a while to grow on me but now I think the new record is way better than the first one.

wk, Friday, 1 March 2013 22:23 (five years ago) Permalink

I still don't think, song for song, the new one reaches the heights of the debut, but it's also really grown on me in a big way. Also, this, exactly:

this record is exactly what i wanted the tame impala record to be but wasn't

― ciderpress, Saturday, February 16, 2013 7:13 PM (1 week ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Jimmywine Dyspeptic, Friday, 1 March 2013 23:09 (five years ago) Permalink

I don't know, the new one doesn't have something like a FFunny Friends, but now that song seems slight compared to basically the whole first half of this.

wk, Saturday, 2 March 2013 05:04 (five years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I'm not blown away, but I find them consistently good. I guess that's all this starving man can ask for right now.

nicky lo-fi, Tuesday, 9 April 2013 18:25 (five years ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Caught these guys last night, stellar show, was really blown away. The lo-fi sound remains intact live but somehow gets more expansive seeming. And dude can really rip it on the guitar.

global tetrahedron, Monday, 24 June 2013 22:24 (five years ago) Permalink

Also, covered "Vitamin C" by Can, pretty unexpected but awesome rendition

global tetrahedron, Monday, 24 June 2013 22:29 (five years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

I'm usually wary of bands with a lotta hype but this band caught my ear today. It's refreshing to hear a 'new' band that I don't totally immediately hate.

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Thursday, 11 July 2013 19:30 (five years ago) Permalink

I'll echo the 'this is what I wished the new Tame Impala sounded like' sentiment upthread. Also reminds me of the Lilys in places.

More Than a Century With the Polaris Emblem (calstars), Thursday, 11 July 2013 20:09 (five years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

FWIW the new Popstrangers album has an UMO vibe

calstars, Monday, 16 June 2014 20:33 (four years ago) Permalink

also sounds like he's in the thick of work on a new album if his Twitter is to be believed

global tetrahedron, Monday, 16 June 2014 21:18 (four years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

Multi-Love sounding good to me on first listen, though I suspect it will inspire further derision.

fuck me, archipelago (Simon H.), Sunday, 19 April 2015 23:30 (three years ago) Permalink

i'm digging it. haters gotta hate

reggie (qualmsley), Sunday, 19 April 2015 23:37 (three years ago) Permalink

There was derision?

29 facepalms, Monday, 20 April 2015 13:32 (three years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Pretty harrowing account of this dude's love life on pork. David Crosby Triad type shit

calstars, Tuesday, 12 May 2015 23:53 (three years ago) Permalink

Pfork sry!

calstars, Tuesday, 12 May 2015 23:54 (three years ago) Permalink

Triad isn't harrowing in any way at all tho

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Wednesday, 13 May 2015 05:42 (three years ago) Permalink

Unless Ruban's dating David Crosby, that'd be p harrowing

sonic thedgehod (albvivertine), Wednesday, 13 May 2015 05:44 (three years ago) Permalink

I hadn't really thought about it but their song "multi-love" is basically a "Triad" update.

sctttnnnt (pgwp), Thursday, 14 May 2015 02:46 (three years ago) Permalink

I read it as a transgender thing but yeah, I guess it works either way

"She don't want to be a man or a woman / she wants to be your love"

calstars, Thursday, 14 May 2015 02:49 (three years ago) Permalink

bless him for his honesty

call all destroyer, Thursday, 14 May 2015 02:57 (three years ago) Permalink

like his stuff, but dude comes across as a pretty irritating "bro" in that pfork feature

licorice oratorio (baaderonixx), Tuesday, 26 May 2015 15:03 (three years ago) Permalink

I like this album a lot. I'm not sure I immediately like it as much as the first two (which blend together for me because I heard / bought them at the same time), but the highs here (for me, "Necessary Evil" and "The World Is Crowded") are as good as anything he's done. Also agree with the pfork review about the last song; sounds like padding; it's the weakest track by a pretty wide margin, I think.

Wimmels, Tuesday, 26 May 2015 15:57 (three years ago) Permalink

Dude is such a talent. Besides the guitar playing and the songs themselves, the vocal phrasing is great too. "Like Acid Rain" in particular.

calstars, Wednesday, 27 May 2015 00:35 (three years ago) Permalink

No surprise that they sold out the tiny place they're playing in brooklyn and tix are now going for double on scalping sites

calstars, Wednesday, 27 May 2015 00:38 (three years ago) Permalink

<3 "the world is crowded" <3

J. Sam, Wednesday, 27 May 2015 13:03 (three years ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Saw them live for free at Montreux Jazz last week. Intimate concert which is my favorite kind of concert. There weren't many people in there, 100+ at most, it was on a small venue called the rock cave so you can't fit that many people in there. They were perhaps one of the highlights of the whole week for me. You don't get the lo-fi live so they sound even better than on record. Mountain-hipster drummer was a highlight.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Monday, 20 July 2015 19:16 (three years ago) Permalink

Singer kind of looks like a white John Legend.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Monday, 20 July 2015 19:19 (three years ago) Permalink

Nice necklace

calstars, Monday, 20 July 2015 21:37 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

i like this dude's songs a lot

agree that the jams on the new album are 'multi-love' 'can't keep checking my phone' and 'world is crowded'

listening to all three albums, you can see him playing around with the same small set of musical ideas that would eventually become the best songs on the new album

it's nothing revelatory or mindblowing, but very nice little style that i'm fond of. also the albums are all short, i like short albums

flopson, Friday, 7 August 2015 22:38 (three years ago) Permalink

Monki is so funki

calstars, Saturday, 8 August 2015 02:00 (three years ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

this performance is so rad http://pitchfork.com/news/60944-unknown-mortal-orchestra-perform-cant-keep-checking-my-phone-on-conan/

J0rdan S., Thursday, 27 August 2015 03:04 (three years ago) Permalink

yeah that was great

call all destroyer, Thursday, 27 August 2015 03:14 (three years ago) Permalink

Dude in a sailors hat on the congas

calstars, Thursday, 27 August 2015 03:21 (three years ago) Permalink

this is one of those bands that actually deserves the cliche "hard to categorize" in a good way

five six and (man alive), Thursday, 27 August 2015 03:46 (three years ago) Permalink

that dude on congas is Connan Mockasin

Captain Maximus, Thursday, 27 August 2015 04:15 (three years ago) Permalink

I've always been in love with this band but you have to hear them live if you're still unconvinced. It's incredibly contrasting to hear how energetic "cant keep checking my phone" sounds live and the album version. They need a better producer for the next album, they're being choked on the lo-fi setting.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 27 August 2015 07:26 (three years ago) Permalink

I'll see if I can upload some of the crappy videos I took on my phone of them at Montreux Jazz. There were only like 80 persons in there but they were amazing.

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 27 August 2015 07:31 (three years ago) Permalink

i laughed out loud at the guitar toss, spin, split move.
i dig this band but my interest seems to wane when listening to a whole album. some great tracks though.

mizzell, Thursday, 27 August 2015 14:26 (three years ago) Permalink

the new album isn't lo-fi at all

flopson, Thursday, 27 August 2015 16:04 (three years ago) Permalink

this record is exactly what i wanted the tame impala record to be but wasn't

I like how this sentence is a renewable sentiment

the naive cockney chorus (Simon H.), Thursday, 27 August 2015 16:29 (three years ago) Permalink

when i first heard this record through my roommates wall i thought it was neo-soul

(that's an endorsement)

insufficiently familiar with xgau's work to comment intelligently (BradNelson), Thursday, 27 August 2015 17:28 (three years ago) Permalink

seven months pass...

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Empress Of
FREE SHOW - July 30 – Saturday – 6:00pm – Central Park, Manhattan

ulysses, Thursday, 21 April 2016 02:24 (two years ago) Permalink

eight months pass...

SB-04 is up on soundcloud

calstars, Sunday, 25 December 2016 02:39 (one year ago) Permalink


calstars, Sunday, 25 December 2016 02:40 (one year ago) Permalink

one year passes...

This year’s Installment. Lots of ideas

calstars, Wednesday, 27 December 2017 21:39 (eleven months ago) Permalink

two months pass...

Not in love we’re just high

calstars, Saturday, 3 March 2018 01:19 (nine months ago) Permalink

is there a new album out?

flopson, Saturday, 3 March 2018 08:41 (nine months ago) Permalink

Ruben is freaking great

calstars, Saturday, 10 March 2018 02:40 (nine months ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

New album and no one cares lol @ilm

calstars, Sunday, 8 April 2018 02:14 (eight months ago) Permalink

mate it was released yesterday, gotta give me a change. neways thx 4 the tip, listening now. i adored multi-love

flopson, Sunday, 8 April 2018 02:35 (eight months ago) Permalink

I gave it kind of a cursory listen on Friday and it sounded nice. gonna dig into it again soon.

Simon H., Sunday, 8 April 2018 02:37 (eight months ago) Permalink

Thought there might have been talk in one of the NZ music threads.

Liked these two interviews (one w/Taika Waititi):



etc, Sunday, 8 April 2018 03:30 (eight months ago) Permalink

thanks for that !

calstars, Sunday, 8 April 2018 03:41 (eight months ago) Permalink

(bit of a sidetrack, but ha, that Dazed interview has somehow hit the mainstream NZ tabloid/talkback circuit, oh dear:

https://thespinoff.co.nz/featured/09-04-2018/irrefutable-proof-taika-waititi-is-wrong-and-nz-is-not-racist-as-fuck/ )

etc, Monday, 9 April 2018 10:01 (eight months ago) Permalink

some next level terrible writing in this Pitchfork review today, jfc:

UMO’s mildew-covered fourth record

shellshocked R&B and emaciated soul

like Thundercat master tapes fished from a river

sounds washed-out and strangled, like a downbeat Prince rarity recorded on a dictaphone in Arthur Russell’s pocket

ends with a miniature, mortally wounded sax solo

The new Unknown Mortal Orchestra album? Well, for one thing, wear gloves, because it comes covered in mold. It has also experienced some sort of PTSD, and is now skinny as a toothpick as a result. Poor record! But it gets worse. You won't believe this, but...it got thrown into a river! Oh, my bad, that's a different record. Let's fish it out and have a look. Oh, it's a Thundercat master! Not a dub or a rough mix, mind you, but a master! Let's play it anyway, despite the river water. Hmmm...sounds like one of those common-ass dictaphone recordings Arthur Russell was always making of obscure Prince songs that always have the misfortune of being garrotted. God, I am so sick of those! OK, gotta go - the ambulance just arrived with a sax solo. He's hurt pretty bad. I don't think the little feller's gonna make it!

Paul Ponzi, Monday, 9 April 2018 11:55 (eight months ago) Permalink


✖✖✖ (Moka), Monday, 9 April 2018 14:26 (eight months ago) Permalink

sounds washed-out and strangled, like a downbeat Prince rarity recorded on a dictaphone in Arthur Russell’s pocket

If anything this sounds like something I'd really want to check out tbh

lbi's life of limitless european glamour (Le Bateau Ivre), Monday, 9 April 2018 14:36 (eight months ago) Permalink

Hunnybee my early favorite ... so smooth and tender

calstars, Tuesday, 10 April 2018 01:31 (eight months ago) Permalink

perfect example of indie rock score inflation, where a review that reads like it's trashing the album nonetheless gives it ★★★½

flopson, Tuesday, 10 April 2018 04:27 (eight months ago) Permalink

I read a little bit of his AMA on Reddit and he basically reamplifies everything he records more than once it seems, hence all that yucky jizz and mildew Pitchfork found. He tweeted about it yesterday when the review was published saying something like "the language you use to describe me is disgusting" but deleted it almost immediately.

Clairo endorses Honeybee tho

every1 should get hi and dance to this- advice from claire pic.twitter.com/y9qI5KZljv

— clairo (@clairecottrill) April 10, 2018

in twelve parts (lamonti), Tuesday, 10 April 2018 06:26 (eight months ago) Permalink

or even Hunnybee

in twelve parts (lamonti), Tuesday, 10 April 2018 06:44 (eight months ago) Permalink

Internet of Love also nice and smooth

calstars, Friday, 13 April 2018 02:17 (seven months ago) Permalink

i like this

illegal economic migration (Tracer Hand), Friday, 13 April 2018 18:01 (seven months ago) Permalink

five months pass...


vmajestic, Tuesday, 25 September 2018 19:29 (two months ago) Permalink

Spotify link: https://open.spotify.com/track/53RUStfBVyyAu4se0AHMrM?si=IbB7qCrCS9CBL6Ntfrhtqw

On a separate note, sex and food and the album before it are kind of let downs after the greatness and mystery that was “II” ...

calstars, Tuesday, 25 September 2018 21:33 (two months ago) Permalink

the sky ferreira remix was dope

ritual showdown (Ross), Tuesday, 25 September 2018 21:49 (two months ago) Permalink

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