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Unknown Mortal Orchestra | V (2023)


Unknown Mortal Orchestra V

Created between the dry freeways of Palm Springs, California and lush coastlines and Hilo, Hawai’i, V is the definitive Unknown Mortal Orchestra record. Led by Hawaiian-New Zealand artist Ruban Nielson, V draws from the rich traditions of West Coast AOR, classic hits, weirdo pop and Hawaiian Hapa-haole music. With his sharpest-ever ear for “making it UMO”, Ruban evokes blue skies, beachside cocktail bars and hotel pools without ever turning a blind eye to the darkness that lurks below perfect, pristine surfaces.  Jagjaguwar

The road to V began in April 2019 when UMO headed to Indio, California, to perform at Coachella. For that fortnight, Ruban booked an Airbnb in nearby Palm Springs and brought his family along. Between performances, he realized the desert resort city’s palm tree-lined streets reminded him of a childhood spent playing by white hotel swimming pools with his siblings while their entertainer parents performed in showbands across the Pacific and East Asia.
A year later, Ruban started thinking about Palm Springs again as the COVID-19 pandemic loomed on the horizon. After contemplating spending lockdown at home in Portland, he purchased a house in Palm Springs. Having spent a decade touring, Ruban knew he had health issues and burnout to address. As America went into lockdown, he settled in for enforced downtime. Under the palm trees, he had the space to reflect. He felt a sense of gratitude for the lifestyle music had afforded him. The warm, dry weather cleared up his lifelong asthma issues, he found himself singing better than ever before, and new songs began to flow out of him in his home studio.
When he recorded his third album Multi-Love, Ruban incorporated disco elements into the lo-fi funk-rock dreamscapes of his first two records. Coming from a punk background where the slogan “disco sucks” had been casually thrown around, he found a subversive glee in flipping the script. On V, you can hear a continuation of this impulse in the arid disco-funk of ‘Meshuggah’. “There are two kinds of musical taste, constructed and instinctual,” Ruban said. “Taste as clout is dangerous to art, in my opinion. Then, there’s music that will send a shiver down your spine. You didn’t ask for that shiver. It just happens.”
During the pandemic’s early days, Ruban’s brother Kody had flown from New Zealand to Palm Springs to help him with his recordings. When they talked about records that moved them in that spine-shivering manner, Ruban started thinking about the ubiquitous 70s AM radio rock and 80s pop songs he remembered hearing as a child while their parents were working as entertainers. He wanted to write his version of those records, leading to the two glorious uptempo singles UMO released in 2021, ‘Weekend Run’ and ‘That Life’… Jagjaguwar

Unknown Mortal Orchestra: V

01. The Garden
02. Guilty Pleasures
03. Meshuggah
04. The Widow
05. In The Rear View
06. That Life
07. Layla
08. Shin Ramyun
09. Weekend Run
10. The Beach
11. Nadja
12. Keaukaha
13. I Killed Captain Cook
14. Drag




03-20 Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory Spokane
03-22 Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom
03-25 Seattle, WA – The Moore Theatre
03-27 Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
03-28 San Francisco, CA – The Fillmore
03-31 San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park
04-01 Los Angeles, CA – Hollywood Palladium
04-02 Phoenix, AZ – The Van Buren
04-04 Denver, CO – Ogden Theatre
04-05 Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater
04-06 St. Louis, MO – The Pageant
04-07 Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
04-08 Chicago, IL – Radius
04-10 Detroit, MI – Majestic Theatre
04-11 Toronto, Ontario – Queen Elizabeth Theatre
04-13 New York, NY – Webster Hall
04-14 New York, NY – Webster Hall
04-18 Washington, D.C. – 9:30 Club
04-21 Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore
04-22 Boston, MA – Roadrunner
05-30 Bexhill, England – De La Warr Pavilion
05-31 London, England – O2 Brixton Academy
06-15 Manchester, England – Albert Hall
06-16 Leeds, England – Stylus
06-17 Glasgow, Scotland – SWG3 Galvanizers

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