Music News

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

With his old band, the Mint Chicks, Ruban Nielson experienced some degree of success in the underground in Auckland, New Zealand; the group had releases on the respected Flying Nun imprint by the time it moved to Portland. But when the Chicks split up, in 2010, Nielson wasted no time putting together his next band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, and Fat Possum issued the trio's self-titled debut in 2011, to great critical acclaim. With the Orchestra, Nielson managed to combine a lo-fi sound with imaginative recordings that gave the songs an unexpected sonic depth. This year's follow-up album, II, delves further into the band's signature alchemy of prog psych, garage rock and outsider pop. Think Can, Hawkwind, Skip Spence and Sebadoh filtered through the lens of indie pop.

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Tom Murphy is a writer, visual artist and musician from Aurora, Colorado. He was a prolific music writer for Westword and a documenter of the Denver music scene.