When punk/post hardcore outfit The Mint Chicks went into, um, retirement, guitarist Ruban Nielson thought he was pretty much done with music. I’m so glad he wasn’t. His dabblings in basement psych rock have created what we now know as Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Since their self-titled release last year, UMO has been building a solid following, not just in the U.S. but internationally as well (Nielson is from Portland, but The Mint Chicks was from New Zealand, so UMO has a few built-in connections.) And touring with Grizzly Bear hasn’t hurt them, either.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra is definitely not a reincarnation of The Mint Chicks. This is a whole different vibe, a more laid-back indie rock sound with just enough fuzz to make things interesting.
With a new record (aptly named II) coming out in February, UMO is sharing an advance single from the record, “Swim and Sleep (Like a Shark),” which you can stream below. If this song is any indication, this is an album you’re going to want in your collection.
Typical of indie bands, UMO aren’t letting the grass grow under their feet; they’re hitting the road (or the air, or the open waters, if you will) right after Christmas with a tour that’s hitting New Zealand, Australia, Europe and the U.S. You can check their tour calendar or pre-order II from the band’s website. Meanwhile, take a listen to the track below and see what you think!