Unknown Mortal Orchestra



 Show: 8pm | Doors: 7pm

 $32 - $35

 The Orange Peel

Ages 18+

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. 


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’.


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