Unknown Mortal Orchestra: 2015
Unknown Mortal Orchestra in Studio A (photo by Nick D'Agostino/WFUV)
Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson, a self-professed insomniac who tends to record and write his music in the wee hours of the night, has always spoken with candor about what fuels him creatively. His last album, 2013's II, touched on the native New Zealander's one-time penchant for hard living on the road, his efforts at recovery, and the anxious beauty of vulnerability.
For Unknown Mortal Orchestra's third album, 2015's psych-pop wonder Multi-Love, Nielson has again delved intimately into his own life for inspiration, writing a lush collection of songs that explore the rules governing romance, marital commitment and his own surprising turn into a polyamorous relationship over the last couple of years.
Also inspired by the production techniques and temperament of the '70s, Nielson recorded Multi-Love both at home in Portland, Oregon, and in Brooklyn with his brother (and former Mint Chicks bandmate) Kody Nielson and longtime bassist Jake Portrait. Joined on the road by drummer Riley Geare and keyboardist Quincy McCrary, Unknown Mortal Orchestra visited FUV's Studio A not long ago for an inspiring session that showed off the soft-spoken Nielson's attention to detail, his deft guitar work, his shy acquiescence to talk about tough personal subjects, and his admiration for Steely Dan too.
Check out videos to Unknown Mortal Orchestra's groove-laden "Can't Keep Checking My Phone" (certainly one of the best singles of the year) and the sensuous, soulful "Necessary Evil" which accompany this episode of FUV Live.