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Photo from Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Facebook page.

New Zealand’s spacey Unknown Mortal Orchestra come to Zaphod’s

By Apartment613 on July 22, 2016

Post by Philip Caunter

In the spring of 2010, New Zealand singer, guitarist and songwriter Ruban Neilson released a track called “Ffunny Ffriends” on an anonymous Bandcamp account. Groovy and spacey, it featured a solid beat and catchy guitar hook and quickly got positive press from music blogs, most notably Pitchfork.  Eventually Neilson would take credit for the song and credit it to his new band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Neilson and his cohorts have taken that very 21st-century origin and been on a roll ever since, and this Saturday they bring their live show to Ottawa for the first time.

Containing elements of funk and psychedelic rock, their music is jammy and hook-laden with nimble and energetic playing throughout. Critical acclaim has followed them since their self-titled debut, which won Taite Music Prize for emerging Kiwi artists. Their next two, II and Multi-Love, each won the New Zealand Music Awards prize for Best Alternative Album (in 2013 and 2015 respectively) and Multi-Love was also nominated for Album of the Year.

Their critical buzz has been accompanied by extensive touring. Following II they toured with indie giants Grizzly Bear and began playing major festivals. Later this year they open for Tame Impala in a series of shows, a clear sign of their current musical status, and their output of new material has continued this year with the single “First World Problems”. For Ottawa music lovers still looking for a top-notch show after the overwhelming bustle of the festival season, this is definitely one to see.


Unknown Mortal Orchestra play at Zaphod Beeblebrox with Klaus Johann Grobe. Doors are at 8, show is at 9:30. Visit Spectrasonic for more information or tickets. For more on Unknown Mortal Orchestra, visit their website, or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.