Photo by Juan Ortiz Arenas
Today, Unknown Mortal Orchestra announced that they will release their previously announced double album v on March 17 via Jagjaguwar. To celebrate the news, the New Zealand psychedelic rock band have released their latest single ‘Layla’ along with a video to accompany it.
The project was born in Palm Springs, California between the sun-soaked freeways and lush shoreline of Hilo, Hawaii. Ruban Nielson, the Hawaiian-Kiwi frontman of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, drew on the traditions of West Coast rock, werdo pop and hapa-haole music for the offering.
“Everything turned away from me and my music in Hawaii,” Nielson said in a press release. “Suddenly I was spending more time figuring out what other people need and what my role is in my family. I’ve also learned that things I thought applied to myself are bigger than I thought. My way of mischief – it’s not just me – it’s my whole Polynesian side. I thought I would step away from music to focus on family, but the two ended up bonding.”
Through v, their first double LP, the ensemble reflects on the path that led him to his revelations. In the early days of the pandemic, Nielson’s brother Kody flew to Palm Springs from New Zealand to help with the recordings. After one of her uncles showed signs of health problems, Nielson put aside his recording sessions and helped his mother and another of his uncles to Hawaii. After reuniting with his brother at a cousin’s wedding in Hawaii, they returned to Palm Springs to record the 14 songs on V, along with the help of his father Chris (saxophone/flute) and longtime Unknown Mortal Orchestra member Jake portrait.
The resulting album ignites images of clear skies, warm breezes, gentle beaches, and that subtle darkness that lives beneath the vast, pristine surface of an ocean that stretches outward forever. Through this abstract message, Nielson’s sound is entertaining, exploratory and personal – propelling the ensemble into new realms of creative freedom.
The single “Layla” is a perfect example of newfound sonic freedom, as is the video, directed by Vira-Lata, which serves as part one of a two-part series documenting the adventures of two young women. Notably, the first taste of the album was shared in October 2022 with “I Killed Captain Cook” along with a video featuring Nielson’s mother, Deedee Aipolani Nielson – Miss Aloha Hula 1973.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra also announced their first tour in four years in October, with performances in North America and the UK beginning in March, shortly after the release of v.
Check out Layla below and pre-save/order v Here.
Unknown Mortal Orchestra v tracklist
1. The Garden
2. Guilty pleasures
4. The widow
5. In the rear view
6. This life
8. Shin Ramiun
9th weekend run
10. The Beach
13. I killed Captain Cook