Unknown Mortal Orchestra and the R-Future Pop Fetish
It seems there have been plenty of (especially Scandinavian and Australian bands, no stereotype mind you) bands who exist in a time vacuum -- Tame Impala, Dungen, the Hives, Cut Copy, Wolf People -- perpetually unwilling to admit to cribbing New Order or Cream or the New Bomb Turks or Jethro Tull for sonic ignition. But there are few who fully take from it, absolutely accepting that things like the synthetic heartbeats of '90s hip-hop and the dusty psych circus of Sgt. Pepper's could assemble the perfect album. Ruban Nielson, and his Unknown Mortal Orchestra could be mistaken for an offshoot of the Elephant Six (they did allow the British-led Minders into the fold -- and Beulah was from the West Coast, so UMO is plausible) but it's all very future-forward. Compelling in the album's adherence to the rhythm. It wasn't until I interviewed Nielson that I realized it was all constructed of some great riffs and a bevy of samples intricately woven. But we're in a new age -- one where this couldn't have been done on four-track, but doesn't sound a digital nightmare -- and it might just be the first truly psychedelic record that can list Garageband in the thank you credits. That said, it's effervescent pop music. A Retro-Futurist flare-gun shot across the frontier. You can name-check a flurry of groups -- even the Avalanches come to mind -- but it doesn't inhibit Nielson's penchant for a good hook. Hooked for Summer. Easily one of the year's finest. Here's a video.