On The Record: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Portland’s Unknown Mortal Orchestra, born of the blogger and Bandcamp boom of the early ’10s, and creators of the spaciest lo-fi psych are coming in hot to 2018 with a new full-length entitled ‘Sex & Food.’ Judging by the first two singles ‘American Guilt’ and ‘Not In Love We’re Just High,’ UMO’s Ruban Nielson is far from straying away from the aesthetics that make Unknown Mortal Orchestra unmistakably distinct from other artists flying the psych-rock banner. Throughout the band’s evolution, Ruban’s angular, behind the beat, lo-fi delivery as a vocalist still sounds as fresh today as he did when he anonymously dropped ‘Ffunny Ffriends‘ back in 2010. Ruban’s eclecticism shines through in the albums he’s shared today from his record collection ahead of the release of ‘Sex & Food’ in April.

Check out his selections below, and while you’re here, you can both pre-order ‘Sex & Food’ via UMO’s site and snag a few of UMO’s previous releases in the Discogs Marketplace.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Favorite Records: George Duke - The Aura Will Prevail album cover

1. George DukeThe Aura Will Prevail

My dad had a cassette tape of this album when I was a kid, and I definitely gravitated to it a lot. The artwork is very psychedelic, and the name of the album is spacey too. Quite raw for a fusion record.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Favorite Records: Frank Zappa - Hot Rats album cover

2. Frank ZappaHot Rats

This was something I fished out of my parent’s vinyl collection as a tween and I just wore out the grooves on the opening track, Peaches En Regalia. I couldn’t stop listening to it. I recently got a first Australian pressing because I think the mix sounds different. Wanted the closest thing to the old copy my Dad had.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Favorite Records: Miles Davis - On the Corner album cover

3. Miles DavisOn The Corner

I’ve always considered this a punk jazz album. It sounds gangster and raw. Aggressive, creative, exotic, toxic, damaged.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Favorite Records: Public Image Ltd - Flowers of Romance album cover

4. Public Image LtdFlowers of Romance

One of the few truly perfect albums ever made. Free, haunted, inspired, abrasive, expansive.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Favorite Records: The Kinks - Village Green Preservation Society album cover

5. The KinksVillage Green Preservation Society

This album had a huge impact on my songwriting and my ideas about what drums should sound like. The storytelling, cheekiness, slight cynicism and humour still influences me now.

Dig into Uknown Mortal Orchestra’s catalog of vinyl in the Discogs’ Marketplace and start adding those albums to your collection!

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Jeffrey Smith
Jeffrey Smith is the Director of Communications and Partnerships at Discogs. Prior to joining Discogs in 2017, Jeffrey founded the boutique music PR firm Crash Avenue in 2004.

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