Unknown Mortal Orchestra

First up on this week’s feature, we look at the psychedelic rock band, Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The New Zealand-born, now Portland-based group is relatively new considering the amount of talent and musical complexity they pump out.

The band has perfected the blend of lo-fi funk groove, R&B beats and laid-back psych rock which caught the ears of Fat Possum (home to other artists like EL-P, Band of Horses, Dinosaur Jr. etc) in 2011, only a year after their inception and debut secret tune on Bandcamp. Since then, the band has released four more full-length records via Jagjaguwar. One theme that has always rang true to singer, songwriter and guitarist Ruban Nielson, is that he has some of the most transparent lyrics possible. Records have taken on themes from life experiences like “Multi-Love”, but have then have flipped the other way to be as non-sensical as possible like with ‘Sex & Food’. 

I was trying to think of something dumb to call it, a title that would convey the simplicity of the intent. A lot of times there’s a projection of heaviness onto what I’m doing, and it always feels like a misrepresentation of how dumb and simple a person I am.

Ruben Nielson to The Fader

In 2018 UMO released an instrumental record titled ‘IC-01 Hanoi’, which originated from sessions of their ‘Sex & Food’ album. Check out their tunes below and keep your eyes peeled here for new music and tour dates soon.

Unknown Mortal Orchestra play Hybrid Slinky, Regular Slinky and custom 11-58 guitar strings + Hybrid Slinky bass strings. 

David Adamiak (Covet)

To say that David Adamiak is a monster at bass is a slight understatement. Just give one listen to any work he has done in his instrumental group, Covet, as he’s keeping up and filling the sound with Yvette Young, you’ll understand what we’re saying.

From seemingly endless meandering notes, to slow methodical grooves with chunk, David has created a style for himself that proves a bass isn’t just a bass. Covet calls themselves “adventure rock” which you can clearly get on board with after one spin. The math-rock inspired music demands dynamic flexibility, as David navigates his fretboard relentlessly to fill the sound in the three-piece band. David’s also not afraid to experiment with non-traditional chord changes in order to best-suit the tunes.

Working with new chord changes is exciting because it helps bring out different sides of your own melodic voice you wouldn’t have considered otherwise.

David Adamiak to No Treble

Covet is a refreshing new breath of music where skill still matters, but it’s done with elegance and emotion. Check out the tracks and get familiar with the name David “quickdra” Adamiak, he’s sure to be around for a while.

David uses Stainless Steel Hybrid and Regular Slinky bass strings. David has also been known to use an Ernie Ball Music Man Sterling bass from time to time.

Cave In

You could argue that Cave In were some of the earlier post-hardcore, metalcore outfits to come out of Massachusetts. Starting in 1995, and solidifying their line-up in 1998, the band made a name for themselves alongside bands like Converge. Coming out of the gate with heavy riffs, dealing guitars and screaming vocals mixed with melodic choruses, the band gained fans in both the metal and hardcore scenes. As the years progressed, the band expanded into more experimental and post-hardcore sounds, seeing them shy away a little from the repeated heaviness and double-picking, giving way to more lengthy spacey jams mixed with periodic heaviness. By 2003’s ‘Antenna’ record via RCA Records, the band earned their way onto festivals like Lollapalooza and tour slots with the Foo Fighters and Muse. 

After a brief hiatus and a return to their heavier roots, Cave In released a new EP in 2009 and another studio album in 2011. While the band was on a light hiatus, tragedy struck as the lead vocalist and bassist, Caleb Scofield, was in a car accident of which he did not survive. In response, the surviving members of the band decided to play a series of benefit concerts to raise money for Scofield’s family with Caleb’s brother Kyle and Converge bassist Nate Newton lending their talents.

In 2019, Cave In released a new album titled, ‘Final Transmission’ which consisted of practice-space demos. Recently Cave In recorded a cover of ‘Moonlight Mile’ that they all recorded at home during Covid-19 sheltering in place. Check it out here, along with some of their most popular tunes below.

Cave In uses Skinny Top Heavy Bottom guitar strings and Power Slinky bass strings. 

Never Loved

Guitarist and extremely talented songwriter, Camm Knopp assembled the undeniable band chemistry that is Never Loved with bassist and longtime friend Jay Gayoso, drummer Kevin Blackburn, and second guitarist Shane O’Brien. Fearless and inspired, Knopp approached acclaimed producer Matt Squire (Panic! At the Disco, All Time Low, Ariana Grande) with songs he had written using his own frustrations and emotions to the studio, which he then later brought together with the band. These songs navigate Knopp’s own personal struggles with anxiety and insecurity and conveys emotions through crunching riffs and a knack for killer hooks and soaring choruses.

I’ve already written a lot of new material. The goal is to build a really solid fan base – and to be the biggest band in the world. It’d be awesome to be the next Nirvana, but we want to just keep growing and become the best we can be.

Camm Knopp to Equal Vision

Underpinned by a 90’s grunge/alternative rock aesthetic, Never Loved offers fundamental, ardent flares of intellect and passion. Yet, the band isn’t one who wants to be pigeonholed into one genre, each one of their tracks exudes the ambitions and ideas of Camm Knopp and his drive and determination he has to make them come to life. Make sure to check out the band’s tunes below.

Never Loved creates their signature sound with Power Slinky and Regular Slinky electric guitar strings and Regular Slinky bass strings. When writing his songs, Camm prefers Earthwood 80/20 Light acoustic guitar strings.

Toby Lee

Rounding out this week’s Follow Friday is 15 year old Oxfordshire England native and blues guitar phenom, Toby Lee.

Lee got his start at a very young age, landing spots on television shows like Little Big Shots and the Ellen Show, and also starring in the popular musical, School of Rock. Toby really became a global sensation after playing guitar at BB King’s blues club in 2015 when he was just ten years old which led to his discovery by guitar industry leader and fellow-longtime Ernie Baller, Joe Bonamassa. Bonamassa and Lee played together at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London where Lee was quoted,

Ever since I first picked up a guitar, I wanted to be Joe Bonamassa! As the years passed he became my guitar hero and someone I aspire to be like. Playing with him at the Royal Albert Hall was beyond my wildest dreams!

Toby Lee

Toby Lee has garnered over 300 million views on his videos through his social media channels, including over 11 million views on his Youtube channel alone where he fosters an impressive 69 thousand subscribers.

Toby Lee plays Regular Slinky and Super Slinky electric guitar strings to achieve his signature tone.

**Header image c/o: Citizen Times

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