January 29th means one thing to me: my birthday. I have been lucky enough to find a concert to go to on or around my birthday every year for the past couple of years, and have now made it a quasi-tradition to go to a “birthday concert.” Normally the bands are a little pushed into my music taste for the occasion, but I found out that Unknown Mortal Orchestra was playing on my exact birthday, I freaked out a little bit. They will be joined by Lower Dens, who’s song To Die in L.A. you might be familiar with if you listen to alternative/indie radio, as well as Hibou, an atmospheric indie-pop group from Seattle.
The first time I heard of the part American, part Kiwi band was on an indie rock station back home in North Carolina early last year, when they premiered their song “Can’t Keep Checking My Phone”. I added it to my monthly playlist and counted down the days to their third LP titled Multi-Love. My love for this band remained surface-y until the album came out on May 26th, 2015, and upon hearing the full track list I dived headfirst into finding out every detail about them.
I’ll spare you the long version and just give you the facts: UMO was born after frontman Ruban Nielson’s previous band, The Mint Chicks, didn’t work out. He started making sounds out of his basement as a pastime after his day job, but when his first single took off in the blogosphere in 2010, he returned to music full time as Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Three albums later, his record deal budget allows room for a “real studio”, but Neilson chooses to continue making most of his music at home. This contributes to their slightly raw, but mainly psychedelic and R&B style of sound. You kind of just need to listen to it to fully understand, but if you enjoy Tame Impala or Toro Y Moi, you definitely need to be in the audience at this show on January 29th at the Neptune Theatre.
Also, not only are they just playing on my birthday, but this is the 14th Little Big Show sponsored by Starbucks, KEXP, and Seattle Theatre Group. If you don’t know what that means, don’t worry- I didn’t either. I researched it for the both of us, and it means that 100% of the ticket proceeds will be donated to a local arts nonprofit: this show specifically goes to Red Eagle Soaring: Native Youth Theatre.
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