On the Scene

Unknown Mortal Orchestra Win SXSW's "Catchiest Riff" Award

Imaginary award. Actual talent
 / 
Jordi Vidal

Are we allowed to give out awards to South by Southwest bands? Is it too early in the festival to bestow Unknown Mortal Orchestra with a "Catchiest Riff" trophy?

At Thursday afternoon's Pitchfork party, the Portland-via-New Zealand trio augmented their psych-pop-funk-hip-hop amalgam with reverbed vocals and extended guitar solos channeling the best 1960s psychedelic freakouts.

But it was the opener, 2011's "Ffunny Ffriends," that got the most attention. Over a breakbeat that cracks like a Golden Age hip hop beat, singer/guitarist Ruban Nielson laid down the deceptively simple, head-nodding guitar riff.

Heads everywhere, even those seemingly disinterested waiting for later bands, began to nod in unison, setting the tone for a crisp, 30-minute set that included "From the Sun" and "So Good at Being in Trouble" from last year's II. 

The track may be a few years old, but still has the power to convert new fans. Listen below: 

User Comments

Advertisement

Photo of the day

April 16: Teenage Dream

April 16: Teenage Dream

Fresh off the heels of her debut at Coachella and a once-in-a-lifetime performance with Nirvana, everyone's favorite 17 year-old superstar Lorde continues her winning streak by landing the upcoming cover of Teen Vogue. If you ask us, she's an excellent unconventional idol for all ages.

Advertisement