The Mars Volta have released their first new material in 10 years. The new song, Blacklight Shine, is the first music from Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez under the Mars Volta banner since the Noctourniquet album in 2012.
The band have also announced a series of North American tour dates. The run of 13 shows kicks off at the The Factory in Dallas on September 23, and climaxes at The Palladium in Los Angeles on October 21. Full dates below.
Blacklight Shine is heavily influenced by the Bomba music of Puerto Rico, with Bixler-Zavala singing in Spanish over a percussion jam that conjures up the spirit of Santana's early work, as well as some of the more loose-limbed material on Noctourniquet and the preceding Octahderon.
The lyrics of the song reflect "a wave of rolling blackouts washing memories onto shore, a heartbeat that still remembers everything,” explains Bixler-Zavala.
The band made waves at the weekend after a mysterious cube known as L’YTOME HODORXÍ TELESTERION appeared in Grand Park in Los Angeles.
"Inside of the cube, visitors were taken on a full, immersive journey to outer space, and where Blacklight Shine was heard for the first time by the public," say the band's earthly representatives. "The experience inside of the cube was intended to provoke self-reflection, with the single guiding fans on a journey through endless galaxies and back down to earth, to oneself. Those who were unable to witness L’YTOME HODORXÍ TELESTERION in person can look forward to a digital experience on July 1."
"Just experienced the Volta Cube," reported Reddit user TheDartAlex (opens in new tab). "It's a listening experience with lights. Pretty neat! Song is indeed Khruangbin and Santana-esque. Spanish lyrics, emphasis on conga/bongos over traditional drums. Kinda poppy too. More psychedelic than prog. Wish it was louder though, I really had to open my ears to analyse it. It's a bop though, can't wait for the release.
"For anyone going today, be aware it's a looong wait. Bring water, maybe even an umbrella for the sun and sunblock. I got there at like 11:45 and it was like a 2 hour wait, and the line wasn't that long when I got there. If you're going tomorrow or Tuesday try to get there early."
The Mars Volta reunion was first mooted in 2018, when Bixler-Zavala tweeted, "It's happening" to a fan asking if the band would ever release some new music. The following year, he tweeted that the band were “in the kitchen finding new ways to throw curve balls”, again in response to a fan asking about the reunion.
Last year the band's albums were reissued on coloured vinyl and as a career-spanning, 18-disc Mars Volta box set featuring the individual albums alongside early EP Tremulant and Landscape Tantrums, a set of unfinished original recordings from debut album De-Loused In The Comatorium.
The Mars Volta Tour 2022
Sep 23: Dallas The Factory, TX
Sep 25: Atlanta The Tabernacle, GA
Sep 27: Philadelphia Opera House, PA
Sep 29: New York Terminal 5, N.Y.
Oct 01: Boston MGM Music Hall, MA
Oct 03: Washington The Anthem, D.C.
Oct 05: Toronto Massey Hall, ON
Oct 06: Detroit The Royal Oak, MI
Oct 08: Chicago Aragon Ballroom, IL
Oct 11: Denver Mission Ballroom, CO
Oct 14: Seattle Moore Theatre, WA
Oct 18: San Francisco The Warfield, CA
Oct 21: Los Angeles The Palladium, CA
Tickets go on sale on June 22 (opens in new tab).