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Os Mutantes Return with New Album ZZYZX

Os Mutantes Return with New Album ZZYZX

With the same inventiveness and energy that they've had for 50 years, legendary Brazilian band Os Mutantes remains creative and sharp on their new album ZZYZX (out now via Jardim Elétrico).

The 11 tracks on ZZYZX (9 of which are in English) keep the psychedelic flame alive, and prove that a band initially known for being so ahead of their time could never be stuck in the past. Named for the mysterious "ZZYZX Road" in a remote part of the American Southwest, the album takes listeners through the Mojave desert to the infamous Area 51, then proceeds to break down the barriers of music made on Earth.

Os Mutantes was founded in the turmoil of Sao Paulo, Brazil in 1966, and it was during the Tropicália movement's start that the Mutantes recorded their self-titled debut album. As students battled the police and military, Os Mutantes recorded an ambitious album merging seductive Brazilian music with the new psychedelic pop of the Beatles and Beach Boys. The end result didn't so much take a direct political stand, instead offering a complete aesthetic rejection of the harsh reality surrounding them.

Brazil's military rule soon regarded Os Mutantes as musical emissaries of an emerging counter culture steeped in sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll, and the group's performances began to get raided. Os Mutantes for their part seemed to delight in their role as cultural provocateurs: with frontman Sergio Dias performing in a Napoleonic military uniform, his brother Baptista in a priest's cassock, and singer Rita Lee appearing in a bridal gown. "Many people were being arrested by the government at that time," Dias explains. "So we fought back the only way that we knew."

Os Mutantes' sonic collage approach and tendency for cultural irony is an aesthetic now prevalent in modern music. The band has inspired a growing list of luminaries including the Flaming Lips, David Byrne, Devendra Banhart, Of Montreal, and Beck.

For ZZYZX, Os Mutantes is: Sérgio Dias (guitar and vocals), Esméria Bulgari (vocals and percussion), Henrique Peters (keyboard, piano and vocals), Claudio Tchernev (drums and vocals), Vinícius Junqueira (bass), and Camilo Macedo (vocals and guitar).

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