The Mars Volta is back. The prog-rock Latin post-hardcore hybrid act led by Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodríguez-López released its first music since 2012 on Tuesday with “Blacklight Shine”. The song was previously heard inside a large black cube the band installed in Los Angeles’ Grand Park over the weekend. Tuesday’s release also arrived alongside 13 North American fall tour dates.
From the opening hand drums and subdued wah guitar, “Blacklight Shine” is heavy with The Mars Volta’s Latin influence. Bixler-Zavala’s vocals transcend language barriers as he alternates between English and Spanish with each verse. A mix between free verse and bathroom wall epic, his words are chosen as much for their aesthetic as their actual meaning, with lines like “But I got the copy that he can never erase / He’s fit for a crypt / A place for the errors in judgment that he can afford / And I am that moment that you never saw comin'” acting as poetic riddles.
According to Bixler-Zavala, the lyrics illustrate “a wave of rolling blackouts washing memories onto shore, a heartbeat that still remembers everything.”
The Mars Volta broke its silence over the weekend with a mysterious post across social media containing coordinates and the dates June 19th–21st. Fans who arrived at those coordinates on Sunday found a large black cube adorned with writings similar to those found in the video. Once inside the Cube—where cell phones were prohibited—fans heard three minutes of music that was then released on Tuesday as “Blacklight Shine”. A statement from the band notes that the audiovisual experience found in the cube, titled L’YTOME HODORXÍ TELESTERION, will be available digitally on July 1st.
The Mars Volta also announced its first tour dates since 2012, set to begin on September 23rd in Dallas, TX and take the band across the U.S. through October 21st in Los Angeles, CA, with stops in New York City, Denver, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, and more, with a lone show across the border in Toronto, ON on October 5th. Pre-sale tickets go on sale on Wednesday, June 22nd at 10 a.m. local time with tickets going on sale to the general public on Friday, June 24th at 10 a.m. local time. Scroll down for a full list of tour dates.
Listen to the new Mars Volta single “Blacklight Shine” via the player below or on your preferred streaming platform, no cube required. The band also shared a short film to accompany the track.
The Mars Volta – “Blacklight Shine”
The Mars Volta – “Blacklight Shine” (Short Film)
Bixler-Zavala officially disbanded The Mars Volta back in 2013 following the release of Noctourniquet the previous year. In 2019, however, he confirmed in since-deleted tweets that he and his former At the Drive-In bandmate Rodríguez-López were working on new music.
“What it’s NOT going to be is your ‘fav member lineup’ playing their ‘classic records’ in full etc. Maybe we’ll play old shit, who knows how we feel,” Bixler-Zavala wrote at the time.
“Just remember our past campaigns never relied on playing requests or going fully backwards …it’s new shit, new people, left turns , tangent inconsistencies, mazapan dreams and churro wishes,” he continued. “I will say this though, when ORL played me a grip of new shit I fucking cried. Like Claire Daines in Romeo & Juliet cried. Yeah it was fucking weird. It’s in its infancy right now. No deadlines, no ball tripping, no drama, just 2 grown ass men using essential oils and bold new perfumes shooting ideas and scooting their ass across the fucking lawn trying to get rid of these worms.”