June 2011

The Mars Volta - "The Widow"

It's nice when prog rock is actually, you know, progressive. The El Paso band The Mars Volta have done things with the genre that bring it into the the current century, incorporating elements of hardcore punk, math rock, and Latin fusion into their long-form prog repertoire. Their debut album De-Loused in the Comatorium, released in 2003, remains a favorite of mine to this day. If you're getting Storm Thorgerson to do the cover art for your debut record, you're doing something right in the world. It didn't hurt that Mars Volta emerged from the newly disbanded At the Drive-In, which might have held the title of El Paso's most famous post-hardcore outfit. Vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and guitarist Omar Rodríguez-López weren't going to stop making weird music with the death of AtDI, and so The Mars Volta was born. Here's the video for the single off of their second release, Frances the Mute (which also features neat cover artworkby Thorgerson). It's got a slick southern noir vibe and a rather enigmatic plot concerning an addictive black liquid that may or may not be a metaphor for drugs. I dig the highly stylized lighting; it's like they were filming in a darkroom. The song is "The Widow". Enjoy.