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  • MICHAEL THURBER
Does the desire to throw yourself around in a river and cake yourself in mud come from a deep-seated rung of DNA code that pings out on gray winter days when our skin is parched for sun? Or were we all once elephants? The weird kicked blues of Lincoln, Nebraska, quartet UUVVWWZ makes you want just that—mud, all over your body, thick and warm. Singer Teal Gardner calls assertively through distorted dissonance with a bright, strident Karen O register. UUVVWWZ is pronounced double U double V double W Z. In the single "Open Sign," off their new Saddle Creek Records full-length the trusted language, Gardner stutters rhythmically and announces, "Arrival, arrival, arrival." The song zooms out from David Ozinga's drums. Jim Schroeder's guitar and Dustin Wilbourn's bass meld and bubble over into a whirlpool conclusion of discordant fizzling white noise. UUVVWWZ bring to mind the early-'80s zenith of Athens, Georgia, band Pylon. In the video for "Open Sign" there is mud. Lots and lots of mud. Teal Gardner and Jim Schroeder spoke. I was fully caked.

How did "Open Sign" happen as a song? It all builds to where you sing "Arrival." And repeat it. What has arrived? The sign? What's the sign?

Schroeder: I had the main riff, the one during the "arrival" part, sitting around for a year or two, and we couldn't fit it into anything. A couple of weeks before we went into the studio, we shoved it against the verse part and went from there. We "finished" the song the night before our first day in the studio, which made the song a little more exciting.

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UUVVWWZ play the Sunset tonight.