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The Mars Volta return with Blacklight Shine, their first new song in 10 years

Omar Rodríguez-Lopez (left) and Cedric Bixler-Zavala perform live at the Soundwave Festival in Melbourne, Australia on February 22, 2015
(Image credit: Martin Philbey/Redferns)

The Mars Volta – the beloved prog-rock band led by vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala and electric guitar hero Omar Rodríguez-López – have released a new song, Blacklight Shine.

Accompanied by a short film, directed by López, Blacklight Shine is the first new music from the band since their breakup in 2012.

The song – which you can hear below – is a thrilling, summer-ready cocktail of sounds, with Rodríguez-López setting the mood with some light, wah-driven rhythm work at the outset. 

The colorful, six-string psych-funk soundscape he paints drives the song, which Bixler-Zavala says (opens in new tab) aims to capture the feeling of “a wave of rolling blackouts washing memories onto shore," and "a heartbeat that still remembers everything.”

Though the new song is the first major activity from the Mars Volta in a decade, Bixler-Zavala and Rodríguez-López have worked together extensively in the intervening years, playing with Flea in the alt-rock supergroup Antemasque and reuniting with their original band, At the Drive-In.

Rodríguez-López, for his part, also teamed up with Ernie Ball Music Man to create a striking signature guitar, the Mariposa. First unveiled in late 2019, the guitar features a pair of distortion-friendly humbuckers – with individual volume controls for each pickup, and no tone control – and a beautiful illustrated pickguard.

In tandem with the release of Blacklight Shine, the Mars Volta also announced a North American tour – also their first in a decade – set to take place this fall. Set to begin with a September 23 show at The Factory in Deep Ellum in Dallas, Texas, the tour will take the band across the continent, before wrapping up on October 21 with a gig at the Hollywood Palladium.

For tickets and more info on the trek, visit the band's website (opens in new tab).

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Jackson is an Associate Editor at GuitarWorld.com. He’s been writing and editing stories about new gear, technique and guitar-driven music both old and new since 2014, and has also written extensively on the same topics for Guitar Player (opens in new tab). Elsewhere, his album reviews and essays have appeared in Louder (opens in new tab) and Unrecorded (opens in new tab). Though open to music of all kinds, his greatest love has always been indie, and everything that falls under its massive umbrella. To that end, you can find him on Twitter crowing about whatever great new guitar band you need to drop everything to hear right now.