UNWOUND - s/t 7"
Unwound was a United States post-hardcore band based in Tumwater/Olympia, Washington. Formed in 1991, the band consisted of Justin Trosper (vocals, guitar, songwriting), Vern Rumsey (bass), and Brandt Sandeno (drums), all of whom had previously been in a band called Giant Henry. Brandt Sandeno quit Unwound in 1992 and was replaced by Sara Lund. This line-up would remain in place until the band's dissolution in 2002. The group was strongly associated with the label Kill Rock Stars throughout the 1990s. Unwound was sharply dissonant and angular, often resorting to unusual guitar tones, and associated with post-hardcore and noise rock. The band toured frequently, preferring "all ages" clubs. The group spawned numerous side projects.
Unwound released a full demo tape in 1991, and recorded a mini-album in early 1992 (released as Unwound in 1995). Two songs from the demo tape later appeared on A Single History: 1991–1997. In July 1992 Sara Lund replaced her friend Sandeno. The band makes an appearance in the 1994 cult roadmovie Half-cocked. The group released several singles and albums, primarily on the Kill Rock Stars label, before disbanding on April 1, 2002, shortly after co-headlining that year's All Tomorrow's Parties festival. The fact that they broke up on April Fool's Day fueled speculation that they would, in actuality, remain together; an early band t-shirt had the inscription "Unwound 1991–2091". Unwound's Fake Train was the first full-length musical release on Kill Rock Stars; it had been strictly a spoken-word label until its owner Slim Moon attended an Unwound concert and decided he had to release their upcoming debut (though technically second) album. Unwound also had the maiden releases for several other key underground record labels, including Gravity Records and Troubleman Unlimited Records; side project Replikants had the first release on 5 Rue Christine, an esoteric KRS offshoot. Rumsey founded and ran Punk In My Vitamins? Records, releasing material by Lowercase, Yind, the Bangs, Karp, Thrones, Dub Narcotic Sound System and Chokebore. Trosper published several issues of his own underground rock fanzine in the early 1990s. Unwound and sonic/geographic contemporaries Sleater-Kinney were generally considered KRS's flagship bands of the 1990s; no other band released anywhere near as much material on KRS as these two did. Although Unwound was not part of the riot grrrl movement, the band supported gender equality.
Troubleman Unlimited's Mike Simonett after hearing of the band's breakup posted a quick eulogy to Unwound on his record label's Web site: "Unwound were (and still are) beautiful people. Unwound was one of the most influential and vital bands of the '90s, and their last record was a masterpiece. You just don't know it yet. Unwound's influence will live on for a long time to come, and they were everything a band should be: independent and non-compromising in every aspect."
After Unwound broke up Vern Rumsey formed Flora v. Fauna. Sara Lund formed Hungry Ghost with Andrew Price from the Irving Klaw Trio as well as joining The Corin Tucker Band. In 2011, Brandt Sandeno and Justin Trosper formed Survival Knife (band). Live Leaves, a live album documenting various performances of the band's final tour in 2001 was released later in the year. An Unwound online archive, "curated" by members of the band, was also launched in anticipation to the new release.
In 2013 Unwound licensed their back catalog to The Numero Group. They released their pre-Unwound band, Giant Henry, on Record Store Day in 2013 and the first of a series of box sets later that year.
Unwound's influences included Sonic Youth, Melvins, Fugazi, Wipers, Black Flag, Can, Mission of Burma, Hüsker Dü, Nation of Ulysses, Flipper, and Gang of Four. Evidence of the Black Flag influence can be seen in Trosper and Sandeno's side band with Tim Green (of Nation of Ulysses), The Young Ginns (named after Black Flag guitarist/songwriter Greg Ginn), and in their sample of Black Flag's lyric "I'm not a machine" in their song "Machine" (on Replikants' debut album). Trosper and Sandeno were also in a band called Worst Case Scenario that released an album on Vermiform Records. Unwound's early work was characterized by intense vocals, jagged guitar lines, and more complex drumming than the band's peers. Trosper's lyrics were highly existential, cryptic, and generally bleak. From this angular, atonal starting point, the band developed their signature sound over the course of several albums and numerous singles. With 1996's Repetition, Unwound added synthesizers to the mix. Free-jazz style saxophone found its way onto 1998's Challenge For A Civilized Society. The band recorded Peel sessions with John Peel at the BBC in 1998; these were broadcast over the radio, and were released as the semi-official bootleg Unwound - Live in London (on Love Letter). This new direction set a precedent that the band would follow for their remaining albums, culminating in the release of 2001's Leaves Turn Inside You, a double album the band recorded themselves over the course of two years. Unwound never covered any other artists' songs on their albums, though they did cover "Plight" by The Minutemen and Torch Song by the (pre Versus) band Flower on singles.
A1 You Bite My Tongue
A2 Kid Is Gone
A3 Chant Of Vengeance
A4 Understand And Forget