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Unsane

New York City's Unsane assisted in pioneering a more aggressive, less studied version of noise rock, one that blended the scum/art industrial sturm und drang of Foetus, the Swans, Einsturzende Neubauten, and Sonic Youth with the decidedly more straightforward hardcore idiom favored by acts like Sick of It All. While developing the blueprint for noise-metal bands to follow, Unsane cut a remarkable swath through underground music, inspiring a devoted, cult-like following around the globe. As a power trio, Unsane relied upon a hammering, power-press rhythm section, a searing Telecaster howl, and distorted vocals that resembled nothing if not the sound of a man trapped in the New York Subway system.

Having met at Sarah Lawrence College in the late '80s, the original incarnation of Unsane -- Chris Spencer (vocals, guitar), Pete Shore (bass), and Charles Ondras (drums) -- crawled larvally out of the practice space in 1989 and began playing New York's seediest haunts. It was these graveyard slots at clubs like CBGB's where the band developed and honed their trademark sound and delivered the goods with due intensity and volume. Unsane piqued the interest of numerous small indie labels and began issuing a series of singles and EPs before recording their self-titled debut with Matador Records. Using the photo of a decapitated man lying across train tracks, Unsane's album cover set the tone for the admixture of seething aggression, naked fear, and barely controlled noise chaos contained within. But the band's devastating maelstrom contained more than enough tunefulness and rock propulsion to quite easily surpass its more affected Lower East Side peers.

During 1992, Unsane's daunting schedule was cut devastatingly short by the untimely drug overdose of drummer Charles Ondras. Former Swans and Foetus drummer Vinny Signorelli climbed aboard the swiftly moving train in the fall of 1992 and the band began composing its next album. In the interim, Matador compiled and issued a collection of Unsane's early singles and compilation tracks, appropriately titled Singles: 89-92. It is perhaps Unsane's defining moment. The following year found the band recording its first for Atlantic Records, Total Destruction, a menacing, dark collection of songs driven by Signorelli's hypnotic drumming and Spencer's man-pushed-to-the-edge vocals. More touring followed and Matador released the Peel Sessions disc almost concurrently with Total Destruction.

After being discharged from Atlantic in 1994, Unsane found both a new bass player in Dave Curran -- who joined on tour while doing sound for the band -- and a home for their next album, Scattered, Smothered, and Covered, on the independent noise rock label, Amphetamine Reptile Records. While maintaining the band's signature sound and volume, 1995's Scattered... showed the band opening their rhythmic approach, with most songs inhabiting a more rock-oriented 4/4 pattern, granting the album a more spacious and controlled feel. Scattered... also contained the unlikely MTV hit video for "Scrape," featuring a series of skateboard accidents intercut with footage of the band performing live. Created for 200 dollars, it was ironically named one of MTV's Ten Funniest Videos. The band toured relentlessly and managed to secure an opening slot with metal behemoths Slayer on one of their North American headlining tours. Shortly after, the trio made another label switch to Relapse Records and began constructing its final album, the ironically titled Occupational Hazard. While on a press tour in Europe only a month prior to the disc's release, Spencer was brutally attacked by street thugs and left for dead on the streets of Vienna, Austria. After emergency surgery, he returned to the touring arena. Though Unsane temporarily disbanded in 2000, they returned a few years later with a compilation (Lambhouse) and an original album, 2005's Blood Run ~ Patrick Kennedy, Rovi
full bio

Comments

Killed it with Coady and Dale from the melvins filling in on drums. New Orleans. Best show of 2012
Saw them on Warped Tour back in the day
unsane is just that UNSANE, pure ferocity
Love it man. True sound.
Hit home instantly... l i k e a musical steroid...
Just saw them with the Melvins in Santa Fe...solid.
I'm pissed they were sold out here in Philly area by the time I knew they were coming. Hopeing for another swing around the area again later in the tour.
Saw with Melvins in NYC @ Webster Hall...outst a n d i n g show!
evilkitty666
Can't wait for Wednesday. They will play with Indian at The Abbey, Chcago
Oh yeah
Does it get any better? I think not. Heaviest, most brutal s**t out there. F**k death metal. they just play fast. this s**t is for keeps.
Saw Unsane with Today Is The Day and Keelhaul at the Empty Bottle in Chicago this year and i must say it was BY FAR the BEST show i've seen in my entire life! Unsane played Scattered, Smothered, Covered in its entirety; you should have been there! It was life-changin g , to say the least. BTW, Pandora, Lambhouse is NOT a complete enough collection and you need to get the individual albums those cuts are from, otherwise i will not renew my subscription when it expires, please and thank you!
Never saw these guys, but did have the pleasure of seeing CSC twice. Had a friend that got arrested wearing a CopShootCop shirt- while he's being booked the Sargent asks menacingly, "Do you like to shoot cops?" Without missing a beat, my buddy said "No, but I think it's funny when you shoot each other!" Priceless!
Unsane is the s**t and I would definitely like to see them soon, please and thank you.
I first saw them with Charlie Ondras drumming at a show in an old theatre house in Sav GA around '91-'92 and they were then and now the angriest band I have ever seen.
they are back together. for a while too
Saw them play a few times myself. One time was with with Boss Hogg. Charlie Ondas played drums for both sets. Unsane is amazing. I wish they'd get back together. Hey Pandora, add Scattered, Smothered & Covered...NO W !
this band has never sold out or conformed despite musical changes
is that a response to me
Every single day. Just like you are.
hey wats pete shore like is he cool
Take the 6 train and listen to East Broadway.
bromide01
Seriously. You listen to Unsane "everyday"? I don't believe that for a second.
Check out Chris' new project, Celan, with a bunch of other great music guys.
Keep looking. Total Destruction is out there...
Loved them forever. Saw them with Charlie and Pete. Listen to them every day and I am still a loving, sensitive guy.
bromide01
Smoke. Rust. Depression. Hate. Loneliness. Pain.
toddgoatee
Had the pleasure of seeing them a handfull of times . Has to be the loudest i've ever seen . Put on an awsome show .
Kick a** band, good grooves.Visq u e e n is a great album.
Here we go again.. found myslef comemnting on this band. Unsane has such simple depth. Hypno-killer - p u n k . No, "The Music of My Mind" ... that's it.
copperwire4o j o s e a r s 1
Got to know thew guys back in 89 or 90 through cop shoot cop. They were good then, and they're still good now! That's why they're still around assaaulting our eardrums!
Unsane is beautiful, hard, noisy, bloody and bad-fricken- a * *

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