with Plaque Marks, Ghostbox and Culito
In 1988, singer/guitarist Chris Spencer, bass guitarist Pete Shore and drummer Charlie Ondras were students at Sarah Lawrence College when they formed as Lawn-Chair-Blisters before changing their name to Unsane. The band signed to Circuit Records and recorded tracks with Wharton Tiers for what was supposed to be their first album Improvised Munitions, but the label ended up never releasing it. Chris Spencer revealed in an interview that around this time, Unsane didn’t play in front of audiences until 1990.
Unsane became part of the scene of loud, noisy, like-minded rock groups in New York City’s East Village in the early 1990s. They often played gigs with bands like Pussy Galore, Cop Shoot Cop, Surgery, Helmet and the Reverb Motherfuckers. Members of Unsane concurrently played in other bands such as Boss Hog and the Action Swingers.
The band’s self-titled debut album was released in 1991 and was known for its harsh music and gruesome cover art which was a photo of a decapitated man on a New York city subway track wearing a Members Only jacket. The band obtained this photograph from a friend who was working with the local police department at the time, who were investigating the scene of the accident.
In 1992, drummer Ondras died of a heroin overdose, and was replaced temporarily by Anthony DeLuca and then permanently by Vincent Signorelli (formerly of Foetus and Swans). In 1994, Shore departed from the band for unknown reasons and was replaced by Dave Curran.
The band toured heavily, and released Total Destruction in 1993 on Matador Records/Atlantic Records. Their third album, 1995’s Scattered, Smothered & Covered, was issued by Amphetamine Reptile. The music video for the song “Scrape”, made for a mere $200, got significant play on MTV. The video alternates between lo-fi rehearsal footage of Unsane, and a series of serious skateboarding wipeouts.
The band continued touring heavily (including a stint opening for Slayer). Their next album Occupational Hazard was released by Relapse Records in 1998. Later that same year – in seeming fulfillment of the album’s title – Spencer was attacked by four people after playing a concert in Vienna, Austria. He ended up in hospital suffering internal bleeding and underwent major surgery. As a result of Spencer’s injury, and touring over ten months of the year, the band decided to take a long break in 2000.
Unsane regrouped in 2003 and released the CD/DVD compilation Lambhouse: The Collection 1991-1998 the same year. This was followed by their fifth album, Blood Run, in 2005. Ipecac released the band’s sixth studio album Visqueen in 2007.
Their song “Committed” was featured in the Activision/Neversoft video game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater. Another Activision title, True Crime: New York City, features the song “D Train”.
Unsane released their seventh album Wreck on March 20, 2012 and toured with Melvins through April and May of that year.
Debut EP Anxiety Driven Nervous Worship coming October 27th on Learning Curve Records.
Founded by three veterans of Philly’s punk and hardcore scenes, whose current and recent bands include Creepoid, Fight Amp, and Ecstatic Vision, Plaque Marks pound out the rawest, most caustic music any of these musicians has ever made. The band is the self-proclaimed “stain on the smile of the Philadelphia music scene.”
In Plaque Marks, these guys have abandoned all semblance of “finely tuned,” “sun-baked,” and “melodic,” in favor of pure abrasion and bad living. Caveman drumming, tooth-rattling bass, painfully distorted guitars, and buried yells are the elements at play here, and on debut EP Anxiety Driven Nervous Worship they sound like they were recorded with one lone mic, hanging from a noose in a Philly warehouse.
Plaque Marks credit Texas legends Rusted Shut and Cherubs for inspiration, as well as the early works of contemporaries Pissed Jeans – and while some of the members’ other work, particularly Fight Amp, resides in this ballpark too, Plaque Marks take it to new depths. This is noise-rock in its simplest and most corrosive state, and Anxiety Driven Nervous Worship is right at home on Minneapolis label Learning Curve Records, responsible for releases by Vaz, Hammerhead, and Gay Witch Abortion.
Ghostbox was formed in the spring of 2013 and is indeed ready to consume the planet.
Culito is Brandy Rendon, Gabe Rudow, Dustin Jones, and Bruce Maurey