The Unknown- Fall LP

Here’s another joint post with A Viable Commercial- this time bringing you the full discography of Baltimore post-punk/indie band The Unknown.  Their first album is an excellent hybrid of Unforgettable Fire-era U2, early For Against, and Grapes of Wrath, with some slight Bolshoi vibes here and there.  They also remind me quite a bit of 86, an Atlanta band with similar influences.  Goutroy turned me on to the first record, especially the final song “Songinsee” and I was hooked instantly.  Seriously one of the best songs I’ve heard in a while, tested successfully at a night I just recently DJed at. Nothing like trying a new, obscure obsession out for the first time and receiving a positive response- the crowd kept dancing for all six minutes of the song.

The band was tough to trace at first, as their name is not only difficult to Google in general, but virtually impossible to narrow down on discogs due to the 30+ other projects with that name. After some finesse, I was able to find both albums for a fair price, and ripped them both.  You can get their debut, self-titled record (even harder to Google) from 1987 HERE via A Viable Commercial, and I’ll be posting the second record, released three years later.  While 1990 was an otherwise dark and barren period for this sort of sound (and perhaps that’s exactly why these two LPs couldn’t find a bigger audience), their sophomore record holds up as a worthy successor to the first.   The general vibe is the same, though the band plays slightly heavier on this record, perhaps a reflection on the indie/alternative scene that was just starting to break at the time.  There’s nothing on this album that’s as perfect as “Songinsee” but it’s still a good listen from front to back.

This album was released on Merkin Records, a rather…curious name for a record label, especially with bands such as Meatjack, Monkeyspank, and Buttsteak filling up the roster…  Can’t comment on any of those bands, but if they aren’t in the Jesus Lizard/Meat Puppets sort of vein, I’d be surprised.

Anyway, The Unknown split after this second record, but reunited in 2012, playing some shows in hometown Baltimore, most infamously at The Ottobar, which I’ve actually played at as well.  Not sure what the future holds for The Unknown, but hopefully these posts help the band find a new audience!

The Unknown- Fall
1. Empty House Of Night
2. Reasons
3. Route 99
4. Handwriting
5. Green Room
6. As They Sleep (Rachael)
7. Fall

*download it here*

5 Responses to “The Unknown- Fall LP”

  1. LONGTIMEFOLLOWERFIRSTTIMECOMMENT-R Says:

    Meatjack – Monkeyspank – Buttsteak

    I’m not familiar with any of these bands but those 3 names lined up like that make me giggle. Had to look them up haha

  2. Peter Ramos Says:

    Thanks for the kind and generous posts/reviews. I was the drummer and lyricist for The Unknown. We were two sets of brothers who grew up in Ellicott City, MD. I could tell you more back-story, if you’re interested. Let me know when your band plays Ottobar again, and thank you again for the support. –Peter

  3. hey man, thanks so so much for the right up and words on our old band The Unknown. im johnny alonso, the lead singer and guitarist for the group. our drummer sent me your blog links, very very cool. we have several live videos from our otto bar reunion show on my youtube page including Empty House of Night, Ceremony (Joy Division cover) & Songinsee and a few others. Tune in if you can. Again, thanks so much for the mentions on your blog.

    • Frankie Teardrop Says:

      Hey Johnny! Sorry it took a little while to get back to you, been a busy end of the summer. Glad to hear you guys enjoyed the writeup as much as we enjoyed the records! I’ve been chatting a bit with Peter on emails, but if you want to drop a line as well, you can reach me faster at blog@systemsofromance.com!

      PS: Loved catching the show on youtube! Really nice to see you guys back together again!

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