Saturday, 25 May 2013

Unsane - 3rd Peel Session 7/6/1994

Saturday summer specials were never as good as this when I were a nipper....

My introduction to Unsane came during summer 1992 when John Peel rebroadcast their debut 1991 session in its entirety as a tribute to original drummer Charlie Ondras, who died from an accidental heroin overdose in July of that year.

Normally I would avoid, plague-like, low end saturated, doom laden bands with caterwauling frontman who always sounded like they'd benefit greatly from a course of primal scream therapy conducted by experienced professionals in appropriately simulated environments; likewise any band whose members had heavily tattooed arms that looked as though they'd been infested with a particularly potent strain of tropical tapeworm, wore baseball caps back to front (anathema!) and sported the fashioned facial hair of a frustrated topiarist.

But there was that indefinable something about the propelling, pummeling, grinding intensity of Unsane that set them apart from the alt rock noise metal crowd and appealed to me for reasons I still can't fathom. They may give the impression that if you'd caught them burgling your house you wouldn't dare set the dogs on them (even if you kept Rottweilers), but underneath they were probably nice lads who spent Saturday afternoons playing golf with their mothers.

The aforementioned 1991 session, along with their second from autumn 1992, were given a cd release in 1993, bridging the three year gap between the first two albums proper. Long out of print, the sessions can be downloaded from the excellent Museum Of Radio Sessions.

If Strange Fruit had waited a few months more they could have included the results of Unsane's third (and final) trip to the BBC Maida Vale studios. Broadcast on 30th July 1994 as millions of grungey wastrels were revelling in the second coming of Woodstock across the Atlantic, the session featured two songs from recently released album Total Destruction, and showcased a new track from 1995's folow up Scattered, Smothered And Covered . The real treats though are the last two tracks: one a cover of a Jimi Hendrix 1967 radio jingle; the other a collaborative effort featuring guest vocals from Mule frontman P.W. Long.

Prepare to incur the wrath, with much banging on walls, of the neighbours!

Track list:
Radio One
Speak English


  1. Beautifully done sir. Looking forward to hearing this too.

    PS did you check out the Nun Attax session? Reckon they will appeal to anyone who likes Bogshed

  2. Indeed I did. About time the recorded works of Finbarr Donnelly were compiled for worldwide consumption.

    Btw the way, there's a rather cool Five Go Down To The Sea? fan page on Facebook.