Unsound #1

There now exists an online store built to slake the vintage music fanzine accumulation cravings of any & all freaks who might be reading this – ZNZ. I stumbled upon their inventory just over a month ago and struck up a correspondence with the good folks over there, and as it happened, “they’ve” (actually “he’s”) been kind enough to execute a trade of sorts with me, which netted me today’s topic, Unsound #1 from 1983. I’ve already become a repeat paid customer at ZNZ and recommend that you start getting involved if you’re so inclined. 

I’ve never owned a copy of Unsound before, despite its San Francisco roots (where I’m from) and the fact that it’s mentioned in the sort of whispered tones and reverent language reserved for the quote-unquote greats. Maybe it’s because Unsound very pointedly turned its back on punk as it was morphing into hardcore, and started documenting the proto-industrial, noise and experimental west Coast sub-underground pretty much before most anyone else did. 

The fanzine was put out by William Davenport, who’s got an exceptionally informative Wikipedia entry if you wanna check it out. He gladly takes ads from punk and hardcore bands – it was 1983! – but he covers acts like Culturcide, Kommunity FK and minimalist radio weirdo Peter Meyer and his Night Exercise program. Davenport interviews Nick Cave of the Birthday Party and asks him if he listens to “radical” bands like P.I.L., which Cave kind of scoffs at and throws back in his face (!). There’s also a terrific overview of the 1983 Los Angeles Experimental/Electronic underground by Brad Laner, starting with the L.A.F.M.S. and a post-Nervous Gender band called Gobscheit. He concludes a deep list of interesting experimenters with, “Well, that’s about it for now. It’s a short list because there just plain isn’t that many people here that are interested in experimenting when they could be making money producing boring rehashes of the Velvet Underground.”. Touché, Brad Laner. The Dream Syndicate will be giving you a rotary-dial phone call shortly.  

I also learned about Brad Laner’s Los Angeles band Debt of Nature – via an article written by one Brad Laner! – and that their bass player was none other than John Trubee, whom we were last discussing here. Maybe the pick of the issue, though, was this story about Whitehouse and their aborted San Francisco show at the On Broadway, which is so good I’ve scanned it for you here.

Looks like Davenport reprinted a bunch of Unsounds and is now selling them on behemoth corporate deathkulture website Amazon.com!

2 thoughts on “Unsound #1

  1. Ah thanks so much for the ZNZ referral, will check it out when I can. And I forgot that Unsound was in the archives!


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