The InsiderOne Daily Report
Monday, April 23, 2001
InsiderOne's Michael Goldberg writes: It's been raining off and on all day, and the new unwound album, Leaves Turn Inside You, with which I've become quite obsessed, is the right music for a rainy, overcast day. It's too soon to say whether this is album of the year, but it strikes me that way right now as I listen to this epic two-CD set for the eighth or ninth time. Like the grey clouds hanging over Sonoma, unwound 2001 drummer Sara Lund, bassist Vern Rumsey and singer/guitarist Justin Trosper cast an ominous, yet beautiful, sonic shadow over the listener. This is music made in the cold, rainy Northwest Olympia, Wash., to be exact. The group spreads an hour and 17 minutes of music across two CDs; when "Who Cares," the finale, ends, it leaves you wishing there were more. Not since Sonic Youth's Daydream Nation has a group released a two-record set of such power, beauty and intensity. In February 1999 I flew up to Olympia to see the opening of Sleater-Kinney's The Hot Rock tour. The jammed, all-ages show was at Liquid, a club in downtown Olympia that held about 600 people. unwound were second on the bill, at Sleater-Kinney's invitation. Although the group had released many singles and a number of albums since its beginning in 1991, I had never seen them before; I was shocked at how good they were, and at Trosper's expressive guitar excursions. Being unfamiliar with their reputation and their music, I reacted purely to what I experienced right then and there. I subsequently went out and bought Repetition and New Plastic Ideas, and listened intently to A Single History when it was released later that year. None of that quite prepared me for Leaves Turn Inside You. This new music is the result of a band steeped in a D.I.Y./punk ethic, a band that does not adhere to anyone's definition of "punk." As the group's friend, Brent Claude, wrote in his liner notes to New Plastic Ideas, "...they have too much potential to grow stagnant. They are constantly evolving..." The group's new music is mostly slow, dirgelike, with a gothic feel at times. This is introspective music that can make you question your life, your purpose, what exactly you're spending the short time we have here on earth doing. Leaves Turn Inside You was playing as I got in my car and drove toward Petaluma to meet my good friend Lou, who is moving next week. I was thinking about how it's going to be harder to get together with my friend, 'cause where he's moving to is nearly a three-hour drive away. I was feeling sad about that, but the music together with the scene unfolding outside the car started pulling me out of that sadness. The drive from Sonoma to Petaluma along a two-lane road is always wondrous. I pass fields, old farmhouses, cattle and trees. Often there are relatively few other cars, and it feels like I'm alone in some other time, cruising through a piece of rural America. An old barn, set against magnificent dark clouds, flashes by as waves upon waves of unwound unwind.
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Michael Goldberg is the president of insiderone.net. He founded Addicted To Noise in 1994.