Saturday, February 20, 2010

Unbunny: Underrated

I was introduced to Unbunny in 2002 by my friend, Brad (aka b. mossman, who now writes songs for Wow Wow Wubbzy.) Brad was playing a show in Portsmouth, NH with a stripped-down version of his San Francisco-based band, Warm Wires, consisting of just him and tabla player Peter Altenberg. He predicted I'd love the headlining band, Unbunny, saying the singer remineded him of Neil Young - when he was, well ... young.
High expectations generally produce disappointment. But despite the cramped club and lack of a sound engineer, Unbunny lived up to Brad's hype. Singer/songwriter, Jarid del Deo, led his trio with a sweet, smooth voice (indeed reminiscent of Neil Young's) which carried beautifully over the textured, folk/country guitar and tight rhythm section. The lyrics were smart and painted strange, compelling scenes. ("Even with the spotlights on them / swans are fainting.") The only disappointment was that the set was much too short -- maybe 10 songs before a noise ordinance went into effect and the band had to stop playing.
At that time, Unbunny had two releases out: Fission Romance the West (1995), a rough, but excellent collection of home recordings, and Black Strawberries (2002), still lo-fi, but more polished. I purchased both from Guy Capecelatro, owner of Two Ton Santa Records, which had released Black Strawberries, and who has been an ocassional member of the band.
Since then, Unbunny has released "Snow Tires" (2004), "Typist" (2005), and "Sensory Underload" (2008), the last a collection of previously unreleased material. While the band has won some critical praise, they certainly deserve more attention than they've received. That may in part be due to the fact that they're not big on self-promotion. However, they do have a FaceBook page (that doesn't include any songs), and a MySpace page with four songs on it.
Rumor has it that the band will be releasing a new album in April followed by a Northeast mini tour and a larger European tour.
LISTEN: One of my favorite Unbunny songs is off their second release, Black Strawberries: "In a Way." Note: the video for this song is static, but Unbunny does have some videos of songs from "Snow Tires" on youtube.

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