Follow TV Tropes


Music / Unwound

Go To
The band during their final year: L to R - Vern Rumsey, Justin Trosper, and Sara Lund

"unwound: 1991 - 2091"

In the world of Post-Hardcore, there's no doubt about that you'll hear the name Unwound. And with good reason.

Unwound was a Post-Hardcore band founded in Tumwater and Olympia, Washington. While never garnering mainstream success, they were highly regarded in the post-hardcore scene due to their bizarre and abstract sound, their fierce DIY ethic, and their endless touring (even going as far as to allow "all ages" shows).

They started off as a normal project with a strange sound with their debut Fake Train all the way to New Plastic Ideas and got progressively more experimental with later albums such as Repetition and Challenge for a Civilized Society. But the album that truly cemented Unwound's diverse sound was their eighth and final release: Leaves Turn Inside You, a double disc album featuring an incorporation of Post-Rock into their sound, and was met with acclaim and praise for it's sound and existential and surreal lyrics.


Shortly after the release of the album, Unwound disbanded on April 1st, 2002 to the shock of fans, especially to those who thought they were joking and not serious (due to it being on April Fools and the fact early band shirts had the phrase "unwound 1991-2091"). The reasons of the band's break up have never been fully explained but it's been mentioned a couple of times by Sara and Justin that it was over the band's collective alcoholism, relentless touring, the effects of 9/11 on each member, and coupled with the band suffering burn out after Leaves.

Never the less, Unwound's held a big Cult Following to this day, with fans hoping for a reunion that will never come, with only recent reissues by each band member (along with box sets) being released.

Band Members

  • Justin Trosper - vocals/guitar/keyboards/saxophone (1991-2002)
  • Advertisement:
  • Vern Rumsey - bass/vocals/keyboards (1991-2002)
  • Sara Lund - drums/percussion/vocals (1992-2002)


  • Fake Train (1993)
  • New Plastic Ideas (1994)
  • The Future of What (1995)
  • Unwound (1995) note 
  • Repetition (1996)
  • Challenge for a Civilized Society (1998)
  • Leaves Turn Inside You (2001)

TV Tropes on the Chalkboard...

  • The Alcoholic: All three of them, but in particular Vern, and it's believed it lead to the band's end in 2002.
  • All Drummers Are Animals: Averted with Lund. She gave some impressive and amazing drumming and her skills were essential to the band's sound, but she herself is a pretty calm and relaxed individual.
  • all lowercase letters: Unwound loved spelling their name as just "unwound".
  • All There in the Manual: Unwound Archive gives an extensive history and detail about the band, right down to updates on Justin, Sara, and Vern's post-Unwound careers. There's even some on old members such as Brandt, the band's old drummer on their self titled.
  • Apocalypse How: "Terminus" seems to describe this. We think.
  • Darker and Edgier: Leaves Turn Inside You had much more darker instrumentation and sound, and that's not getting to the incredibly bleak lyrical themes. Conversely, it's actually musically lighter than the band's usual style of crazy intense Noise Rock, it's just an incredibly melancholy listen that has not undeservedly been compared to Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
  • DRAMATIC SHATTERING: They were known for their super intense and energetic live performances, probably one of the reasons they're so beloved.
  • Gainax Ending: "Who Cares" on Leaves Turn Inside You. Depending on your mood when you listen, it can either be a surprisingly funny reprieve from the 74 minutes of hopelessness you've just listened to, or it can be really creepy in a way that's hard to put your finger on.
  • Harsh Vocals: At times, but became less and less apparent in the band's later albums. It showed up again in "Scarlette", which is even then overshadowed by the instrumentation.
  • Insistent Terminology: Either "unwound" or "unwnd".
  • Last Note Nightmare: "Who Cares", despite it being a polka number after the usual rock stuff, does give off a sense of unease after the somber, bleak album that preceded it.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: They only had one drummer leave and even on an album that wasn't released till 1995. As a result, the band's line-up stayed together until the band's end in 2002. And even then, fans still hold true to the famous "1991-2091" message. With the death of bassist Vern Rumsey, it's pretty much assured there will be no reunions.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Look a Ghost" features a vibrant, almost Beatles-esque arrangement, but is about a vengeful ghost returning from the grave to murder you.
  • Madness Mantra: Finger nails on the chalk board, finger nails on the chalk board... off of Repetition.
  • Minimalistic Cover Art: Leaves Turn Inside You just features the band's name in a gothic font in the style of no letter 'O' spelling it as "unwnd".
  • Miniscule Rocking: "Lucky Acid" (1:43), "Gravity Slips" (1:44), "New Energy" (1:57), "Pardon My French" (1:30), "Accidents on Purpose" (1:55), "Murder Movies (1:48), "NO TECH!" (1:42)
  • Mood Whiplash: After the incredibly depressing "Below the Salt", LTIY ends with "Who Cares", which features a dark and saddening guitar break down....only to then end with polka? Huh.
  • Neoclassical Punk Zydeco Rockabilly: Their main genre was Post-Hardcore, but you wouldn't think that compared to the combination of Post-Rock, Noise Rock, and other genres.
  • New Sound Album: Leaves Turn Inside You is pretty much this for a lot of fans. It goes more for a Post-Rock and Experimental sound, but we could be here all week with what is featured on it's double discs.
  • Noise Rock: One of their genres anyway.
  • Overly Long Gag: "Excuse Me...", "...But Pardon...", "...My French"; three increasingly long tracks consisting solely of the same lo-fi muzak loop, included on the CD version of The Future of What solely to annoy the listener.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Justin's voice when he wasn't screaming. Most prominent on Leaves Turn Inside You, where he almost sounds like a shoegaze singer and hardly screams at all.
  • Post-Hardcore: One of the most respected members of the genre.
  • Rock Trio: Two guys and a girl who made some intense music.
  • Single Stanza Song: "Finger Nails On the Chalkboard".
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Zig-zagged through this throughout their career but became more cynical around Leaves Turn Inside You.
  • Trauma Conga Line: In an interview with Noisy, Justin and Sara confirmed that the recording and touring for Leaves was not a good time for anybody, and even was a factor in the band's break up, adding to everyone's drinking problem (especially with Vern), the band's end was inevitable. Sara and Justin did reunite during the compiling and releasing of the box sets, and even felt like they could do a reunion, but they decided against it due to the fact the two had long changed after years apart as Unwound.
  • Troll: The band included a bunch of overly long muzak tracks on the CD of The Future of What specifically to fuck with CD listeners.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Pretty much a staple of the band's career.
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: The band's later logo was just the band name spelt "UNWND".

Save your grace
i'm inventing you
save your grace
i'm coming to...

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: