Thursday, July 5, 2018

West Virginia/Pittsburgh Emcee & Producer Unsung Liberates Shelved 2006-08 "Collection of Work" with Brandt Dykstra (The Station Signal)

Steven "Unsung" Miller is a rapper, producer, and musician hailing from Morgantown, West Virginia/Pittsburgh. Since initially bursting onto the map in 2001, Unsung has self-released 21 projects of varying lengths on his Bandcamp page, as well as Mugwampers-championed Young Man (2016) on Already Dead Tapes & Records and mini-album Mount St. Helens just this past May on BearTooth Collective. However, Miller's latest project isn't exactly credited to "Unsung" and honestly, it isn't exactly "new" either; Collection of Work is attributed to The Station Signal AKA Brandt Dykstra & Steven Miller. Nearly 10 years ago, between 2006-08, Unsung & Brandt wrote, recorded, and produced almost 60 songs together, which were very recently re-discovered and painstakingly whittled down to a concise 9-track Collection of Work. Not only did Unsung recently uncover a plethora of Station Signal material, he dusted off around 200 B-sides and alt. takes from his various projects recorded during the same 2-3 year stretch contained on an old computer. This including 3 albums and 1 EP as Unsung's alter-ego Umm... loosies relating to his 2011 album, The Paint, and 3 albums-worth of unreleased material recorded with Brandt Dykstra and a variety of collaborators.

Friends since high school, Brandt Dykstra & Steven Miller ended up attending University of The Arts in Philly and would often listen to Talib Kweli & Mos Def Are Black Star (1998) and "all things Rawkus Records" together. Unsung & Brandt recorded an EP with their friend Charles AKA producer Si Young as Eisodos Artisans, before changing their group name to Fires and then, permanently to The Station Signal. Around the same time as Steve Miller was recording his follow-up to Embrace The Selfish—as well as 2004's TWIN < with Brandt, Matt & Si YoungI Looked Back At My House, White As a Washing Stone (2006) he and Brandt Dykstra re-connected, meeting up 2-3 times a week for nearly two years, and eventually, had a whopping 50 songs recorded together. "Collection of Work represents melancholy, alcoholism, disillusionment, and depression. But it's also, completely energized due to the total affirmation of a complete friendship and having another person you understand on an atomic level," Unsung passionately explained, via email.

"It's completely enthralled with grainy films, Indie Rock, and alcoholic writers like Richard Brautigan and Charles Bukowski. I think, we were both speeding through Haruki Murakami and J.D. Salinger's collections of work," Unsung continued. The Station Signal's Collection of Work is now about 10 years old, but it was far ahead of it's time; although, it was in fact inspired by a few popular "Indie Rock Darlings" of the time - Wolf Parade, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Bright Eyes, Pedro The Lion, and Sigur Rós, as well as anticon, Rawkus Records, and Stones Throw. The Station Signal are currently working on their long-awaited second album and Unsung is preparing a solo album for release this Fall, as well as a cassette re-issue of The Paint on cunabear's BearTooth Collective imprint. I believe, Unsung has a couple additional projects currently in-the-works with cunabear and Scottish Hip-Hop crew, Mugwampers. The Station Signal's Collection of Work is now available from Unsung's Bandcamp page on Name-Your-Price basis for a limited time only.

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