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United Nations

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Scoring a deal with a label is, for the most part, what every band hopes for. A bit of security, financial reward for a hard fought creative endeavor, or simply just a bit of fame and some notoriety -- whatever the reason -- a record contract can (sometimes) mean the difference between having to work a day job or not. But there are those tricky times when a "record deal" can turn into restrictive "contractual obligations," preventing members from fully expressing themselves outside of their "signed" work or outfit. And when this happens to a side project featuring members from a number of bands, it can make telling their story both confusing and, admittedly, suspicious. If we know they're mucking about with extra-contractual activities, why isn't the label that they're crossing calling them out? There are a myriad of answers to this vexing question, and all of them are probably spot on. This is exactly the situation that grindcore outfit United Nations found themselves in as they released their debut album, United Nations, in 2008. Led by Thursday vocalist Geoff Rickly, United Nations was fleshed out with a number of other players, who, due to the aforementioned obligations, had to remain anonymous and pose for photos wearing identical Ronald Reagan masks. In truth, if the internet was to be paid any attention to, United Nations membership -- supposedly -- included Daryl Palumbo of Glassjaw, Ben Koller of Converge, Christopher Conger of the Number 12 Looks Like You, Eric Cooper of Made Out of Babies, and Jonah Bayer of Lovekill. This seemingly rotating cast of (what the band themselves describe as) emo-power-violence players would eventually record the United Nations full-length, which ran in to (ahem) copyright problems, as it used the iconic image of the Beatles from their Abbey Road album in reverse, and on fire. In keeping with their nose-thumbing attitude towards the concept of copyrighted art, a follow-up single -- "Never Mind the Bombings, Here's Your Six Figures" -- was to follow, mocking the Sex Pistols' first album artwork and title. As far as a new album by United Nations was concerned, (the only) official member Geoff Rickly made claims in late 2008 that enough material was in the can and a follow-up full-length was sure to hit the streets in 2009. ~ Chris True

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