Untied States
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Untied States


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"Delusions of Adequacy Interview"

Untied States has been making albums and touring for a few years now, so it’s about time DOA sat down and talked with Colin, one of the band’s two founding members... - Delusions of Adequacy

"UK's Subba-Cultcha Review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"Unpredictable, chaotic and immense, Untied States are a welcome slap in the face (or kick in the b*llocks, depends what you prefer…) ‘Instant Everything, Constant Nothing’ is a whirlwind of alt-rock that sucks it’s surroundings in, rocks their world, and spits them out. These guys are definitely one to watch – keep your eyes on the prize!" - Subba-Cultcha.com

"5 Star Review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing" in UKs God is In the TV"

Atlanta five-piece Untied States new LP is a confident, post-punk rock record that has the feel of Grizzly Bear doing battle with Sonic Youth. From the opening of dischordant Gorilla the Bull there's a thoroughly energetic and imaginative chord running through their output, it's lively in a way that is always refreshing to the ears. Regardless of how much new music you like, you'll breathe a sigh of relief and think 'These guys get it.'

Not Fences, Mere Masks trundles forward with vocals somewhat akin to The Vines in psychedelic Autumn Shade-mode and woozy guitars barking over frenetically pattered percussion. It comes cascading towards a spine-tinglingly menacing and - dare I say it - groovy finale, with instruments clattering towards a climax like a steam powered war machine.

The two figureheads of the band, Colin Arnstein and Skip Engelbrecht, met as four year olds in Florida and moved from tackle football to forming a band. This is the first full length release by Untied States to not be mixed in their home, and for once the tricks and tools of a studio have given a band a huge lease of life, allowing their sound to expand into the places their scope and ambition desires. The grand echoing swagger of Unsilvered Mirrors has all the addled bombast of Nirvana going stadium-sized. Elsewhere Grey Tangerines uses samples to great effect, adding an additional, glitchy vibe to their cataclysmic sound.

Things slow down for the synthy, waltz of These Dead Birds which recalls Sparklehorse in part, and all too accurately is a sonic interpretation of the album's chosen subject matter; mental illness. Wandering into the spooky opening of Take Time For Always which becomes a ghost train at hi-speed hurtling you down the tracks like a malevolent cover version of Johnny Cash's Walk The Line done by The Banana Splits. Bye Bye Bi-Polar begins with grumbling bass jostling against light guitars accompanied by an electronic hiss of computer blips and bleeps, it's a hugely atmospheric experience that switches again and again with Brian Jonestown Massacre-like poetic skill from mood to mood.

Wrestling With Entropy in the Rehabbed Factory is a glorious, pseudo-operatic happening with the aural grandeur of Mogwai dancing alongside a late-The Beatles experimentalism and sense of melody. You can almost hear snatches of potential pop records drowning under the eerie percussion and dark chords of a pummelled grand piano, like Nick Cave chained to an anchor and sinking into the depths of delirium. Delusions Are Grander may find the band in somewhat safer musical territory, it kind of has a structure of sorts, but, again, it's a panic-breathed and wayward track that might bring to mind early-Muse or Sonic Youth's cover of The Carpenters's Superstar.

Penultimate track Holding Up Walls is a quick-footed two minute nugget and again brings to mind The Vines (but back when they were deserving of their hype), it borders on a chorus with the repeated lyric; 'Let me make it safe.' It segues into Kowtow Great Equalizer with a whirr and flurry of electrofuzz that lends a certain neck-hair-raising anticipation to where the band are about to lead you and they close the record with a reverbed Rawhide finale.

I'm afraid of hyperbole, but this is an LP that track-by-track keeps outdoing itself; even if you like an album there's a fear that with each new song the band will implode and go off the rails. That's not the case here. This record is a feast of sound for a hungry mind, and whilst some may find it too much to bear, it's 'descent into madness' is brilliantly realised and - for those who can stomach it - utterly compelling to listen to.

5 stars - God is in the TV

"UKs High Voltage 4 Star Review of Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

There is something very exciting about this latest release from post punk Atlanta outfit Untied States. While many British bands seem to be harking back to dull 1980s throwbacks such as drum machines and synthesisers, this genre is embracing much more exciting aspects of the era, such as huge distorted guitars, massive live drums and dark melodies.

The Untied States' third full album Instant Everything, Constant Nothing, uses some of these devices, making the 11 huge tracks reminscent of early Pixies and lesser-known Buzzcocks albums.
But with excellent production and an undeniably exciting rhythm section, this has a new and dynamic feel to it.

It's not easy listening and left me feeling a little angry, in a good way, but positive about this new direction some indie bands are taking.

It's a shame this five-some haven't got any gigs lined up in the UK because it would be interesting to hear this squall in the flesh.

- High Voltage

"A Future in Noise Review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

Untied States are perhaps best-described as what a shoegaze band forced to play garage rock might sound like, though even that is too-narrow pigeonholing for what this band are really up to, which is quite unique to themselves; as remarked by Ohmpark: "it is so mindbogglingly unlike anything else". Their forthcoming album Instant Everything, Constant Nothing is due out 10/19/2009 (their fourth LP), makes for enjoyable, and somehow challenging, listening. My favorite track here is frantic, near-tribal "Take Time For Always". Instant Everything... bears repeated listening - look for it on the Best of '09 list here later this year! - A Future in Noise

"Atlanta's Creative Loafing Review and Show Preview for "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing" Release Show"

Three years have passed since Untied States checked in with 2006's Retail Detail. Since then, a lot has changed for the unhinged art-rock ensemble centered around Colin Arnstein and Skip Engelbrecht. Their third full-length, Instant Everything, Constant Nothing drops this month on the Paris-based Distile Records, and it's a concerted stab at making a pop record — albeit one filtered through the schizoid, post-industrial psychedelia that's been their calling card all along.

"Blues, punk, rock and roll ... all of these things freaked people out at one point in time, and we want to freak people out, too. But we want the music to be timeless," says Arnstein, who shares vocal and guitar duties with Engelbrecht. "A great example of what we're aiming for is Joy Division. Their records scare you. They were stepping out on so much of a limb that you don't know if you're comfortable listening to it."

Along with Carnivores' bassist Philip Frobos, Satchel Mallon (drums) and Darren Tablan (keyboards, samples), Untied States has always flourished via dense arrangements with heavy dissonance and manic rhythms driven by Arnstein's distressed screams. Within the opening moments of Instant Everything, the discomforting drones and machinelike drum bursts of "Gorilla the Bull" melt into discordant guitar melodies. But the song's simple rhythms are the real standout. As the album unfolds, metallic riffs flare and grind against moaning angst.

At times, the record comes across a bit like Radiohead on a bad acid trip, and the group's attempt at making conventional songs is just as manic as heard on Retail Detail. Yet they also make a deliberate attempt to create songs rather than mere atmosphere on "Not Fences, Mere Masks" and "Bye Bye Bi-Polar." The arrangements are smoother, but littered with strange lurches and the occasional, jarring time change that begs for the King Crimson comparison. But for these guys, prog is a dirty word.

"I don't like progressive music," Arnstein shrugs. "OK, I put on a Yes record once in while, but we're trying to write songs that people will remember. Pop songs." - Creative Loafing

"Tiny Mix Tapes Review for "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"Again, you’re living nihilism when you listen to the album, and no one can say what form the enemy will take except that it will reek of regularity and certainty… Recommended just as highly to those that believe in anything as to those that believe in nothing — they’ll have the most to gain." - Tiny Mix Tapes

"Performer Magazine Feature"

You could say the guys in Atlanta band Untied States had an inkling of the kind of music they'd one day compose before they even entered kindergarten.

When Colin Arnstein met Skip Engelbrecht in a Florida neighborhood around age 4, he found not only a lifelong friend but also an artistic partner-in-crime. "My first meeting with Skip was him taking me into his house, and he had all of his toys laid out and they were all completely disassembled," says Arnstein, who sings and plays guitar. "I think it's a great metaphor for how our group works, the dynamic there." - Performer Magazine

"Crawdaddy Review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"And then, as if my rant reached into the collective hivemind in one last attempt to regain myself from the sunken lows of disenchantment, I ran into Instant Everything, Constant Nothing this morning, and was instantly overcome with joy. It’s entirely possible that I can find yet another record to satiate my taste in music. Haha? Haha!" - Crawdaddy

"Aiding and Abetting Review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"I've loved this band since the first time I heard it, and this album does not disappoint. The usual discord and rhyme, with a bit more melody and rhythmic coherence thrown in with the dissonance." - Aiding and Abetting

"No Rip Cord Review of "Instant Everything,Constant Nothing""

"the surprises are what kept me going back to Instant Everything, Constant Nothing: its selections of catchy rock songs so readily walking that line, jumping on either side and ably making use of both derivation and innovation. Wisely, they draw from both wells." - No Rip Cord

"Agit Reader Review of Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"Atlanta-based quintet Untied States are very ambitious, and their fourth album, Instant Everything, Constant Nothing, is filled with creative impulses—to the point of seeing how much can be thrown into a song before it totally falls apart. Thankfully that never happens. " - The Agit Reader

"Plumbiferous Media review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"Instant Every­thing, Con­stant Noth­ing is very good, if often some­what strange. Clearly exper­i­men­tal, but done by a band that could eas­ily have played straight rock had they so desired, Every­thing is a truly inter­est­ing album." - Plumiferous Media

"Visitation Rites review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"The list of indie rock bands that actually rock nowadays is pathetically short, so it was with welcome ears that I put on the latest record from Atlanta’s Untied States. - Visitation Rites

"Monsterfresh Review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

At their best, Untied States sound like a group of special ed students are peaking on LSD, while they’re driving around in suped-up Power Wheels, and smashing shit up in a factory warehouse with cricket bats." -Christopher Ryan - Monsterfresh.com

"BSC Review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"The music of this Atlanta trio (augmented heavily by friends) is a lot like its name: a lot of threads that come together in tight knots, then untie themselves again. Hard to pin down a time period, though; a little new wave here, a bit of psychedelia there, punk and grunge aesthetics but with a woozy romanticism, too, somehow." - BSC Review

"Popwreckoning review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"Remember when the term “indie rock” meant something? From Dischord Records bands like Rites of Spring and Fugazi to 1990s lo-fi staples like Pavement and Elliott Smith, indie rock used to mean that a band maintained a certain aesthetic of raw, do-it-yourself production, and it meant that they released their records on independent record labels. Remember that? Yeah, neither do I. I’m 27 years old. I was raised on Nirvana and Pearl Jam, bands who eschewed independent labels for gigantic mainstream success. Nowadays, indie rock is a blanket term that can be applied to any number of types of bands and genres of music. That being said, Untied States is an indie rock band to the core. They are signed to relatively unknown indie label Distile Records, and their sound harkens back to a laundry list of well-respected Dischord bands (among many other bands too numerous to list) yet they still cover enough new territory to sound fresh and exciting…. - Popwreckoning

"Delusions of Adequacy Review of Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"Instant Everything, Constant Nothing It’s been a while since Untied States put out its last full — and excellent — album Retail Detail, but Instant Everything, Constant Nothing proves that the band hasn’t been twiddling its thumbs. The album picks up where the last left off: equal parts experimental expression and solid post-punk, it delivers on the band’s past promise… That’s part of what Untied States does so well: give you something that you can easily digest and then punch you in the face. There aren’t many bands who can switch from pretty to intense or swing from expected to unexpected with the same kind of command over the material… It’s always a roller coaster. You never know what’s coming next with these guys, and that’s what makes for compelling listening. - Delusions of Adequacy

"The Big Takeover review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

This hits like a welcome return to the energy and noise of rock and roll.
Like Death Valley Sonic Youth, like Polvo, like Live Skull. The music is
surprisingly intricate, but the subtleties are held up against a brick wall
and covered in broken glass and distortion. A little No Wave crawling
through the alleys of Post Punk, but most of all it’s the noise of the 90’s
that keeps this band pulsing through my veins. The guitars are strangled,
the vocals growl and croon like some Lydia Lunch daydream, and the drums hit
solid and scattered across the punked out shards that spike these songs. - The Big Takeover

"No Tofu review of "Instant Everything, Constant Everything""

"Deep on the Eastside of Atlanta, GA pulses an erratic heartbeat: palpitating in divergent time signatures, splashing wildly to a new rhythm; altering perceptions and destroying preconceived notions." - No Tofu

"The Omaha Reader Review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"For a generation fueled by sensory overload, Untied States’ third studio LP, Instant Everything, Constant Nothing, harnesses the confusion of our times with a soaring sound blended with Colin Arnstein’s etheral vocals. Not Fences, Mere Masks is the song that sums up the band’s effort best.

The band's well-produced LP is as striking as it is subtle. The new additions of engineer/bassist Darren Tablan and drummer Satchel Mallon pushes Untied States’ sound to a progressive limitless scape. This brazen LP bleeds shades of Radiohead — a monumental accomplishment.
- The Omaha Reader

"Hearwax Review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"It’s hard to describe Instant Everything… with a blanket statement because it offers so many different things in different places and, at times, many different things simultaneously. I don’t usually do this, but I feel compelled to summarize each song at its plainest level, just so I don’t contradict myself trying to make remarks that hold true throughout the whole record. There are very few." - Hearwax

"Quiet Color Profile of "Instant everything, Constant Nothing""

Google the band Untied States, note the particular spelling, and the closest thing to a band you’ll come across are the deceased Seattle-cum-Cleveland rock of Presidents of the United States. Eddie Vedder once said of Ani Difranco during the Monkey Wrench radio sessions, “what a difference one letter can make.” The latter reference being to Yani. The same goes for the Untied States — one letter sets the band apart from any cookie-cutter mold of faux grunge. The Atlanta post-punk quartet are probably on heavy rotation on Vedder’s mix. - Quiet Color

"Glorious Noise review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

“Why has it taken me four albums before I’ve heard of this band?” - Glorious Noise

"Rock Freaks review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"if pushing the envelope and an outright refusal to be boxed or pigeonholed into one genre are high on your list of priorities when you're looking for new music, then this new Untied States album is something for you." - Rock Freaks

"Gas Lantern Media review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"Nothing can be taken for granted as you listen to Untied States, and for those who would quickly flick through tracks hoping to gain some idea what the music is like, you just can't." - Gas Lantern Media

"The Post and Courier review of Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"Untied States never veers out of control, but the Atlanta-based band sure had fun getting the music up on two wheels and testing the definition of what modern music really is.

It is easy to hear the influence of bands such as Sonic Youth and Fugazi in songs such as "Not Fences, Mere Masks" and "Grey Tangerines." But dig deeper and you'll also find hints of the more punk rock side of Devo, the darkness of Nine Inch Nails, and even Philip Glass (check out the dysfunctionally brilliant sounds of "Take Time for Always")." - Post and Courier

"Split Media review of "Instant Everything, Constant Nothing"

"the band effortlessly manages to convey through its music the feeling of not knowing exactly just what’s around the bend, and this is what makes this album so engaging and exciting." - Split Media

"Delusions of Adequacy Review of "Retail Detail""

Music can be rather boring at times. For every album that comes along and manages to completely devour our free time, there are innumerably more that beg the question: why was this recorded at all? In light of this, rock is a very fickle genre. It seems anymore that everything being churned out is just another impossibly unimaginative retread of already bland sounds. Luckily, rock is also very malleable and can be changed into something interesting with even the least bit of effort and imagination. Untied States is a band containing these two features in no small amount.
The group sounds like a strange meld of the experimental sounds of U.S. Maple and Jim O'Rourke, the fierce post-hardcore of later Blood Brothers recordings, and the conventional rock of, well, too many bands to name. The result is a deep, frenzied-yet-stable piece of what can be described as nothing else but avant-rock, as pretentious as that may sound. Untied States dodge characterization well enough to evoke odd terminology.
Strewn about Retail Detail, the band's second full-length, are equal parts abstract, whaa? noise and basic guitar rock features. The two offset each other in a delightfully chaotic way, while a generally simple chord progression and drum beat may be offset by oscillating electronic skronk and other random noises. Wailing guitar feedback accentuates vocals that call to mind a much more vicious and acidic version of Matt Bellamy from Muse. What seems like a grandiose piano-oriented track (“Retail Detail”) is transformed by a quick drumbeat and haunting vocals into a foreboding anthem in just over a minute. “Martyrs Have Nothing to Live For” sounds like the direction the Blood Brothers have been migrating towards over the years (that is, one away from simple, generic hardcore), and it exemplifies the band's willingness to let convention overtake the experimental every now and again. This is followed by the Liars-esque “You Own Your Own,” a scattered affair, to say the least.
The band doesn't seem content to dawdle in any one style for any amount of time. Because of this ADD-infused musicianship, the album comes off as messy hodgepodge of raucous sounds, and I could see this turning off a variety of listeners. However, there's much enjoyment to be had in Retail Detail, and I would recommend it confidently to anyone who has grown tired of the ordinary. Jacob - Jacob Price

"Punk Planet Review of "Retail Detail""

Blips evolve into bass line pulsations, synth fibrilations, and its alive: "Retail Detail" is off and running-sideways, with arms flailing. There's nothing "normal" about the way this record moves: deftly dreamed -up tempos speedily peek and valley and guitars come and go while samplers, keys, and moans scuffle in the background. There are bright moments where doubled-vocals harmonize like Thom Yorke at his most divine, but more often the fare is an experimental motley of semi-melodic noises and filtered voice. Untied States approach the pop song like a menacing demolition team, but do graciously leave some structure and enough continuity to shake a hip to. Songs become each other with such cacaphonous ease that the 32 minute album seems one original statement of racous joy, an album for chaos-hounds who think Sonic Youth have been writing too many songs lately.-KG - Punk Planet December 2006

"Tiny Mix Tapes Review of "Retail Detail""

Tiny Mix Tapes Review
By Paul Haney
Rating: 3.5/5
The word "experimental" is perhaps fast on its way to becoming the most abused musical descriptor since "edgy" or "hardcore." Face it, any schmo can slab on the term "experimental" to whatever approximation of "pop" or "rock" they feel like pulling off, even if the so-called avant nature of their proposed work is frustratingly lukewarm at best. Add a dude with a laptop to your band, and apparently your laminated license for the dubious world of "experimental" music is ready to be handed out to you post-haste.

With so many folks patting themselves on the back with such cred-padding labels, it's inevitable that certain bands who really are "experimental" within their idiom are going to get overlooked. And why? Because most musicians who really are worthy of this term are going to put more than a few onlookers, even those within the indie world, off. Untied States, for all their post-punk distinctions, are a group of lads (core duo Colin Arnstein and Skip Engelbrecht, plus bassist and drummer) who can wear "experimental" truthfully and proudly. Their derailed discordance verges on the maniacal, in a way possibly not seen since the criminally-underappreciated Fire Show (if you don't know them, seek them out now) turned the sagging post-punk movement's guts inside-out with glorious violence to inattentive spectators.

That's not to say that Untied States have worked all the kinks out of their mission just yet. For all the bits of synthetic dissonance that are emitting out of some very disturbed pedals and processors, there's still a somewhat unpleasant undercurrent of post-hardcore growing pains. Like The Paper Chase, Untied States similarly sometimes let their minor key freak-outs play off less like compellingly realized neurosis and more like an ex-emo kid having a self-imposed schizophrenic attack.

Still, of all the bands out there who are trying to make their name known for originality, Untied States are damn sure doing their hardest to push their sonic blundering to a peak of innovational eminence. "Can't Get Around It" is easily Retail Detail's peak of excitement, the drunk-jazz intro giving way to a bossa nova beat perhaps used at a wicked séance party. Likewise, Retail Detail's best moments are when the band ditch the guitar-splattered conniptions like "My Cause Is My Curse" and "Martyrs Have Nothing To Live For" for some outright feed-everything-to-the-id weirdness, such as the carnival-sludge nightmare of closer "It's Not Enough" or the stittery goth-funk of "It's Not Goodbye."

So while Untied States' effort Retail Detail may warrant only a 3.5 in the end, it's the very enthusiastic 3.5 that so few bands could possibly hope to receive. Untied States harbor such a giddy creative energy that some concoctions of theirs are bound to come out a bit half-baked or overbundled, but with every by-the-book gang of indie rockers (*cough*Tapes 'N' Tapes*cough*) using their high Pitchfork scores as some kind of proof of relevance without ever actually trying something unfounded, it is rather disheartening that some young miscreants as adventurous as Untied States will be left squalling and squirming on deaf ears. Too bad, because if Untied States can be encouraged, illuminating sonics are sure to follow.

- Tiny Mix Tapes

"Exclaim! Magazine review of "Retail Detail""

Exclaim! Magazine
By Liz Worth
July 06, 2006
Untied States make way for more noise than you’d think four people could be capable of. Sonic and textured, Retail Detail expands into enormously raucous soundscapes that weave noise, rock and samples. Untied States also escape into improvisation, integrating intense measures of unpredictability. There is also a strong sense of realness here, as this quartet’s belief in articulating their own self-portraits and personal experiences into their music come through. “It’s Not Goodbye” and “Immaculate” seem to collapse and shudder, breaking away in the vocal department while a wall of noise builds up all around. There is an element of the experimental here but the entire album remains accessible, so much so that it brings to mind Sonic Youth’s disharmonies, but in approach only. Untied States have created something far beyond the familiar and have strayed into a new place that only they have a key to. The ultimate impression is one of precariousness, as there are glimpses of delicate splendour and frailties that are always threatened by the potential of destruction that only seems a beat away.
- Exclaim! Magazine

"Bearcast Radio Review of Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

I REALLY wanted to like this band. Once I noticed their name wasn’t United States I automatically liked them a lot more. Plus the album is call “Instant Everything, Constant Nothing” which for some reason I find really insightful and cool. - Bearcast Radio

"In Your Speakers review of Instant Everything, Constant Nothing""

"Untied States’ third full-length studio release, Instant Everything, Constant Nothing is a complex masterpiece that warrants multiple listens. Indeed, to be fully appreciated, it needs multiple listens." - In Your Speakers

"OhmPark Top 10 of 2009 List Review"

"From the very beginning, Untied States had been in the business of making spectacular pop music by searching out inventive and novel ways to do so, and Instant Everything, Constant Nothing is the triumphant culmination of that scholarly quest. Get your ears on the current high water mark of one of the greatest bands Atlanta has ever known" - OhmPark.com


"Instant Everything, Constant Nothing"-2009
"Bye-Bye Bi-Polar/These Dead Birds"- single 2008
"Retail Detail"- LP 2006
"Ineffable, by Design"- LP 2004
"Bird of the Blood Feather"- EP 2003



Atlanta’s Untied States harness a whirlwind of sound that inhabits a world
slightly askew. Taking direction from a torn up and oddly reassembled guide
to songwriting, the group explores known terrain but takes wild paths to
reach unpredictable, yet ultimately rewarding destinations. With a barrage of
driving samples, interlaced melodic sheets of guitars, and just-enough
disciplined noise, it all moves swiftly from elegant to disorienting, in an
adventurous course that directs vocals that alternately veer between croon
and squall. At the heart of it all lays a fundamental search to be “untied”- to
say what hasn’t yet been said and the belief that there will always be new
ways to say it.
On Untied States’ forthcoming LP, Instant Everything, Constant Nothing,
core songwriters Colin Arnstein and Skip Engelbrecht have reined in some of
the eccentricities of their past albums only to spin out into brand new
territories. The album exhibits a new sonic clarity and focus, courtesy of new
member/engineer Darren Tablan, who brought the two out of the house and
into a large-scale studio, exposing them to a new palette of sounds while
providing a keen guidance to their onslaught of ideas. The contrast that once
existed between their driving songs and out-there soundscapes has been
replaced by a new fabric, where these very different sides of songwriting are
now interwoven and overlaid instead of seamed together at their ends. New
rhythm recruits- drummer Satchel Mallon (who appears on the record) and
bassist Philip Frobos help to bring all of it to live audiences and undoubtedly
to intriguing new places.