Upon returning home for the Summer after my Freshman year of College I remember getting into a pissing contest with an old high school friend of mine who went out west for school. It was a silly “Oh I bet you’ve never heard of this band” type of childish and pretentious taunting that was mostly in good fun as we caught each other up on a years worth of music that we’d each discovered since entering college.
One of the bands tossed my way was Long Hind Legs who I made a point of tracking down soon after because a) I really liked their name and b) she was wearing a homemade T-shirt for the band while we engaged in our game of “cooler than thou.”
This was also a period of my life where I was fanatically trying to discover as much 70s and 80s Post-Punk and New Romantic as my budget and resources could allow. Long Hind Legs perfectly played itself right into that… while rougher around the edges, their maudlin yet poppy tunes were the perfect throwback I was looking for.Plus it wasn’t ever just straight aping, Long Hind Legs kept a distinct “sound” of 90s era indie rock while engaging in their brand of revivalism. Listening back to their work now, along with obvious nods to Joy Division, Bowie/Eno and The Associates, I’m also hearing things like Guided by Voices (“Painfully Obvious” sounds like a lost Robert Pollard recording), Neutral Milk Hotel and even some Thom Yorke moments in some of their songs.
It wasn’t until the band’s final release, the oddly titled Feb. 4th-14th, 1998 EP, that I realized that Long Hind Legs was actually a side project of Vern Rumsey, the pummeling bassist of Post-Hardcore gods Unwound. Their first album credited all tracks to Wolfgang and Paul and it wasn’t until the follow-up EP that Rumsey’s name and image graced the liner notes and art. Rumsey was joined by friend and singer Greg Allen, who I still don’t really know too much if anything about. I actually never did much digging into the back story of the band at the time of release, I was content in merely just enjoying the album. But as a pretty huge Unwound fan, discovering that this obscure gem that I had been treating myself on for about a year was actually the brainchild of Rumsey just made it all the more sweeter.
Like other late 90′s Pacific north-west band, Satisfact, Long Hind Legs goth tinged post-punk revivalism was a bit ahead of it’s time and sadly I don’t think very many people (Unwound fans included) ever really discovered or got into the band while they were active. But some 13 years after the fact as we surf a new wave of grave, Long Hind Legs not only sound just as good, but are pretty fresh and relevant. If you’ve at all been into some of the newer Goth bands we’ve been pushing on You Should be Listening to…, Reviews and just general Bloglin posts I would really give both of these releases a listen. You’ll really, really enjoy them. Pinkie swear.