The Unswept are a trio of cousins – Charlie, Liz, and Ryan O’Brien (their fathers are brothers). Charlie and Ryan grew up in adjacent apartments in a public housing project in Sheffield, England. Cousin Liz lived on the next floor.
All of the O’Briens played in various bands, separately and together. One of their projects, The Council Walls, recorded a single that just managed to scrape the bottom of a local newspaper’s charts.
Seizing the momentum from such overwhelming acclaim, they each saved up several weeks’ wages from their day jobs (barista, file clerk, telemarketer) and put down a hefty sum to book studio time to record a 4-song EP.
Upon arriving at the studio for their session, the door was locked, the windows were papered over and the phone was disconnected. “This can’t be a good sign,” they thought. Their instincts proved to be correct as the studio owner had fled the country to allegedly avoid a major lawsuit and potential prosecution regarding the taking deposits and fleeing of countries.
Flat broke and about to be kicked out of their flat, the O’Briens luckily stumbled upon an opportunity (tripping over a local advert paper on the sidewalk) and got gigs doing tech and merch and rider enforcement for a popular touring band.
The tour was going smashingly (many guitars splintered to bits) as it rolled into Chicago to play a sold-out theater. Following a night of what was colloquially known as “partying,” the O’Briens were sent out for donuts the next morning, and got lost looking for the shop. They returned to the venue just in time to see the bus heading away.
Having left their phones and possessions on the bus, and not having been told the next stop of the tour, they decided to pool their meager resources and rent a small but tiny flat in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood.
They began writing songs and had enough tunes to book some local gigs. Needing a band name in a hurry to give to the host of the open mic night, they looked at the floor of their tiny flat and came up with “The Unswept.”
Since then: dozens of local shows, two independently-released EPs, positive reviews, an appearance at International Pop Overthrow, local press write-ups, a record contract signed, two full-length LPs, rave reviews, more appearances at International Pop Overthrow, a record contract voided, more shows, another independently-released EP, overseas radio airplay, more shows, another record deal, a triumphant return to IPO, becoming slightly more popular, and recording & releasing their latest full-length LP, “Minor Blemishes.”
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