The Unicorns was a rock band from Montreal, Canada formed in December 2000 by Nicholas Thorburn (Nick Diamonds) and Alden Penner (Alden Ginger), who were later joined by Jamie Thompson (J'aime Tambeur) in December 2003.
The Unicorns formed in Campbell River, British Columbia in December 2000 by Nicholas Thorburn (stage name Nick "Neil" Diamonds, as well as a host of other aliases) and Alden Penner (stage name, Alden Ginger; Elvis Presley's fiancée when he died was Ginger Alden). They were later joined by drummer Jamie Thompson (stage name J'aime Tambeur).
The band self-released their debut album Unicorns Are People Too in March 2003 through their own record label Caterpillars of the Community, with a limited press run of 500 copies.
In October of the same year they went back into the studio, recording several new songs as well as reworking a number of songs from their debut. The resulting second album, Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone?, recorded by Mark Lawson in Montreal, was released in November 2003 on the label Alien8 Recordings.
The album received glowing reviews from The Village Voice, NME, online magazine Pitchfork Media and numerous other publications around the world, and it quickly earned the band a fanatical following on the indie-rock circuit. The band toured constantly for thirteen months following its release, initially supporting fellow Canadian band Hot Hot Heat across North America before proceeding to play to sold-out crowds in Australia, Europe and the UK, as well as touring several more times across the U.S. and Canada.
In November 2004, a split 7" between the Unicorns and noise artists, Man Is The Bastard, for release on Kitty Play Records was announced by the band's website and Pitchfork media but it was never finished.
The band's hectic touring schedule took its toll, however, and by the time of their Australian tour in December 2004 they were showing signs of exhaustion, playing reportedly lukewarm shows and verbally clashing with audience members. On December 28, 2004, a short message appeared on the Unicorns' website reading "THE UNICORNS ARE DEAD, (R.I.P.)", leading fans to speculate as to whether they had broken up. At The Unicorns last show, on December 21, 2004 in Houston, TX, Nicholas Thorburn looked over at Alden Penner and said something along the lines of, "I quit, I can't do this anymore" and walked off stage.
In early February 2005 Pitchfork Media reported that The Unicorns had split. Also the website issued a press statement on the band's behalf confirming the claims of break-up.
Thorburn and Thompson continued to collaborate as Th' Corn Gangg (a pop/hip-hop project) and Islands (an indie rock project). On May 28, 2006, Thompson announced his departure from Islands. He returned to the band in June 2009, but left again a year later.
Penner released a 7" on the Melbourne-based Art School Dropout label. The A-side, The Ghost of Creaky Crater, was recorded in Melbourne on December 19, 2004 while The Unicorns were touring the country. The release was limited to a hundred copies. Penner performed under the name Dub Intefadah and scored the soundtrack for the indepdendent film The Hamster Cage. He then formed a band called Clues with Brendan Reed (formerly of Arcade Fire and Les Angles Morts), and Bethany Or of Shanghai Triad. They made their debut at Pop Montreal in October 2007.
In February 2014, Pitchfork reportedthat the band was working on new material and Alden Penner was quoted as saying, "We're definitely talking about playing together and seeing what happens. And we'll probably do some shows in the major cities we've played in–probably Toronto, Montreal, New York, L.A., Vancouver—that sort of thing."
- Nicholas Thorburn – stage name "Nick 'Neil' Diamonds"
- Alden Penner – stage name "Alden Ginger"
- Jamie Thompson – stage name "J'aime Tambeur"
- Three Inches of Blood (2002)
- Unicorns Are People Too (2003)
- Who Will Cut Our Hair When We're Gone? (2003)
- The Unicorns: 2014 - 7" single (purple vinyl) w/B-side: "Emasculate the Masculine" (March 23, 2004); limited to 2,000 copies
- The Unicorns: 2014 (2004)
- Jellybeans - CD-R promo single (2004); UK release only
- "Haunted House"
- "Abominable Snowman"
- "Livin' in the Country"
- "The Adventures of Bayou Billy"
- "Hanz (Suicide Is a Shame)"
- "I Do It (For Your Love)"
- "Bad Mind"
- "Ruff Gem"
- "Are We Expanding"
- Th' Corn Gangg
- Human Highway
- Official sites
- — fansite which became official after the break-up
- Related Projects
- — Nick Thorburn and Daddy Kev.
- — Jamie Thompson's mashup/hip-hop project.
- — Nick Thorburn and Jim Guthrie.
- Interviews & Articles