Unwound: Empire (New 4LP Box Set)Unwound
Label: Numero Group
The climactic entry in our four-set Unwound exploration, Empire compiles the final pair of albums by the Olympia, Washington, trio. On 1998's Challenge For A Civilized Society, the band toyed with conventional verse/chorus form, stacking layers of noise and distraction on top of tightly constructed melodies. They'd abdicate entirely just three years later with 2001's Leaves Turn Inside You, executing a 14-song masterclass in home recording that observed a crucial band in graceful transition from post-hardcore trio to experimental quintet. The mammoth double album was lost in the chaos of a post-9/11 media, baffling onlookers and exhilirating fans in successive breaths before it fell far out of print. At their reinvention and terminus, Unwound ultimately asked “Who Cares”? The Empire box-set teems with period singles, B-sides, unreleased studio tracks, and demos, alongside a 15,000-word essay exploring the terminal stages of the '90s, indie rock, Unwound, and civilization as we know it.