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.
1. Data 2. Laugh Track 3. Meet the Plastics 4. The World is Flat 5. Sonata For Loudspeakers 6. NO TECH! 7. Side Effects of Being Tired 8. Lifetime Achievement Award 9. What Went Wrong 10. We Invent You 11. Look A Ghost 12. December 13. Treachery 14. Terminus 15. Demons Sing Love Songs 16. Off This Century 17. One Lick Less 18. Scarlette 19. October All Over 20. Summer Freeze 21. Radio Gra 22. Below The Salt 23. Who Cares 24. Mile Me Deaf 25. The Light at the End ofthe Tunnel is a Train 26. Solo Sonata 27. XLNT 28. Laszlo 29. Torch Song 30. Meet The Plastics (Demo) 31. The World Is Flat(Demo) 32. Empire (Demo)