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Old 09.05.2015, 01:07 PM   #1
Severian
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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.

---
Available now.

I won't lie, this is-- predictably-- the one I've been really waiting for. I thought it deserved a thread of its own.
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Old 09.05.2015, 03:29 PM   #2
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Leaves is so stunning. A swan song if ever there was one.
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Old 09.17.2015, 05:50 PM   #3
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I never understand where all the indifference towards Challenge comes from. It's an incredible record in its own right.
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Old 09.17.2015, 06:35 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jeremy
I never understand where all the indifference towards Challenge comes from. It's an incredible record in its own right.

Agreed completely. I think it's my favourite. I think so. Sometimes Leaves edges it out. But for me those two albums are way beyond their earlier stuff. As good as said earlier stuff is.
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Old 09.17.2015, 10:59 PM   #5
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Challenge is great, yeah
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Old 09.20.2015, 12:40 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by whorefrost
Agreed completely. I think it's my favourite. I think so. Sometimes Leaves edges it out. But for me those two albums are way beyond their earlier stuff. As good as said earlier stuff is.

I sometimes feel that way. I love Challenge. Huge turning point for the band. I just think it was overshadowed by Leaves. Also, not that many people give a fuck about Unwound, so that has to factor into things. I'm guessing a lot of Unwound fans are really just LTIY fans. That's just how things go.

Both albums represent the best music by one of the best bands of my lifetime. I've got nothing but love for Challenge for a Civilized Society. Great title too.
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Old 09.22.2015, 05:07 PM   #7
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I am very fucking pleased to have the physical copies of these sets, and I am sincerely grateful to Número Group for all the time and energy they've put into this project.
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Old 09.22.2015, 07:43 PM   #8
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For me Leaves then New Plastic.
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Old 09.23.2015, 12:08 AM   #9
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My favorite of the boxes sets was actually Kid is Gone. I know Empire and No Energy cover my favorite albums, but for some reason I really loved everything about Kid is Gone. The title, the RSD releases that accompanied that release, the compiled material from the band in their earliest phases, the cover, all splendid.

But I pretty much just totally fucking love Unwound.
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Old 09.23.2015, 03:42 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Severian
My favorite of the boxes sets was actually Kid is Gone. I know Empire and No Energy cover my favorite albums, but for some reason I really loved everything about Kid is Gone. The title, the RSD releases that accompanied that release, the compiled material from the band in their earliest phases, the cover, all splendid.

But I pretty much just totally fucking love Unwound.

Aye, spot on.
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Old 09.23.2015, 10:12 PM   #11
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One thing about Unwound, which shows why they're one of the best bands ever, is that every record "mastered" the style of the one before it and moved in a new direction for the next one. That seems so rare yet they pulled it off effortlessly.

Picking a favorite Unwound record is too hard because of this, but I lean heavily towards New Plastic Ideas.
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Old 09.24.2015, 12:37 AM   #12
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I agree completely. New Plastic Ideas is definitely great. Fake Train as well. They're all brilliant. One of the strongest discographies in my opinion. Perfectly spanning and bookending the '90s.
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Old 09.24.2015, 07:14 AM   #13
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yeah that's the thing... Leaves is my #1, Plastic my #2, and then there's like 3 or 4 albums that could easily be my #3... they were just such a brilliant band.
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Old 09.24.2015, 01:31 PM   #14
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IMO a way underrated band of the "90's Indie" heyday they definitely deserve a place up there to a lot of other bands that I would consider as their peers of the era (i.e. Pavement, Sebadoh, Polvo...etc etc.)

Empire is the fav for me of the boxsets probably since the last two albums to me are the strongest pair, though I might have to say that Repetition may edge out those two as my favorite by the band. and the Future of What as my least favorite overall.

My favorite guitar effect is echo/delay more so of Trosper's use of it (along w/ Lee of course) on Challenge. The reason why I've always wanted a Maestro Echoplex but never wanted to pay the $$$ for a vintage unit that comes w/ horrific maintenance.

I recently learned of Survival Kit (Trosper's current band) though its good it just doesn't have that magic like Unwound.
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Old 10.20.2015, 02:51 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scott v

I recently learned of Survival Kit (Trosper's current band) though its good it just doesn't have that magic like Unwound.

You mean Survival Knife?

Keep listening. They're not meant to be an Unwound-style band, and are more rooted in straightforward post-hardcore. I know it takes a little getting used to, but once you hear the sound they're going for and realize that there's something "new" there, it's pretty rewarding. And man, they pack a fucking punch.

And remember, it's not just Justin Trosper. Brandt Sandeno is also in Survival Knife. Two founding Unwound members. Fucking awesome.

Loose Power was one of my top picks of 2014, and their new EP, Survivalized, ain't nothing to fuck with either. I'm not saying they're reinventing the wheel, but they're solid. Kind of in the tradition of Chelsea Light Moving and Viet Cong. Arty post-punk noise rock legends trimming back some of the "art" and "post" and just kicking out jams.
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