11 Songs, 38 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Chicago’s Empires have transformed into a polished, arena-ready group without losing the energy of their earlier garage rock days. For their third album, the group went to Texas to work under the auspices of producer John Congleton (St. Vincent), who's taken their songs and blown them up for the big screen. Think vintage U2, Arcade Fire, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, Florence + The Machine. But singer Sean Van Vleet brings his own vocal character to these grand anthems. “Silverfire” sets the tone with ambient chatter (see Pink Floyd) melting into a serious vocal (Bryan Ferry as imagined by Ryan Adams) that leads into a dramatic, tension-filled, velvety hard rock sound (see Afghan Whigs). It’s followed up with the title track, the emotional ballad gone midtempo rocker “Shadowfaux,” and the leaner, bass-driven “Honeyblood.” The moon shines down on these nocturnal epiphanies. “How Good Does It Feel” sounds like the perfection of their dreams.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Chicago’s Empires have transformed into a polished, arena-ready group without losing the energy of their earlier garage rock days. For their third album, the group went to Texas to work under the auspices of producer John Congleton (St. Vincent), who's taken their songs and blown them up for the big screen. Think vintage U2, Arcade Fire, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cure, Florence + The Machine. But singer Sean Van Vleet brings his own vocal character to these grand anthems. “Silverfire” sets the tone with ambient chatter (see Pink Floyd) melting into a serious vocal (Bryan Ferry as imagined by Ryan Adams) that leads into a dramatic, tension-filled, velvety hard rock sound (see Afghan Whigs). It’s followed up with the title track, the emotional ballad gone midtempo rocker “Shadowfaux,” and the leaner, bass-driven “Honeyblood.” The moon shines down on these nocturnal epiphanies. “How Good Does It Feel” sounds like the perfection of their dreams.

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About Empires

Chicago indie rock group Empires began in 2007 when guitarist Tom Conrad, formerly of pop-punk act the Academy Is..., approached singer/songwriter Sean Van Vleet about writing music together. Over the coming year, they added guitarist Max Steger and drummer Mike Robinson into the fold and recorded their debut album, Howl, which they offered as a free download on their website in 2008. Their self-produced mix of punchy garage tones and soaring, tuneful songcraft quickly won them a following and they continued their D.I.Y. approach by releasing their next EP, Bang, as a series of monthly digital singles leading up to a physical release in early 2010. In 2011, Empires entered an unsigned artists contest held by Rolling Stone whose prizes included a magazine cover shot and a major-label contract. The group advanced to the final four acts, but was eventually knocked out. During this time, they completed their second album, Garage Hymns, which was released independently that same year. Sensing it was time for a change, the bandmembers shifted gears both in their songwriting and overall sound, heading down to Texas to work with veteran producer John Congleton on their third album. Taking cues from late-'80s alt-rock like My Bloody Valentine and Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds, they recorded the sleek, noir-ish Orphan, then signed a deal with Island imprint Chop Shop, which released the album in September 2014. ~ Timothy Monger

ORIGIN
Chicago, IL
FORMED
2007

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