Empath is a noisy band from Philly. They have elements of hardcore punk, experimental noise, pop-punk, and even some flavor of shoegaze. It’s really quite hard to pin down their sound, but there’s lots of energy, lots of distortion, low production values, and the drums a little too big in the mix. I could make a long laundry list of bands that I’m reminded of, bands which are more different than they are alike. That disparate list would include The Wedding Present’s early stuff, Bleeding Rainbow, and a bunch of mid-90s Olympia queercore stuff like Team Dresch. It’s more fun, though, to say that though the band only formed a couple of years ago, the members of Empath have collaborated with the well-known likes of Katie Crutchfield (out of Waxahatchee), All Dogs, and Perfect Pussy.
I had never heard of Empath until I started to do a little bit of final research for my upcoming weekend at the ninth annual Hopscotch Music Festival. I think they may have been a late addition to the lineup or a substitution for one of the bands who had to drop out. They weren’t on my initial radar, but I clicked through their song today, and immediately put them on my short list.
What this lacks in technical proficiency, it definitely makes up for in fun. This song accomplishes much more in 94 seconds than most songs do in four minutes.
“Carpet” by Empath
Even in the span of only a minute and a half, this song manages to pull off the loud/quiet/loud thing quite well. Granted, the “quiet” part is only a few seconds, but it’s definitely there. And even though the drums are a bit too big in the mix, I love what they’re doing with that. They’re relentless and furious and a little chaotic, but they’re sort of magnificent.
You can buy the Liberating Guilt and Fear EP from the Get Better Records bandcamp page here.
Hopscotch is this coming weekend, and Empath will be playing on Friday, which is the middle night of the festival. They have the 10:00 slot over at King’s, which should be starting up just as Grizzly Bear is winding down on the City Plaza main stage. I’ve got a lot on my plate all three nights, but I’ll figure a way to see most of the short list.