EMPIRE MACHINES are a four-piece indie band from Austin, Texas. Although originally formed in 2009 by High School buddies Matt Blackwell (vocals, guitar) and Trey McKinley (bass, backing vocals) the present line-up was not completed until last year when Clellan Hyatt (drums, backing vocals) joined, adding to the talents of James Boriack (guitar, keys) who had been enlisted the year prior.
Presently working on their second EP which should be ready in time for the summer, the band have been playing some ‘unofficial’ shows around their home city during the recent SXSW Festival … their first venture gig-wise along the famous 6th Street!
Ahead of the new EP, the following track, recorded at the tail end of last year, has been released. I’m not sure if this will make it onto that particular release as I’m led to believe that although they are really happy about the song itself, it doesn’t quite ‘fit,’ alongside the others that they are working on.
I’ll take that as a good sign!
‘Proper Ghost Man,’ would certainly compliment any collection of songs, I’d say. It definitely shows how the band has grown from their the release of their debut eponymous EP in 2011 (see below.) There is a real feel of ‘confidence’ in this track, a notion emphasised by the steady, metronomic stomping beat as it marches right across the track.
On the face of it, there may appear to be not too much going on here, but I reckon this is one of those tracks you need to actively listen to: to merely pass this song off as ‘indie rock,’ would not really give a true picture – I’m not so sure I’ve heard anyone blend ‘shoegaze’ and ‘psych,’ before, but that’s what I’m hearing at any rate. The vocals are rather nicely mono-toned, verging on the ‘disinterested,’ but are lightened by some subtle harmonies and the sparingly used whine of synths. The guitars shimmer in the backing, breaking out for little, light ‘indie-style,’ solos.
Like fellow Austin-ites (??) and current LOUD HORIZON favourites Black Books, EMPIRE MACHINES buck the indie music ‘norm,’ in that they are trying to have their music heard outwith the confines of their home city …. just as the rest of the world, it seems, is trying to have theirs heard inside!
If the forthcoming EP stands up to ‘Proper Ghost Man,’ then they may just get their wish sooner rather than later.
(Here’s the earlier, debut release … available as a free download.)