Review: Empress' Industrial Post-Punk Record 'Ink' Is Buzzy DIY

By: Jesse Sandoval

As the semester comes to a close, a buzz is in the air. Most of us, I imagine, are bristling with the months-long amount of pent up energy that wintertime often leaves us with. We’re biding our time, tending to the last of our stifling inside-duties ‘til that special time of release: summertime, summertime, summertime! And what better music to accommodate these feelings than Empress' most recent release, Ink?

Listen to Ink:

Ink is fun. It’s catchy, it's melodic, it’s earnest, it's punk. Over the span of four years, Empress have been honing their own style of industrial/post-punk and with this release, the Denver-based band has proven they have come into their own. Their DIY approach has led them to a state of self-sufficiency that I am sure many bands pine for. Members Santiago (vocals/percussion), Xavier (bass/rhythm guitar), and Alex (lead guitar/bass) all live together and record everything in their house. This allows them to record at any moment of inspiration and, from what I’m told, them doing just this is not uncommon. Several of the tracks on Ink are likely products of some band member’s sleep being interrupted in order to capture a moment’s inspiration before it’s lost in deep dreams…

Empress.

Empress.

The music on Ink is completely enjoyable because of how straight-cut and organic it is. Empress don’t try to be anything they’re not, and don’t try to affect any sound that isn’t true: they do what they do and that’s it. Their music is strong because of it’s simplicity, and ultimately, it works because it accurately conveys some of the most basic feelings we all share: feelings of longing, of unrequited love, of disconnectedness, of humanity.

As Empress have developed their musical abilities, they’ve also taught themselves to mix their own music (I’m a sucker for DIY) and the progress they’ve made in their last four years is very impressive. In the time since they cut Ink, they have actually been working on some new tracks and were kind enough to share some of those with me too. It’s clear that they are expanding and breaking their own molds, and I can see that there will be more to look forward to from Empress. Unfortunately, we will not be able to witness their long-term growth first-hand because come May, they will be moving to LA to shake up what they can there.

Good news is, on Saturday, May 6th they will be playing a show to celebrate their departure at Seventh Circle Music CollectiveThe Beeves, Meeting House, and others will share the stage. So go give Empress a warm Colorado farewell, and keep up with up with the trio after their move here.

RIYL: Joy Division, New Order, Wipers, The Cure, NIN

-Jesse

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.

The Weekend Six: Six Shows to See 07/30 & 07/31

By: Hannah Oreskovich

It’s that time of week again Boulder, aka the best time: the weekend. And here are the six shows you should see the next two nights:

Today (Friday 07/30):

Dear Landlord at Pearl Street Pub and Cellar 5PM-9PM

It’s been a minute since we’ve seen a good punk show around these parts. But luckily, Denver-based band Dear Landlord is gracing the Boulder scene tonight. Headbanging is a must and we might try to start a mosh pit. Not sure if The Pub knows what they’re in for…

Oh how I've missed your veins punk rock.

Oh how I've missed your veins punk rock.

Chris Kroger and Friends at Under the Sun 830PM-Close

Jazz and a good beer sounds nice right about now (too early, I know). But that’s what Under the Sun is gonna give you tonight with Denver musician Chris Kroger and Friends. So drop on in for a cold one and some piano pieces.

The Johnny O Trio at License No. 1 9PM-Close

The Johnny O Band has been playing shows throughout Colorado for 17 years. Hear a few of their members jam the blues for you over a nice No. 1 Old Fashioned. This show sounds like an especially good fit for you if you’re looking to reminisce on your love life over bourbon and blues.

Tomorrow (Saturday 07/31):

Steepland String Band at The Lazy Dog Sports Bar and Grill 8PM-Close

If there’s one thing Boulder loves, it’s a string band. The SSB have a rock and bluegrass sound, which you can check out on their EP Little PayThe Lazy Dog has a decent stage setup, so roll down to dance with these guys tomorrow!

Really hoping this pistachio-ness is repeated tomorrow.

Really hoping this pistachio-ness is repeated tomorrow.

Pistachio at The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse 8-9PM

Though Pistachio aren’t a local act, their funky dance rock beats will bring some grooviness to the LG tomorrow night. They’re Oakland bred, and are currently on tour, so prepare for an energetic show. They just released a new music video, so check out their intergalactic style here.

El Javi at The Laughing Goat Coffeehouse 9PM-Close

El Javi is a latin-flamenco fusion outfit originally from L.A. But in recent months, El Javi has been hanging around Boulder and playing a number of local venues. Javier Gutierrez is the gypsy force behind the project, but sometimes he has other musicians on stage with him. He’s got a flair that is fascinating to watch. Check out his show!

So there it is Boulder! You weekend six! Hope to see you out. 

-Hannah

Follow Hannah on Instagram and Twitter.

All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.