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Melody 101: Young Empires at the 7th Street on February 4, 2013

6 Feb

by: Robert Frost III

In spite of a lack of enthusiasm from the audience on Monday night at the 7th Street Entry, Young Empires rocked the stage. Accompanied by local favorites Hunting Club, and upcoming New Orleans band Royal Teeth, the night was filled with pop-heavy synth rock. It became a night to remember for those that showed, but few appeared due to the unpredictable Minnesota weather – and perhaps First Ave‘s mainroom act, Yo La Tengo.

In 2009, after a Craigslist ad seeking like-minded musicians, Young Empires quickly became a well-liked band in their hometown of Toronto, Canada. After some successful press in 2010 (thanks The Hype Machine), the band did some heavy international touring, escalating quickly to shows with more established acts such as Jamiroquai, Foster The People, Chromeo, Vampire Weekend, and Sleigh Bells. Between tours, they added Taylor Hill on drums, and self-produced and recorded their debut EP. After more great press from Nylon, NME, and MTV Networks, the band was on an upward spiral. To continue their success, they’re on board to sign with Votiv/Atlantic Records to re-release Wake All My Youth and develop a full-length record.

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At first glance, Young Empires seems to be just another indie rock band with a synth hooked up to a laptop. It wasn’t until the band began fill the air with intense low end that I knew I was in for a great show. Before heading to the Entry I checked out their music video for “White Doves” and was impressed, but I had no idea that they would display so much power live. I was also blown away by the heavy use of African-style rhythms in the sung melodies.

If you like even one song from Cut Copy or Friendly Fires, you’ll love Young Empires catalogue. Thought they have similarities to these bands, they throw the genre a curve ball with their heavy use of dense bass and simplistic songwriting held together by a strong and highly rhythmic melody. Melody hooks rang in my head the whole ride home.

It’s really too bad that more people didn’t come see this band because it was a rare opportunity to get an intimate experience with before it becomes hard to get tickets to see them. Lucky for us Minneapolitans, it seems they’ll be coming back later this year to support the re-release of their debut EP.

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