No one makes noise quite like Empath, the Philadelphia quartet whirl psychedelic guitar, found sounds, New Age drones and more. In concert, they sound as much like a cosmic jazz combo as a screamingly loud punk band. Empath’s songs are about melody and feedback, rage and bliss, chaos and transcendence. Then there’s the birdsong – tiny, bright samples of the natural world that chirp in and out of the mix like jokes with no punchlines.
Catherine Elicson, 24, who founded Empath with drummer Garrett Koloski, 27, and keyboardist Emily Shanahan, 26, after they met as roommates in a West Philly punk house in the fall of 2015. (Synthesizer wizard Randall Coon, 32, joined a little over a year later.)
All three came with stellar references. Koloski was nearing the end of his time as the thrashing heartbeat of Syracuse, New York firebrands Perfect Pussy; Elicson had just moved east from Ohio, where she sang in a couple of well-liked local acts, and she would later go on to play drums in Allison Crutchfield‘s band. Shanahan had been in the van with assorted touring crews as a merch-table star. The next step couldn’t have been more obvious.
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