As noted in the press materials for his new album, the concept of a Great American Rock Record may feel outdated in 2023, but that’s sure as hell not stopping Joseph D’Agustino. You might know him from Cymbals Eat Guitars. You should know him as Empty Country. Rescued from label hell in early 2020 as he moved to New England, just before plans for his self-titled debut really hit the skids (you don’t need us to tell you why), it sure wasn’t easy getting that album out, but D’Agustino struck gold on a record that both picked up where CEG left off and blazed a brilliant new trail of its own.
Its self-titled successor ups the stakes significantly, doubling down on everything that made EC1 so good – including the hell-for-leather desperation evident in the character studies D’Agustino has refined since his beginnings as an autobiographical lyricist. ‘Dustine’ is an absolute behemoth, full of lines that stop you in your tracks (“My sister says there’s an afterlife / No-one I know will be there”) and blown-out melodies that serve as immediate hooks as the song stretches past the six-minute mark.
London folk: D’Agustino plays Oslo Tuesday November 21st, a few weeks after the album’s out. It’s not even a 400-cap venue – you’ve been warned. Empty Country II arrives via Tough Love Records/Get Better Records on Friday November 3rd, and we’re premiering ‘Dustine’ below.