Maria Mar’s Local Radar: Empire Escorts

Locals, we meet yet again to bring some awesome Jersey music to the drawing board. Week to week, I try to blow your minds with some bands, solo acts, and music that have become trending on one scale or another. I got a ton of positive feedback on our bands from last week, so I’m glad you are digging them! This week, I am going to chat about a group that I’ve become very familiar with, as I’ve spotlighted them and some of their members individually in the past. I am talking about an act that is very well perceived and respected in the local music scene. They are playing show after show, putting out new music, recording killer music videos, and improving their sound.

Brick Township should be proud to call Empire Escorts residents. The first time I heard Empire, I was utterly blown away. Their distinct sound is overwhelming and stimulating, and the depth and meaning in each song is compelling. It seems like just yesterday I met them at a Rat band competition, and they hadn’t been together for too long. Shortly thereafter they played The Rat’s show with Seether at the Starland Ballroom to a sold out, tough crowd, who found themselves throwing horns in the air and buzzing about the opening act. It was that night that I knew I would have a long-lasting relationship with this band, and I was more than right. Well, now they are veterans, not in age, but in sound, style, and performance.

Tim, Tuck, Joe, and Cameron are a four-piece powerhouse. They recently released a new track called “Without A Voice” that is my favorite song in their discography. Empire premiered it on their social media pages, and I spun it on my radio show. It got such good feedback from old, current, and even some new fans. I even had some avid Rat rock listeners tell me they loved the band, which is always refreshing to hear. Have you ever found yourself starving for some old-fashioned good music that sort of painted record shelves before everything sounded identical? Well folks, it’s time to consider that treasure found. It’s amazing to hear how much their sound has matured with tighter vocals and all-around harder rock than before. If this makes any sense at all, it’s a completely original yet comfortable Empire in the best way possible. They are enhancing their sound and maturity while sticking to their grassroots. The lyrics are very powerful; I am not sure which one of them wrote the song, nor does it matter, but “it’s hard to live without a voice” is a message that almost anyone can relate to. Overall, it’s everything that defines good rock and roll. You may ask yourself, “What exactly makes good rock?” Is it the message or the vocal range? Is it the screaming and the instruments? Or does it not matter so long as it sounds great and you want to get up and dance? Well, in my opinion, it’s a strong combination of all these traits. When it comes to “Without A Voice,” the first few things that define it are the words and the music; I could love a melody, but if it’s ruined by the wrong content and lyrical messages, it will, at least in my opinion, completely lessen the appeal of the track.

Empire Escorts were recently added to the Jersey Shore Music Festival along with tons of other tour dates, and summer is starting to gear up strong for these guys. They have been expanding their fanbase by playing shows outside of NJ, which may suck for people like you and I, but from a musician’s standpoint, it’s the best thing they can do. Getting your music heard in the ears of the unknown is the ultimate goal as a band, whether they’ll admit it or not. But don’t fret my pets, as they never forget where they came from, always playing hometown shows and lighting up places like Asbury Park anytime they have the chance. They have a few new tracks to share with the world, and you are going to fall in love with them all over again. If you are unfamiliar with their sound, I highly suggest you listen to all of their stuff in order to feel the growth in progression. It’s safe and exciting to say we have some current and new music that has that old-fashioned, natural, raw rock feel. Their crispy chords, strident guitar riffs, Cameron’s drums and the out-front vocals combine various ingredients that made their predecessors insanely huge. Even better, they are so fun watch, as Empire are insanely gnarly live. While old-school rockers are seeking the next Black Sabbath or Led Zeppelin and avid music lovers are trying to find an authentic and dense rock ensemble in these harsh times, you all should give them a shot. I think it would be truly impossible to write a bad review on this band, no matter if you were fan of the genre or not. There is something about the attitudes, edginess, and talent of these four dudes that makes me want to make a bold career move and join the band. But, for their sake, let’s not let that happen.

So if I haven’t convinced you yet to check out Empire Escorts and their new song, “Without A Voice,” attend one of their shows and see for yourself. I promise this song will be stuck in your head in the best way possible. They are very active on social media, so you’ll always be able to find updates for an opportunity to shred your faces off. To all of the people reading this, from one music lover to another, I wouldn’t steer you wrong on this one; just wait until you hear their other new tracks, which may warrant another article. While you’re at it, be sure to check out their music video for “The Weather,” which will allow you to see how creative their craft is, for it’s a good one! In fact, it’s better than many music videos I see on television today, but that’s a whole other topic of conversation. Anyway, Empire Escorts are a band that is here to stay; hopefully they don’t forget about us little people when they are selling out arenas and having number one smashes on active rock radio. Hey, it could happen! Pick up the new single, buy a pair of tickets, and from here on out, let the good times rock and roll just like a rebel locomotive about to pull off the tracks! Until next week, my friends, when I bring another band to your attention for discussion, keep supporting local music. Get out to a show, pick up a CD, vote on a competition, and do your part to keep Jersey music strong!