Premiere: Empty Country Shares New Single “Dustine” | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Premiere: Empty Country Shares New Single “Dustine”

New LP Empty Country II Due Out November 3rd via Get Better Records (US) / Tough Love Records (UK)

Oct 03, 2023
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Empty Country一the latest project from Cymbals Eat Guitars frontman Joseph D’Agostino一debuted in 2020 with their self-titled record, marking D’Agostino’s first forays into the band’s yearning heartland rock and layered character portraits. Since then, he returned this year with a handful of new singles, “Pearl,” “Erkling,” and “David,” all teasing the band’s new album, Empty Country II.

Fittingly, the band’s sophomore record builds upon the foundation of its predecessor, finding D’Agostino grappling with the imagery of America’s cultural decay. The album’s stories are populated with gun violence, addiction, killers, misfits, and outcasts, exploring the desperation that runs beneath suburban life, yet sifting through it for moments of beauty. Today, he’s back with the album’s fourth and final single, “Dustine,” premiering with Under the Radar.

“Dustine” is another winding sonic sprawl, colored by a pulsing bassline and gauzy guitars. The track begins as a vividly imagined road trip through the decaying suburbs of Virginia, dotted with opiate clinics, dead malls, and existential meditations (“My sister says there is a next life / No one I know will be there”). Interspersed with this imagery, D’Agostino layers in passages of gnarled guitar textures and a gentle piano-led interlude before truly letting loose in the track’s final leg, turning the track into a labyrinthine haze of effects.

Check out the song below. Empty Country II is out November 3rd via Get Better Records in the US and Tough Love Records in the UK. You can also read D’Agostino’s brief Q&A on the track below.

“Dustine” is one of the most intense and expansive songs on the new album, what led to you choosing it as the final single?

It seemed to resonate with people whose opinions i trust. I’m generally pretty bad at choosing singles so i figured it would be best to go with consensus. Plus that made the singles go in order with the track listing, 1, 2, 3, 4, which I thought was neat!

The track fully embraces the loud-quiet-loud philosophy. Did the song originate with that structure in mind?

The song started as a simple looping guitar figure. I had just gotten a bitcrusher pedal (a cool digital-sounding distortion) and I wanted to feature it in some way. That’s pretty much it!

“Dustine” is one of many songs on Empty Country II titled with a human name. Was that a thread you were cognisant of when creating the album?

It was one of the first songs I wrote for the album, so that theme hadn’t really been established yet. I just thought Dustine was kind of a fun and funny name, so I went with it. In recent years I’ve been very into trusting impulses when it comes to lyrics. Turns out it’s much easier than laboring over something for months!


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