Newfoundland Music Spotlight #3 — East of Empire


One thing that is going to drive me crazy about this Road to CMW event is that my favourites won’t necessarily win, let alone even make the final. The way the whole thing works, I only have so much sway in terms of voting. I suppose that is the exciting part of it all, but when I hear a band like East of Empire it bums me out a bit because I love their sound.

I am what I am, and at my core I am a guy who loves a classic indie-pop/indie-rock sound. When reading East of Empire’s bio and hearing they’ve opened for Hey Rosetta, Yukon Blonde, and Plants & Animals, I wasn’t surprised because they have a sound that goes very well with acts like that.

Listening to their most recent release–a three-song EP entitled The Winter EP–I can’t help but wonder just how far this sound could carry East of Empire. Opening track “Charlie’s Song” is a slow and beautiful builder that is somehow inspiring and eerie simultaneously. I suppose that may be why they have tagged the music with “neo-folk pop” on their Bandcamp.

Vocally, I find that East of Empire has a sound that strongly reminds me of what is great about the Montreal indie scene–and in particular, my bud Matthew Hills and his band Give Me Something Beautiful. At first listen, the surprising dancy guitar riff that is called back to a few times on “Maybe Then, Maybe Not” almost feels like it shouldn’t work, but on my fourth or fifth listen I find myself waiting for it to come back.

But this band’s real strength is in the songwriting and arranging, because I just keep coming back to their Bandcamp, listening to their newest EP front to back, and really losing myself in the emotions of it all.

For fans of: Rock Plaza CentralBoatsRural Alberta Advantage, and Give Me Something Beautiful (okay, you don’t know them, but you should check them out).

Check out East of Empire on the internet at Bandcamp and on Facebook. East of Empire will be playing the Road to CMW event at CBTG’s on March 6th, and might be playing a TWM showcase in January!

Stay tuned to for more spotlights on Newfoundland acts, and remember that Road to CMW is going to have a satellite site set up to vote for the acts you are most interested to see us bring to Toronto for Canadian Music Week.


Dan Wolovick


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