Philadelphia noise-punk four-piece Empath have released their first new material in two years in the form of “Born 100 Times,” out now alongside a music video. It’s the band’s first original music since the 2019 release of their acclaimed debut album Active Listening: Night on Earth, and their signing to Fat Possum Records soon after.
True to form, the band’s new track runs the gamut of rock sounds—the dart of a descriptor I’ll throw at it is “psych-punk,” between its woozy guitar riffs, hyperactive bass line and double-time drums. Catherine Elicson’s lyrics, delivered with live-wire energy, question the worth of suffering—”You learned at an early age to celebrate your heart ache,” she begins, asking in the choruses, “Is this the power you thought you had?” It’s a challenging question, embedded in brain-rattling rock: Is it more difficult to suffer in silence, or to advocate for yourself?
“‘Born 100 Times’ is structurally very simple, consisting of a couple of hooks and a verse sung overtop of two repeated chords. I imagined a restructured pop song, having it start instantly with the hook and then eventually reaching a verse,” Elicson explains in a statement. “While the lyrics are a somewhat spiritual reflection on devotion and power in one’s life, an isolating and very internal experience, the video offers a different viewpoint.
“The video began as an idea Randall [Coon] had of us showing up with cameras at the New York State fair. There’s something beautiful and nostalgic about a fair we wanted to try and capture,” Elicson continues. “Two friends, Halle Ballard and Johnny Costa, filmed us having real, uninhibited fun running around, eating fried food, absolutely dominating the carnival games, drinking countless wine slushies, getting spun around on rides, and just enjoying being together.
“It was a much-needed night of leisure at the end of a long summer spent preparing for the next phase of Empath. The video is a document of this special moment in time for us. United together, we left behind the isolating, internal struggles of our lives and connected to the real world outside of ourselves.”
Paste tapped Empath—comprising Elicson, Garrett Koloski, Emily “Jem” Shanahan and Coon—as one of 2019’s best new acts, with Active Listening: Night on Earth ranking among our favorite punk records of the year. The band is currently touring North America, including shows with Modest Mouse, Future Islands and Fucked Up.
Watch the “Born 100 Times” below and find Empath’s tour dates further down.
Empath Tour Dates:
30 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom ^
01 – Austin TX @ Stubb’s (ACL Nights) *
04 – Nashville, TN @ Ascend Amphitheater ^
05 – Cincinnati, OH @ ICON ^
07 – Irving, TX @ Toyota Music Factory ^
08 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Lawn ^
11 – Huntsville, AL @ Mars Music Hall *
12 – New Orleans, LA @ Fillmore New Orleans *
14 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live *
15 – Miami Beach, FL @ Fillmore Miami Beach *
16 – St Petersburg, FL @ Jannus Live * | SOLD OUT
17 – St Augustine, FL @ St Augustine Amphitheater *
19 – Richmond, VA @ The National * | SOLD OUT
21 – Raleigh, NC @ Red Hat Amphitheater *
22 – Asheville, NC @ Rabbit Rabbit * | SOLD OUT
19 – Ottawa, CA @ Club SAW ~
20 – Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz ~
21 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair ~
22 – New York, NY @ Brooklyn Made ~
23 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts ~
24 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage ~
25 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Smalls ~
26 – Columbus, OH @ Ace of Cups ~
28 – Detroit, MI @ Shelter ~
(* w/ Modest Mouse)
(^ w/ Modest Mouse & Future Islands)
(~ w/ Fucked Up)