Pittsburgh’s own post-punk four-piece Empty Beings is an oddity in sound—consisting of Nick Leombruno on guitar, Dave Rosenstraus on drums, Adam Thomas on bass, and Shani Banerjee on vocals, the band draws upon various influences ranging from deathrock, new wave, and cowpunk.
The vocals in particular are what stand out, with Shani channeling a biting sweetness in her Wanda Jackson like vocals, backed by the barrage of punk rhythms that altogether evoke the sonic spirit of Jeffrey Lee Pierce.
Empty Beings began in 2015 when Shani received email from drummer Dave Rosenstraus asking her to join a new post-punk project. At the time Shani was taking part in a photography residency in Iceland. Rosenstraus was already writing with Nick Leombruno. The sparse sound was a perfect fit for the feel of Iceland, and Banerjee was onboard.
Four years later Adam Thomas joined on bass, rounded out the lineup Empty Beings.
On the debut LP Dead and Pathetic, which follows 2015’s Demo and 2016’s EP Confront the Living, the band had this to say:
“The record feels like an instinctual progression; it covers a lot of references and visceral inspiration from Morricone to The Gun Club and The Gits with some pop sentiment to tie it together. It visually references pulp illustration and cinema, as well as storytelling, and while sonically there is a dustier vibe it is still very much rooted in punk, which is where we come from.”
Watch the band’s Ana Armengod directed video for “In Between” below:
Empty Beings’ LP Dead and Pathetic officially releases on October 12th on Play Alone Records.