At the end of ’08, Tom McKean & The Emperors were giving away the wonderful, smokey, miserabalist track “This Old Heart Of Mine” for signing up for their newsletter. Shortly after, they released a single (“This Year”/”The Smile Of An Innocent Child”). And posted news of recording their debut album in Texas with producer John Congleton (Modest Mouse, Micah P. Hinson & The Red Empire Orchestra, Antony & The Johnsons, Polyphonic Spree, etc). At the end of ’09 they posted some tracks from the sessions on their Myspace page, including the bitter, twangy “Spitting Fire” which further whetted my appetite for the new disk. A year plus later we don’t have the full album but an enticing ep instead – “Wine, Women & Song.” No “Spitting Fire” – yet – but we get a jazzy “Fever,” a choir-infused title track (lyrics: “All he needs to light his darkness are wine, women & song”), the floating but dark “Love In Vain,” and the sad folk of “She Dreams” to close it out.
Some easy touch points might be Tindersticks and Leonard Cohen, mainly as a result of Glaswegian McKean’s deep, brooding voice and the measured pace of many songs, but McKean and band also take their dour outlook and fuse it with music that caresses, soars, and pounds.
The song here, “Gazing At The Dying Of The Light,” is not on the ep but was recorded during their Dallas sessions. The band is giving it away for free when you sign up for their newsletter. Which you should do – because that album is going to come out at some point.
Gazing At The Dying Of The Light
In the meantime, buy the ep: iTunes