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Instant Empire hails from Denver, CO

Major: indie rock
Minor: well whiskey

Instant Empire writes music that explores humanity in the modern world. Many of the songs IE writes paint pictures and read like short stories, while others scan more like fractured, impressionistic poetry. In June 2019, the band is releasing Cathedrals, their third LP that expands upon the sound and tone the band has meticulously refined over the last decade.

The majority of the LP was written in 2018 as part of IE’s 12x12 project where the band wrote, recorded and released a new song every month for the entire year. Several common themes emerged from that project, none more important than the search for human connection. This album is perhaps the most personal, intimate album we've ever written and it's full of the richest characters we've ever created - each song is its own chapter that chronicles the emotions, feelings and issues we've faced over the last few years. Cathedrals defies easy categorization, sometimes oscillating dramatically from melodic indie pop to aggressive indie punk (often within the same song).

So, why is this new album named Cathedrals? Great question!  

Cathedrals are places we go in search of something, often as a last resort.  Sometimes we search for sanctuary. Sometimes we search for hope. This album feels like that.  These songs are a refuge of solace and, hopefully, a place where listeners can go to feel connection to something - anything - that is bigger than the world they've created.  

Previous releases from the band garnered comparisons to a number of indie favorites, including: The National, Bright Eyes, The Hold Steady, Car Seat Headrest and Manchester Orchestra.

The band's discography to-date includes:

  • Cathedrals (LP; 2019)

  • Last of the Lovers (LP; 2017)

  • Lamplight Lost (LP; 2015)

  • Keep Up! (EP; 2013)

  • Heavy Hollow (EP; 2012)

  • Instant Empire (EP; 2011)


Members of the band: 

  • Scotty Saunders (vocals, lyrics)

  • Sean Connaughty (guitar, keys)

  • Lou Kucera (guitar, keys)

  • Aaron Stone (bass)

  • Matt Grizzell (drums)

Quite wisely, Instant Empire avoids the navel-gazing lo-fi stylistics that are still en vogue in the indie world, and instead does well in emphasizing the *rock* in ‘indie rock’.
— Pop Matters
Sonically, [“Keep Up!”] is the band’s most aggressive to date and finds the band in league with contemporaries like The Hold Steady, The National, The Mountain Goats, Death Cab For Cutie and Desaparecidos.
— Ghetto Blaster Magazine
Keep Up! is the head on collision between Manchester Orchestra and the jagged guitar work of Desaparecidos. It’s as much of a rock record as can possibly be crammed into ten minutes. Raw enough to come from a garage, but with enough foresight to set itself apart from the standard EP.
— Absolutepunk.net
The song (Mind the Gap) is melancholic and touching without being melodramatic. It is quite the triumph in songwriting.
— Surviving the Golden Age
From a great deal of musicianship, energy and some catchy songs Instant Empire have the whole package. We’re looking forward to listening to their latest album and watching as their success and fanbase grows.
— Song Revelation
Instant Empire sets the modern American struggle to sound.
— Denver Westword
On the new EP, the band went for a huge, wide-open sound - and succeeded. The new release is filled with big, arena-ready tracks, so it makes sense that the group has drawn favorable comparisons to Death Cab For Cutie.
— Jonah Ollman, CMJ
Dripping with ambition and driven by personal history, the five local storytellers craft big ideas into big arrangements while never taking the focus off the stories themselves. Dotted by nuanced rhythm and expertly paced melody, the six songs on this sophomore release narrate brief moments of punch-drunk love, summer ennui, habitual betrayal and the search for personal identity.
— Denver Westword