Empty Country, the project of musician Joseph D’Agostino (formerly Cymbals Eat Guitars), officially return with the announcement of their second LP,  Empty Country II , out on Friday 3rd November. Having issued the single ‘Pearl’ last month, they’re now sharing a video for the second track from the album, ‘Erlking’, shot by Zoë Browne and edited by Andrew Futral. Watch the video here.

Sprawling, grandiose arrangements and compelling, unconventional song structures defined Joseph D’Agostino’s acclaimed work with Cymbals Eat Guitars – but he knows how to get to the point. The cagey, nervous energy of ‘Erlking’ showcases D’Agostino at his most concise – across its three-minute runtime, the song offers a vivid thesis statement on America’s unraveling in a sea of gun violence and political corruption. Direct rock songs such as this help contextualize and serve as flattering contrast to the tentpost epics that headline Empty Country II.

Speaking on the track, D’Agostino writes:

“‘Erlking’ takes its name from ‘Erlkönig’, Goethe’s famous poem depicting the death of a child stalked by a supernatural being. Though I wrote this song on the day of the Robb Elementary school shooting in Uvalde, the “20 kids” referenced are the Sandy Hook children. In the parallel version of the American dystopia I depict in Empty Country II, Erlkings are ultraterrestrial demons that stalk the innocent and infect the minds of men. These entities’ lives span eons. To them, the whole of our country’s pernicious history is as brief as a Chopin prelude or a TV jingle.  One short verse/ 13 Bars/ The force of 50 collapsing stars.”

Empty Country II is available digitally, on CD, a pink vinyl dbl LP (edition of 450) and as a deluxe pink vinyl dbl LP package containing a book and cassette of the written and audio version of D’Agostino’s short story, Basilisk, or: Pearl Practices Guitar and Hallucinates the Future (edition of 50). The latter is only available via the Tough Love online shop or Bandcamp. Empty Country will perform a headline show at Oslo in London on November 21st. Tickets available here.

Pre-order Empty Country II here