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Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate)/CityCop/Free Throw (in the Locker Room)

Comprising Michigan couple Keith and Cathy Latinen, Empire! Empire! taps the emotional indie vein of late 1990s with heart-wrenching aplomb. Conceived originally by Keith as a solo project to fly in the face of otherwise failed dreams, the band has since taken on something of a cult status among those still interested in the best flavors of the emo sound. 2009’s What It Takes To Move Forward is the band’s high-water mark (though it’s all pretty great stuff), what with its soul-mining opening cut, “How to Make Love Stay.” The quiet-loud dynamic shows up throughout their stuff -- contrasting contemplative poetry against window-smashing brashness. “I tend to hide lyrics and names behind a lot of dense symbolism,” Keith once said. If that’s your thing (and it’s an awesome thing when done well), then here’s your band. (Sandy)

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