Empty Country is the new project from former Cymbals Eat Guitars frontman Joseph D’Agostino. Empty Country’s self-titled debut album was originally scheduled to come out last week, 2/14, on Tiny Engines. But after Adult Mom accused Tiny Engines of breach of contract over late royalty payments, D’Agostino decided to postpone the release to find a new label for it.
Now, Empty Country officially has a new home and release date — Get Better Records and 4/24, respectively. And today, we’re getting to hear another song from the record, “SWIM,” following last year’s “Jets” and “Marian.” As D’Agostino explains in a lengthy statement:
SWIM = Someone Who Isn’t Me. It’s a character sketch, as many of the songs on Empty Country are. The narrator is a composite of several people I met or observed while living in Kensington, a neighborhood in Philadelphia gravely affected by the ongoing opioid emergency in the United States. One day my wife Rachel pointed out in passing that some of our neighbors had old faces. She didn’t mean “old” in the sense that they were aging prematurely (though some certainly were), but that they had the faces of Dustbowl-era farmers we had seen in books and films. I began imagining a young man suffering from temporal dysphoria (feeling that one was born into the wrong era and strongly identifying with a bygone time), drinking and otherwise numbing himself to tamp down overwhelming anemoia and sadness. Robbing condos freshly erected in adjoining neighborhoods. Doing harm. Blacking out, driving drunk, hurting those he should love, but simply cannot. Dreaming of leaving forever the bricky mazes of row homes that open into wide empty avenues.
Listen to the lovely, elegiac “SWIM” below.
Empty Country is out 4/24 via Get Better.