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No one makes noise quite like Empath, the Philadelphia quartet whirl psychedelic guitar, found sounds, New Age drones and more. In concert, they sound as much like a cosmic jazz combo as a screamingly loud punk band. Empath’s songs are about melody and feedback, rage and bliss, chaos and transcendence. Then there’s the birdsong – tiny, bright samples of the natural world that chirp in and out of the mix like jokes with no punchlines.
Catherine Elicson, 24, who founded ­Empath with drummer Garrett ­Koloski, 27, and keyboardist Emily ­Shanahan, 26, after they met as roommates in a West Philly punk house in the fall of 2015. (Synthesizer wizard Randall Coon, 32, joined a little over a year later.)
All three came with stellar references. Koloski was nearing the end of his time as the thrashing heartbeat of Syracuse, New York firebrands Perfect Pussy; Elicson had just moved east from Ohio, where she sang in a couple of well-liked local acts, and she would later go on to play drums in Allison Crutchfield‘s band. Shanahan had been in the van with assorted touring crews as a merch-table star. The next step couldn’t have been more obvious.

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