Empires, Paper Rival, Par Avion, Kim Clements All Ages Soundboard

When: Sat., Aug. 23, 6 p.m. 2008

So here’s the story: local band self-produces album, offers it for download on its Web site (no questions asked, no money please), reports 15,000 takers in the first week, and builds up enough buzz to sustain a busy gigging schedule. So how is EmpiresHowl? Well, a geopolitical empire is imposing and impressive but also unwieldy, comprising multiple influences that don’t necessarily mix, and the band is like that too. The record, while completely professional sounding, is all over the map: the romantic “I Want Blood” sits right on the line where power pop becomes Camaro rock; the archly new-wave “Valmont” has a languid, decadent club feel; and “Spit the Dark” sounds like the mewling love child of Simple Minds and Blur. —Monica Kendrick

Price: $10, $8 in advance

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