It takes a bit longer than a full minute before Berkeley, California-based artist Dan Casey's song "Empty City" builds to its gorgeous swirl of vocal harmonies, drum machines and hook-laden guitar riffs, but the sonic pay off is worth every second. At the heart of the song lies a unique mix of bright guitar lines intertwining with up-tempo electronic production that illustrates Casey's mastery at layering the sounds from his head.
Casey had a productive history making electronic music under the name Yalls until he grabbed a guitar to create demos as Steezy Ray Vibes. Casey dropped the alias (is it too soon to start making "The Artist Formerly Known As Steezy Ray Vibes" jokes?) for his melancholic bummer-pop-heavy debut album Empty City, to be be released via up-and-coming record label Ceremony in late October.
Casey wrote to us to explain his inspiration for the song: "One night I was tired but couldn't sleep, got into bed and then got back & and wrote and recorded the first song 'Empty City.' The whole album comes from that same restless place, thinking about the universe, trying to fall asleep." While Casey's inspiration for his music may have been thinking about the universe, as a listener, the draw comes from his restless drive to recreate his thoughts with sublime guitar work and eerie melodies.