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Late Checkout: Empress Hotel with Brass Bed and Native America

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After nine months in creative gestation, Empress Hotel, a songwriting collaboration between singer Micah McKee (Silent Cinema) and guitarist Ryan Rogers (ex-Antenna Inn), arrives this week as a fully formed sextet, with an infectious self-titled upcoming fall release and a record deal from local imprint Park the Van in hand. The two musicians' past and present projects might engender visions of a bar-band Steely Dan, but the two-hooks-a-minute songs in circulation so far hint at something more radical for this region: a lithe, aerodynamic pop vehicle following Phoenix's vertical flight plan. Hits-in-utero "Auld Lang Something," "Bells Ring," "Search Lights" and the already remixed title track (an equally killer cut courtesy of the Control) appeal instantly, employing toy piano melodies, guy/girl harmonies, wind chime vocals and precise, metronomic drum-machine dance beats. The recent additions of multi-instrumentalist Leo DeJesus and percussionist Eric Rogers, both of MyNameIsJohnMichael, amp up the performance acumen. If the live show holds a candle to its stage-crashing parent bands, New Orleans has its next breakout candidate. Empress Hotel performs between headlining Lafayette labelmate Brass Bed and local opener Native America; J Daiquiri (DJ nom de plume of Defend New Orleans' Jac Currie) spins between sets. Free admission. — Noah Bonaparte Pais

July 23

Empress Hotel with Brass Bed and Native America

11 p.m. Friday

Blue Nile, 532 Frenchmen St., 948-2583; www.bluenilelive.com

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