Echo Orbiter

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Echo Orbiter
Echo Orbiter performing at Johnny Brenda's Philadelphia, 2010
Background information
OriginPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
GenresIndie rock, lo-fi, dream pop, shoegazing
Years active1996–present
LabelsLooking Glass Workshop
Associated actsof Montreal, The Three 4 Tens, Medicine, Lilys
WebsiteEcho Orbiter on Myspace
MembersJustin Emerle
Colin Emerle
Jeremiah Steffen
Rob Hart

Echo Orbiter is a Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, based indie rock band founded by brothers Justin Emerle and Colin Emerle, described by Philadelphia Weekly as being "Widely considered two of the most inventive songwriters on the Philadelphia scene."[1]


Early years[edit]

Echo Orbiter formed in 1996 in Westville, New Jersey when brothers Justin Emerle and Colin Emerle began performing with drummer Jeremiah Steffen.[2] Still in high school, the band entered Miner St. Studios in Philadelphia to record their first album, A Moment In Life That’s Right.[3][4] Engineered by Brian McTear, the album was “a consistent incorporation of pleasingly-textured pop tunes.”[5] with what one writer called a resemblance to “Guided by Voices when they made albums that didn’t suck.”[6]

Echo Orbiter performing in 2010

Soon after the release of their first album, the appearance of the track “Spring is Here” on a compilation of Philadelphia’s newly emerging indie bands helped EO gain a spot at the Philadelphia PopFest in 1998 and 1999, and a headlining spot at the PopFest in 2000.[7][8] The band received widespread coverage after “group members pummeled a giant cardboard robot head, obliterated a couple of guitars and violently dismantled their drum kit,” while destroying the venue’s stage equipment in a “Who-like” manner at the 1999 PopFest.[9]

The band re-entered Miner St./Cycle Sound Studios in 1999 and recorded their second album, Laughing All The While, which was again engineered by Brian McTear and partly co-engineered by Kurt Heasley of Lilys.[8][10] At this time, EO began to associate with the Elephant 6 Collective,[11] appearing on compilations with of Montreal, often performing with Beulah, of Montreal, and the Minders, and releasing a split-45 with Calvin, Don't Jump!.[12][13][14][15]

In 2001 the band was in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, touring with the Starlight Mints, when the September 11th attacks abruptly ended the tour. Following the broken tour, along with the theft of their instruments, EO discontinued playing live shows altogether, last performing in Providence, Rhode Island, September 18, 2001 and not returning until 9 years later to the day.[4]

2001 to 2010[edit]

Although no longer performing live, brothers Justin and Colin continued to record prolifically.[16] During this period the band recorded music for Eventide Production’s short-film Mortality and Get-Kinetic’s short-film 4.50 [17][18] and appeared on over a dozen compilations by various record labels,[19] including their “life affirming” cover of Medicine's “Never Click” on Never Lose That Feeling released in the United Kingdom and Japan on Claire Records and on Club AC30 in the United States.[20][21]

During this time EO also recorded 6 albums, 3 EP's, 5 singles, and 9 full-length compilation albums to accompany the albums and EP's,[4][22] “clocking up 15 years at the coalface of indiedom”[23] with a prolific "collection of superb three-minute pop bursts...."[24]


In 2010 Echo Orbiter released their ninth Studio album, Euphonicmontage.[25] The album’s experimental nature mixed a range of influences from writer Ayn Rand to The Flaming Lips.[15] The album was recorded to reflect the same Cubist style of Picasso’s paintings in music form and was described as “an innovative landmark in the world of indie rock.”[26] In 2010 EO also appeared on Sick of the Radio’s New Wave Moons: R. Stevie Moore Tribute along with Ariel Pink and XTC’s Dave Gregory,[27][28] and represented the United States on Indiecater Record’s Fast Forward compilation for the FIFA World Cup in South Africa.[29][30]

Working along with Green Light Go Publicity to promote Euphonicmontage,[31] Echo Orbiter played their first show in 9 years at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia with Joe Jack Talcum of The Dead Milkmen on September 18, 2010, 9 years to the day of their last show, and were highlighted as a Cover Story in the Music Issue of the Philadelphia City Paper.[4][32] They followed up the year with More Batteries, an EP recorded entirely on a hacked iPhone.[33]

In 2012, EO appeared along with artists including Sean Lennon, Matt Pond, Cornershop, Elf Power, and Ra Ra Riot in Rock Torch Volume One, a book of artists on artists,[34][35] and released a free EP called Aerosol Power, which was recorded in a cabin in the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania during the winter of 2011 on a four-track reel-to-reel.[36][37]




  • The Khyber Passed (2004), LGW
  • The Time Of Ghosts And Clouds (2006), LGW
  • The Lost Generation And The Golden Age Of Mysteries (2007), LGW
  • More Batteries (2011), LGW
  • Aerosol Power (2012), LGW
  • Luftwaffe Over London (2013), LGW


  • “Lost In The Light” (2001), (split 45 with Calvin, Don't Jump!) Perhaps Transparent Records
  • “Sail The Cabin’s Creek” (2002), LGW
  • “I Hope It’s Wonderful” (2002), LGW
  • “Small Town America” (2003), LGW
  • “I’m Ultracet” (2004), LGW
  • “Who Does That Remind You Of?” (2008), LGW
  • “Bicycle Superstar” (2010), LGW
  • "What Scissors Sing In Their Halo Of Fog" (7" single) (2011), LGW

Compilation appearances[edit]

Short-film music[edit]

  • “Golden Wash Of The Sunset” appears in the short-film Mortality (2000), Eventide Productions
  • "Intelligentsia," "Elevator Radio," and "My Dear" appear in the short-film 4.50 (2003), Get-Kinetic Productions

Echo Orbiter full-length compilations[edit]

  • The Delta Nine-Sound (2003), LGW
  • Apathy Cuts Through The Silence (2003), LGW
  • Aerial Laughter of Dreadful Magnificence (2004), LGW
  • Bonne Pensee Du Matin (2005), LGW
  • Oh Damned Night; You Again? (2006), LGW
  • Everything Was Truth And Humor (2007), LGW
  • Trashcan Funeral Service (2008), LGW
  • The Smoke Endures Around All The Lights (2009), LGW
  • The Three Penny Eggplant Symphony (2009), LGW
  • Snowglobe Catastrophe (2011), LGW
  • Placing the Secret to the Glass (2012), LGW
  • We're Talking Negative Cool (2012), LGW


  1. ^ Philadelphia Weekly, June 23, 1999/Volume XXXVIII, No. 10 (Pg. 27)
  2. ^ All Music Bio –
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b c d City Paper Cover Story Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Splendid E-Zine Archived 2010-07-22 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ Philadelphia Weekly, April 21, 1999/Vol. XXVIII, No. 16 (pg. 70)
  7. ^ Philadelphia Weekly, June 23, 1999/Vol. XXVIII No. 10 (pg. 29–30) Cover Story
  8. ^ a b City Paper Archived 2012-07-22 at
  9. ^ City Paper Archived 2012-07-06 at
  10. ^ City Paper Archived 2014-02-22 at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ Rock Torch
  12. ^ XPN
  13. ^ Philadelphia Weekly Archived 2012-09-07 at
  14. ^ Perhaps Transparent
  15. ^ a b Green Light Go
  16. ^ Leondar’s Lair
  17. ^ IMDB
  18. ^ The Deli
  19. ^ All Music
  20. ^ Starvox
  21. ^ MP3Hugger
  22. ^ In Your Speakers
  23. ^ MP3 Hugger
  24. ^ Echo Orbiter Review – Leonard's Lair
  25. ^ "Eburban". Archived from the original on 2012-03-10. Retrieved 2011-04-03.
  26. ^ Sick of the Radio
  27. ^ Sick of the Radio
  28. ^ Green Light Go
  29. ^ The Claire Herald Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine
  30. ^ Indiecater Records
  31. ^ Green Light Go
  32. ^ City Paper Archived 2012-06-14 at the Wayback Machine
  33. ^ More Batteries on
  34. ^ Rock Torch Volume One
  35. ^ Abramson, Randy (2012). Roch Torch Volume One. Lexington: Henrytronic Books. ISBN 978-0615737942.
  36. ^ Aerosol Power on
  37. ^ XPN The Key

External links[edit]