The Empire Strikes Back

Published in Billboard Magazine

Australian electropop duo Empire of the Sun has emerged as one of the most hotly touted bands for 2009.

Made up of Luke Steele from alternative rock band the Sleepy Jackson and Nick Littlemore from electronic act Pnau, its dreamy title track “Walking on a Dream,” and its colorful videoclip, which was shot in Shanghai, China, have been the linchpin for one of the early buzz tales of the year.

“We seeded it out to a couple of key blogs, and the blogosphere reacted,” says EMI Australia VP of A&R Craig Hawker. The “Walking on a Dream” album is certified gold in Australia (35,000 units) after its Oct. 4 release and will land Feb. 23 in the United Kingdom and Europe, with a U.S. release to follow.

Touring will have to wait. “They have a very elaborate, visionary approach to how they want to present their live show,” says EMI Music Australia chairman Mark Poston. “Because they want to get it right, it won’t be ready until the summer.”

Live dates—booked by the Sydney-based Harbour Agency’s Brett Murrihy for Australia/New Zealand and London-based Mike Greek of Creative Artists Agency for the United Kingdom and Europe—will likely kick off this August in Australia. Steele is published by Sony/ATV, Littlemore by Control.