Ezra Furman Debuts “Lilac And Black”
Ezra Furman today unveils a new single and video, “Lilac and Black”, from her forthcoming record, All of Us Flames, out 26th August via Bella Union. Produced by John Congleton, All of Us Flames unleashes Furman’s songwriting in an open, vivid sound whose boldness heightens the music’s urgency. “We’ve been alone too long / We belong together with our weapons drawn,” Furman sings on “Lilac and Black,” detailing a revenge plot where she and her “queer girl gang” drive out their oppressors and claim a hostile city for themselves.
Furman elaborates, “I’ve started to think of us trans women as a kind of secret gang, scattered across the world. Or that we could be that. So I wrote this theme song for us, and gave us some gang colours: lilac and black. Unfortunately, being trans usually comes with some kind of threat to one’s well-being or even one’s life. The hostility toward us right now is intense and the stakes are high. This song is an expression of deep solidarity and willingness to defend our lives. Being an inherently peaceful person, I hate to imagine it, but there are times that violent self-defence, or defence of others, is the moral and necessary path. This song is about being ready for that.” Furman continues, “It’s also about how being trans so often feels like a war we never asked for. On top of the seemingly endless social stigma and barriers to our general thriving, various governments have now set in motion a concerted movement to virtually outlaw healthy trans existence. Let it be known: we demand safety, resources and dignity, and we are ready to fight for our lives and the lives of others.”
All of Us Flames is the third instalment in a trilogy of albums, beginning with 2018’s Springsteen-inflected road saga Transangelic Exodus and continuing with the punk rock fury of 2019’s Twelve Nudes. Writing much of Flames during the early months of the pandemic, Furman drove to seek solitude, parked in arbitrary quiet spots around Massachusetts, and began to write. The songs that came flowed toward ideas of communality and networks of care, systems of survival cultivated by necessity among people who have been historically deprived of them. With Furman’s widened focus, All of Us Flames paints transformative connections among people who unsettle the stories power tells to sustain itself.
A singer, songwriter, and author whose incendiary music has soundtracked the Netflix show Sex Education, Furman has for years woven together stories of queer discontent and unlikely, fragile intimacies. All of Us Flames is “a queer album for the stage of life when you start to understand that you are not a lone wolf, but depend on finding your family, your people, how you work as part of a larger whole. I wanted to make songs for use by threatened communities, and particularly the ones I belong to: trans people and Jews.”