Ezra Furman Announces “All Of Us Flames”

Ezra Furman today announces her new record, All Of Us Flames, out 26th August via Bella Union, and unveils the cathartic lead single, “Forever In Sunset.” Inside the world of All of Us Flames, the end of the patriarchal capitalist empire seems both imminent and inevitable, a turn down a path we can’t see yet but can’t avoid, either. Produced by John Congleton, All of Us Flames unleashes Furman’s songwriting in an open, vivid sound whose boldness heightens the music’s urgency. Following previous singles “Book Of Our Names” and “Point Me Toward The Real”, “Forever In Sunset” peers past the scorch of the apocalypse into a vision of collective survival, tracing the ways outcast people can make each other real through mutual belief. The synth-streaked rallying call is presented alongside a gorgeous and tender video directed by Noel Paul.

“The biggest influence on the lyrics of this song is a conversation I had with a friend of mine. When Covid was first hitting, she was talking to me a lot about how ready she felt. She was like, ‘people who have been comfortable in life are freaking out right now. But queer people like me have been in crisis before. I grew up poor and my family kicked me out when I was a teenager. My world has already ended plenty of times before, and we queers know what to do: we take care of each other, we help each other out, we have a network of support for the crises we know will hit us from time to time.’

And then she lost her job and ended up moving in with me and my family for like three months. And she was right, we were okay and we were taking care of each other.

That influenced a lot of what the whole record is about. But ‘Forever in Sunset’ is specifically a woman who’s been through some shit speaking to a new lover who is becoming attached to them, trying to warn the lover about how she is trouble, about how she has been through crises and they will come again. And that’s just how she lives, never settled, never safe, but also never defeated/finished – “forever in sunset.”

Sometimes it feels like crisis is hitting more and more of the general population. They think the world is ending. But people who have been through a personal apocalypse or two have something to teach them. The world doesn’t end, shit just happens and if we don’t die we have to take care of each other.” – Ezra Furman on “Forever In Sunset”

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 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. Furman has a knack for zeroing in on the light that sparks when struggling people find each other and ease each other’s course. “I started to think of trans women as a secret society across the world: scattered everywhere, but so obviously bound together, both in being vulnerable and having a shared vision to change a fundamental building block of patriarchal society,” she says. “I‘ve been building my world of queer pals, and it feels like we’re forming a gang.”

Furman wrote much of Flames during the early months of the pandemic. “I had no time alone anymore; my house was super crowded,” she says. She 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. “This is a first person plural album,” Furman says. “It’s 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.” With Furman’s widened focus, All of Us Flames paints transformative connections among people who unsettle the stories power tells to sustain itself. 


On All of Us Flames, the heat of a different world throbs just behind the skin of this one; all around us, openings to it flicker. They vanish almost as soon as they’ve appeared. But they keep appearing, as if daring us to hold them open, to widen them until they turn into a way.

Ezra Furman has announced more dates for her 2022 international tour adding four UK shows in November including performances at The Roundhouse in London and The Ritz in Manchester. Tickets HERE.

Ezra Furman Debuts “Book Of Our Names”

Ezra Furman releases a new single, “Book Of Our Names”, out today on Bella Union / ANTI-. This song follows last month’s single, “Point Me Toward The Real”, Furman’s first solo release since 2019’s Twelve Nudes and her stint soundtracking Netflix’s hit show Sex Education. “Book Of Our Names” is sparse but deeply emotive, with Furman’s voice guiding through the pulsing guitars. 

This song is about what it feels like to live together under an empire that doesn’t value your lives,” Furman says. “I sing it as a Jew and as a trans woman, knowing well the stakes and consequences of being part of a hated population. But it is a protest song intended for use by any movement for collective survival and freedom. I noticed that the book of the Bible called Exodus in English, the one where the Hebrews escape slavery in Egypt, is called the Book of Names in Hebrew. And I started to think that the act of saying names out loud, of seeing individuals in their full irreplaceable uniqueness, holds the seed of true liberation.

Praise for “Point Me Toward The Real”:

“The punk laureate slows it down with this neo-soul search for inner freedom” The i Paper

“In her first solo release since coming out as transgender in 2021, indie folk star Ezra Furman is ready to get away from all of the bulls–t.” Billboard

Next month, Furman and her band – Ben Joseph (keyboards), Jordan Jordensen (bass), Sam Durkes (drums) – will embark on a North American and European tour, including UK festival appearances at Standon Calling, Green Manand the Edinburgh International Festival. Furman will also play three US shows in August as special guest to Jack White.

Tickets available HERE.

Bella Union announce 2022 SXSW Showcase

Bella Union announce SXSW showcase to kick off its 25th Anniversary celebrations!

2022 is a big year for Bella Union records as the label celebrates its 25th Anniversary. We have a number of special events being lined up taking place throughout the year, more news of which will be announced soon, but to kick off the celebrations the label is heading to Austin, Texas for a showcase at this year’s SXSW festival. Thursday 17th March will see Bella Union play host to a superb line-up of acts at Mohawk on Red River Street, with performances both inside and outside the venue. Acts performing include the likes of Midlake, Ezra Furman, White Denim, Penelope Isles, Pom Poko, Ural Thomas & The Pain, Tallies and many more. The flyer below has the full info and stage times…

Commenting on Bella Union’s 25th anniversary label founder Simon Raymonde says: “I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined that we would be working with artists like John Grant and Dirty Three for over 22 years, with Midlake since 2004, Beach House and Father John Misty for all of their albums, The Flaming Lips for 10 years, Fleet Foxes for their globally acclaimed and double-platinum selling debut and the follow up Helplessness Blues, watching Ezra Furman become one of the most important writers of her generation, and having a perfect gender split of 50-50 across the roster. This just happened, without a plan, or strategy. It is a miracle we made it, but gives us such strength to keep pushing the boundaries and the envelope and to show bravery and never be afraid to take a risk. Our pride is also in continuing to develop the new bands we discover before their debuts, for them to develop into the household names of the future. They are too numerous to mention but they know how much we value them.”

“Having been going to Austin for SXSW pretty much every year since we started back in 1997 it feels appropriate to be hosting our biggest and most significant label showcase in this our 25th year. With 83 year old Ural Thomas kicking off the celebrations with his incredible live band The Pain in tow, we have Brighton-based Penelope Isles playing their first USA show in support of their new LP since just before the pandemic hit, Pom Poko playing their first-EVER show in the USA, Midlake returning on the eve of the release of their new album, Austin-legends White Denim bringing the evening close to a crescendo before our headliner Ezra Furman will close out this special night with a set that will have you walking home to bed at 2am with your senses fully activated! She is a star and by the end of the night you will know it.”

Ezra Furman Returns With “Point Me Toward The Real”

Today, Ezra Furman returns with a new single, “Point Me Toward the Real”, and announces an extensive run of North American tour dates as well as UK festival appearances at Standon Calling and Green Man in July and August. “Point Me Toward the Real”, out today via Bella Union (and ANTI- in North America), marks Furman’s first solo release since 2019’s Twelve Nudes, and follows her stint soundtracking the hit Netflix show Sex Education. A tender and urgent ballad, “Point Me Toward the Real” reiterates Furman’s knack for crafting heartfelt earworms. “Cut me loose, cut me loose,” Furman cries atop dreamy horn arrangements by Nathaniel Walcott (Bright Eyes), “Let me get hurt // Let me feel // Cut my bound hands free and point me toward the real.” Featuring backing vocals from Shannon Lay and Debbie Neigher, “Point Me Toward the Real” was produced, engineered, and recorded by John Congleton (Angel Olsen, Future Islands, Sharon Van Etten). 

Of the track, Furman explains: “This is a neo-soul song about getting released from a psychiatric hospital, which has never happened to me. But really it’s a song about what you do right after abuse, imprisonment, a brush with death. Who do you call when it’s supposedly over? Where do you go? How do you know what you want?

“We’ve all recently been going through something terrifying. We’ve all made friends with death in the last two years. When I look to the future, I want to know who has my back? Whose back do I have? And what is real, what and who can I rely on? Point me toward the real; there’s no other direction I want to go.” 

This Sunday, Furman and her band – consisting of Ben Joseph (keyboards), Jordan Jordensen (bass), and Sam Durkes (drums) – will kick off their spring US tour at Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall. From there, they’ll make stops in Austin, Texas for SXSW, plus Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, and more. A full list of dates is below.

Ezra Furman Tour Dates:

Sun. Mar. 6 – Northampton, MA @ Iron Horse Music Hall (SOLD OUT)

Mon. Mar. 7 – Rochester, NY @ The Bug Jar

Tue. Mar. 8 – Columbus, OH @ Rumba Cafe (SOLD OUT)

Wed. Mar. 9 – Indianapolis, IN @ State Street Pub

Thu. Mar. 10 – Nashville, TN @ Third Man Records Blue Room

Sat. Mar. 12 – Atlanta, GA @ Aisle 5

Mon. Mar. 14 – Fort Worth, TX @ Tulips

Mar. 15-19 – Austin, TX @ SXSW

Thu. May 19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Teragram Ballroom *

Sat. May 21 – San Francisco, CA @ August Hall *

Mon. May 23 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile *

Tue. May 24 – Vancouver, BC @ Hollywood Theatre *

Wed. May 25 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *

Thu. May 26 – Boise, ID @ Visual Arts Collective *

Sat. May 28 – Denver, CO @ Gothic Theatre *

Mon. May 30 – Des Moines, IA @ Gas Lamp *

Tue. May 31 – Minneapolis, MN @ Fine Line *

Wed. Jun. 1 – Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall *

Thu. Jun. 9 – Somerville, MA @ Crystal Ballroom (Ezra Solo)

Thu. Jul. 21  – Valencia, ES @ Diversity Festival 

Sun. Jul. 24 – Hertfordshire, UK @ Standon Calling Festival

Thu. Aug. 18 – Crickhowell, UK @ Green Man Festival

Mon. Sep. 12 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rosa 

Tue. Sep. 13 – Toronto, ON @ Rec Room 

Wed. Sep. 14 – Detroit, MI @ The Loving Touch

Thu. Sep. 15 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Small’s

Sun. Sep. 18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts

Mon. Sep. 19 – Providence, RI @ Fete Ballroom

Tue. Sep. 20 – Boston, MA @ The Sinclair 

Wed. Sep. 21 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall 

Thu. Sep. 22 – Dover, DE @ Firefly Festival

* Support from Grace Cummings

Ezra Furman’s ‘Sex Education OST’ is out now

Following the success of last year’s “Twelve Nudes”, Ezra Furman returns with Sex Education OST, songs from season 1 and 2 of the hit Netflix TV show. The 19-track LP is out today on Bella Union and is available to order here.

When the makers of the hit Netflix series Sex Education told Ezra Furman, “We want you to be the Simon & Garfunkel to our The Graduate”, they clearly recognised a kindred spirit. Who better to articulate all that awkwardness and alienation than Furman?

Sex Education is about Otis Milburn, a socially awkward high school student who lives with his sex therapist mother, Jean. In season 1 Otis and his friend Maeve Wiley set-up a sex clinic at school to capitalise on his intuitive talent for sex advice. In season 2, as a late bloomer Otis must master his newly discovered sexual urges in order to progress with his girlfriend Ola whilst also dealing with his now strained relationship with Maeve. Meanwhile, Moordale Secondary is in the throes of a Chlamydia outbreak, highlighting the need for better sex education at the school and new kids come to town who will challenge the status quo.

The Sex Education soundtrack gathers the original songs that Furman composed for the first series and the brand new second series, whilst adding tracks featured on the show that can be found on prior Furman albums such as “Perpetual Motion People” and “Transangelic Exodus”. Lining up alongside older cover versions of LCD Soundsystem’s ‘ I Can Change’ and Melanie’s ‘The Good Book’ is a new rendition of ‘Devil Or Angel’, The Clovers’ doo-wop jewel from 1956. It all adds up to a bumper 19-track set of Furman’s trademark enthusiastic emotional catharsis.

“Making music for a TV show was a new experience for me,” she says. “As a fan of many a high school comedy, for example The Breakfast Club and 10 Things I Hate About You, I knew how fun the music can be, and also how emotional. I wanted to rise to the challenge.”

Furman and her band recorded the new songs in between sessions for a “loud punk record,” namely the exhilarating “Twelve Nudes”, released by Bella Union in 2019. “I decided I’d use the Sex Education project as a place to put my tenderness, my sadness and longing,” she says. “The soft teenage feelings that every adult knows continue long after high school ends.”

For the first series, Furman was supplied with an extensive description of the show and the episode scripts. For the second series, she says, “They trusted us completely. They were like, ‘you know what to do’. I try to imagine what’s going to be on screen as a jumping-off point, but they don’t need songs that fit, they need songs of a high quality, that come from a real place. That’s why they wanted me, I guess. Also, I guess they noticed an exuberant vulnerability. I lay all my feelings out there.”

Given Furman’s personal experience at high school, having been closeted with regard to gender and sexuality, she wasn’t method-acting for a second. The new songs allowed her to reconnect to that past, but also the present, as teenager and adult. ‘Amateur’, for example. “I’m an amateur in my heart, and the show is about amateurs,” she says. “About bodies not yet fully formed, and hearts not yet hardened to the world.”

‘Every Feeling’ was inspired by a bad bout of depression: “I was so bored of having these feelings year after year, I just wanted to feel them all and get them over with.” ‘Care’ is afflicted by, “the noise of celebrity culture and politics.” Why can’t we just have, as Furman sings, “a world of love and care”? “That’s the dream I hang on to,” she says.

Songwriting, Furman concludes, “is a way of keeping tabs on what I care most about, the purest stuff, the matters of the heart that don’t expire. It’s what matters to teenagers, and revisiting the teenage perspective has been oddly centering for me. It’s a reminder of what’s important, and the emotional dramas that persist through life.”

Ezra Furman releases collection of demos via Bandcamp

Ezra Furman has announced a Bandcamp exclusive collection of Demos, Rehearsals and Shots in the Dark from her 2018 album Transangelic Exodus on a pay what you want/can basis.

Described by Furman as “a kind of audio ‘making of’ document for fans of the record” proceeds from sales of the collection, titled To Them We’ll Always Be Freaks will go to help support Furman’s band and touring crew who’s income has been affected due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the cancellation of forthcoming tour dates. Furman has also announced her European tour dates, due to start later this month, have been rescheduled until later in the year due to the global health crisis. Full dates can be found HERE.

To Them We’ll Always Be Freaks

aka Making Ourselves Up in the Rearview Mirror

aka “Wing That Shit”

Demos, Rehearsals and Shots in the Dark for Transangelic Exodus

“Welcome to a collection of malformed reject recordings, the unpolished refuse of the process of making our 2018 LP, Transangelic Exodus. I’m proud of the final version of the record, but I always yearned to let people glimpse some of the strange process of making it.

We all knew that we wanted to approach making this record differently than we had our other albums. In the past we’d usually listen to my solo acoustic recording of a song, talk about what we might do with it, get the band all together in a room and go with our best instincts of how to bring it to life. This time, we wanted to abandon our first instincts. Tim’s idea was that I should get together one on one with each band member and see what we came up with together when the others weren’t watching. Try out different combinations of band members and think of ourselves as a different band, playing for a different audience, or no audience. We wanted to get weird. Then we’d pool our findings and try to make a record of maximal impact, maximal originality and excitement.

So what we have here are some of the more listenable or potentially interesting artifacts of that process, which began in 2016 and really got going in early 2017. The last recordings featured here are from around March 2017—after that point we were working on the actual tracks for the record, where (as you can hear on the album) we made all kind of other steps forward, toward what I consider the best thing I’ve ever made.

This is for fans of Transangelic Exodus who want to hear a little bit of the process of mutation along the way. There’s a lot more that I won’t ever show you. Also, I’ve only included versions of the songs that made it onto the final album; there were many more songs we left behind as we realized they wouldn’t be part of the best record we could make. I also left off most of the solo acoustic demos; I kept one or two that showed how much the songs progressed from my initial idea for them. But I wanted to keep the whole experience close to the average length of a feature film. One shouldn’t spend too much longer than that being this up close and personal with my psyche.

I have catalogued the tracks with the personnel that appears on that track, plus my best guess at a date of the recording. The band members (The Visions) are: Ben Joseph, Jorgen Jorgensen, Sam Durkes and Tim Sandusky.

I’m very grateful that the weird passionate fictional-conceptual record we made has some fans that appreciate it. This is a little X-Ray of the process if you’re curious. The fact that you’ve let my dark hopeful dreams into your heart means so, so much to me. I hope those dreams are as useful to you as they have been to me.”

Love,

Ezra Furman