Ezra Furman announces UK tour in November

Just a year and a half since the release of his critically acclaimed LP Transangelic Exodus, Ezra Furman returns with Twelve Nudes, yet another incendiary and inspiring classic from the singer/songwriter. The album will be released worldwide on 30th August via Bella Union and is available to pre-order here.

Today, Furman also announces a UK tour in November, including London’s O2 Forum Kentish Town on 14th. The new dates go on-sale this Friday 7th June at 9am GMT. All dates listed HERE.

“This is our punk record,” says Ezra Furman. “We made it in Oakland, quickly. We drank and smoked. Then we made the loud parts louder. I hurt my voice screaming. This was back in 2018, when things were bad in the world. The songs are naked with nothing to hide.”

Immediate proof is offered by ‘Calm Down’ (aka ‘I Should Not Be Alone’), the album’s insanely catchy opening track and lead single, bound up in a compact two minutes and 22 seconds.

“Desperate times make for desperate songs” says Furman. “I wrote this in the summer of 2018, a terrible time. It’s the sound of me struggling to admit that I’m not okay with the current state of human civilization, in which bad men crush us into submission. Once you admit how bad it feels to live in a broken society, you can start to resist it, and imagine a better one.” 

Furman’s preceding album, 2018’s Transangelic Exodus, was “an angry and fearful and pent-up reaction to events too,” he recalls. “But it was a carefully written and recorded version; we took a lot of time with edits and overdubs. I knew I wanted I make this album quickly and not spend time thinking how to play the songs. Twelve Nudes is a ‘body’ more than a ‘mind’ record – more animal than intellectual, And by affirming negativity, it gives you energy, to reject stuff. There’s more space for positivity.”

Far from being defeated by a world in turmoil, Furman’s productivity has only increased the worse things have got – and he’s taken up different disciplines to boot. Between Transangelic Exodus and Twelve Nudes, the 33⅓ imprint published his deeply personal, thoughtful and incisive book on Lou Reed’s legendary 1972 album “Transformer”, before Furman scored the soundtrack to Netflix’s acclaimed comedy Sex Education (it aired in January), which showcased the tender side of his songwriting.

But all his pent-up energy had to be channelled somewhere: hence Twelve Nudes, which Furman and band recorded in October and November 2018 before the album was mixed by the venerated producer John Congleton (Sharon van Etten, St Vincent, John Grant). Furman says the album has two spiritual heroes – the late great punk rock rocker Jay Reatard, and Canadian poet, philosopher and essayist Anne Carson. “She’s one of my top three living writers,” he says. “Anne had these visions, or meditations, to deal with the intense pain in her life, which she calls ‘nudes’, and similarly these songs are meditations on pain and recognising what’s there if you go digging around in your anger and fear and anxiety. So, my album is called Twelve Nudes.”

“The record is political,” says Furman, “but it offers an emotional reaction rather than being specific or partisan.” Furman’s Jewish identity shapes ‘Rated R Crusaders,’ triggered by the Israel/Palestine conflict and its complex web of refugee trauma. ‘Trauma’, meanwhile, seethes with the spiritual malaise brought on by watching wealthy bullies accused of sexual assault rise to power. America, Furman well knows, is balanced on a knife-edge between white male supremacy and the dream of universal opportunity; hence the references to Mexico, slaveowners and US ‘founding father’ Ben Franklin in ‘In America’. As Furman sings, reiterating the spirit of punk rock, and positivity, “Put it all in a two-minute pop song / A really-mean-it-a-lot song for America.

“One of my goals in making music is to make the world seem bigger, and life seem larger,” he concludes. “I want to be a force that tries to revive the human spirit rather than crush it, to open possibilities rather than close them down. Sometimes a passionate negativity is the best way to do that.”

Twelve Nudes will be released 30th August via Bella Union.

Ezra Furman announces ‘Twelve Nudes’

Just a year and a half since the release of his critically acclaimed LP Transangelic Exodus, Ezra Furman returns with Twelve Nudes, yet another incendiary and inspiring classic from the singer/songwriter/guitarist/bandleader. The album will be released worldwide on 30th August via Bella Union and is available to pre-order here. To celebrate the release Furman has shared an animated video for the album’s lead track “Calm Down”, directed by Beth Jeans Houghton. Additionally, Furman has announced news of an extensive international touring schedule the dates of which are here.

“This is our punk record,” says Ezra Furman. “We made it in Oakland, quickly. We drank and smoked. Then we made the loud parts louder. I hurt my voice screaming. This was back in 2018, when things were bad in the world. The songs are naked with nothing to hide.”

Immediate proof is offered by ‘Calm Down’ (aka ‘I Should Not Be Alone’), the album’s insanely catchy opening track and lead single, bound up in a compact two minutes and 22 seconds.

“Desperate times make for desperate songs” says Furman. “I wrote this in the summer of 2018, a terrible time. It’s the sound of me struggling to admit that I’m not okay with the current state of human civilization, in which bad men crush us into submission. Once you admit how bad it feels to live in a broken society, you can start to resist it, and imagine a better one.” 

Furman’s preceding album, 2018’s Transangelic Exodus, was “an angry and fearful and pent-up reaction to events too,” he recalls. “But it was a carefully written and recorded version; we took a lot of time with edits and overdubs. I knew I wanted I make this album quickly and not spend time thinking how to play the songs. Twelve Nudes is a ‘body’ more than a ‘mind’ record – more animal than intellectual, And by affirming negativity, it gives you energy, to reject stuff. There’s more space for positivity.”

Far from being defeated by a world in turmoil, Furman’s productivity has only increased the worse things have got – and he’s taken up different disciplines to boot. Between Transangelic Exodus and Twelve Nudes, the 33⅓ imprint published his deeply personal, thoughtful and incisive book on Lou Reed’s legendary 1972 album “Transformer”, before Furman scored the soundtrack to Netflix’s acclaimed comedy Sex Education (it aired in January), which showcased the tender side of his songwriting.

But all his pent-up energy had to be channelled somewhere: hence Twelve Nudes, which Furman and band recorded in October and November 2018 before the album was mixed by the venerated producer John Congleton (Sharon van Etten, St Vincent, John Grant). Furman says the album has two spiritual heroes – the late great punk rock rocker Jay Reatard, and Canadian poet, philosopher and essayist Anne Carson. “She’s one of my top three living writers,” he says. “Anne had these visions, or meditations, to deal with the intense pain in her life, which she calls ‘nudes’, and similarly these songs are meditations on pain and recognising what’s there if you go digging around in your anger and fear and anxiety. So, my album is called Twelve Nudes.”

“The record is political,” says Furman, “but it offers an emotional reaction rather than being specific or partisan.” Furman’s Jewish identity shapes ‘Rated R Crusaders,’ triggered by the Israel/Palestine conflict and its complex web of refugee trauma. ‘Trauma’, meanwhile, seethes with the spiritual malaise brought on by watching wealthy bullies accused of sexual assault rise to power. America, Furman well knows, is balanced on a knife-edge between white male supremacy and the dream of universal opportunity; hence the references to Mexico, slaveowners and US ‘founding father’ Ben Franklin in ‘In America’. As Furman sings, reiterating the spirit of punk rock, and positivity, “Put it all in a two-minute pop song / A really-mean-it-a-lot song for America.

“One of my goals in making music is to make the world seem bigger, and life seem larger,” he concludes. “I want to be a force that tries to revive the human spirit rather than crush it, to open possibilities rather than close them down. Sometimes a passionate negativity is the best way to do that.”

Twelve Nudes will be released 30th August via Bella Union and is available to preorder here.

Ezra Furman shares “Good Book”

Previously only available on limited vinyl, Ezra Furman has announced the digital release of his covers EP Songs By Others on 22nd February via Bella Union. The EP features a number of hand-picked cover songs including Melanie’s “Good Book”, also used on Netflix series, Sex Education, which Ezra has written the soundtrack for. Read Ezra’s thoughts on the song and EP, and listen to “Good Book” below: Ezra says of “Good Book”: “It’s a genius song. I had actually never heard a song that is about what that song is about: how an audience wants something from a performer and wants reassurance, like, “Tell us you love us with a book or a song or a poem because we need it.” And that was a time when we were putting out Perpetual Motion People, and we had really been pretty obscure. That was the first album of ours that came out where it felt like a lot of people were waiting for it to come out and talking about it and playing the lead single on the radio. So I was just thinking a lot about what can be emotional or tender or beautiful in the audience-performer relationship. That song is like, “Tell us you love us so we don’t feel alone,” and it seems like the best thing a song could do — to make someone not feel so alone.”

Speaking about his love of cover songs, Ezra says:

“A good song takes you far,” sang Jackson Browne on tour in the 70’s. It’s true, and very strange– how these little three-minute compositions crafted on a whim in a bedroom end up bringing us out on planes and highways, into bars and ballrooms and radio stations, pouring out our hearts and lungs for those who themselves were pulled out of their rooms and into the world by the power of song. Browne understood this: he himself was covering Danny O’Keefe’s perfect ode to the bizarre, bittersweet life of a traveling musician, and when I listen to it crammed in a van full of instruments speeding across rainy Germany, it hits hard.

I have always played other people’s songs, alone and with friends, at home and on the road. I know our audiences’ main interest is in our original songs, and for that I’m honored. But I can’t seem to stop playing covers. Every time we are preparing to go on tour I can’t help assembling the Boy-Friends and demanding that we learn a new cover song to play live. I listen to so much great music and just ache to be able to inhabit it more fully. I want to be Beck or Melanie or Jackie Wilson. So this record is me playing dress-up, with the help of my incredible band.

(Don’t miss that point– The Boy-Friends are an incredible band that can do anything, without whom my voice would not be in your earholes.)

Thanks for indulging us in these cover versions, pieced together from studio recordings, recordings made on tour in backstage rooms and hotels, and a live show in Austria. I’d like to point out that we’ve included a song from every decade since rock’n’roll has been a viable marketing category, the 1950’s through the 2010’s. You are encouraged to look up the original versions if you’ve never heard them. They blew my mind.”

– Ezra, December 2015