Ezra Furman has announced news of his new album, Transangelic Exodus, released 9th February on Bella Union. Furman has also unveiled the first single from the LP, “Love You So Bad”, which is streaming below, and announced a number of international live dates.
Transangelic Exodus is a new chapter for the American singer-songwriter: “Not a concept record, but almost a novel, or a cluster of stories on a theme, a combination of fiction and a half-true memoir,” according to its author. “A personal companion for a paranoid road trip. A queer outlaw saga.”
In honour of this shift, his backing band has been newly christened: The Boy-Friends are dead, long live The Visions. In other words, the man who embodies the title of his last album ‘Perpetual Motion People’ is still on the move… Or, in the vernacular of the new album, on the run.
“The narrative thread,” Furman declares, “is I’m in love with an angel, and a government is after us, and we have to leave home because angels are illegal, as is harbouring angels. The term ‘transangelic’ refers to the fact people become angels because they grow wings. The have an operation, and they’re transformed. And it causes panic because some people think it’s contagious, or it should just be outlawed.”
“The album still works without the back story, though,” he vouches. “What’s essential is the mood – paranoid, authoritarian, the way certain people are stigmatised. It’s a theme in American life right now, and other so-called democracies.”
Credit: Jason Simmons (Larger Image)
After ‘Perpetual Motion People’ was released in July 2015, Furman moved back from California (Oakland) to his home town of Chicago. But after a year, he returned to the west coast (Berkeley this time). “I just seem to keep moving,” he sighs. Still, Transangelic Exodus was mostly recorded – as all Furman’s records have been since 2011 – at his bandmate (saxophonist/producer) Tim Sandusky’s Ballistico Studios in Chicago, and with the other Visions – Jorgen Jorgensen (bass, and on this album, cello), Ben Joseph (keyboards, guitar) and Sam Durkes (drums/percussion).
“Having ‘trans’ in the album title has a lot to do with being queer, like [album finale] ‘I Lost My Innocence’ [“…to a boy named Vincent”). That early experience marks the narrator for life. From a young age, because of issues surrounding gender and sexuality, I felt fated to have an outsider perspective. It radicalises you.”
Part of Furman’s motivation is the, “fear of fascist takeover,” expressed in the video to ‘Driving Down To L.A.’ (filmed in Virginia, and uncannily storyboarded before the state’s infamous Charlottesville “Unite The Right” rally), as Ezra and his angel are pursued by modern-day Nazis. “At school, we learned all about the Holocaust, and were invited to imagine what would happen if the Nazis invaded again. As white supremacy has become more explicitly institutionalised in the US, my childhood nightmares have started to show up in songs.”
Saturday 3rd February – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club tickets
Sunday 4th February – LIVERPOOL – Arts Club tickets
Saturday 10th February – FOLKESTONE – Quarterhouse tickets
Transangelic Exodus will be released 9th February on Bella Union. Album artwork and tracklisting below:
Transangelic Exodus tracklist:
1. Suck The Blood From My Wound
2. Driving Down To L.A.
3. God Lifts Up The Lowly
4. No Place
5. The Great Unknown
6. Compulsive Liar
7. Maraschino–Red Dress $8.99 At Goodwill
8. From A Beach House
9. Love You So Bad
10. Come Here Get Away From Me
11. Peel My Orange Every Morning
12. Psalm 151
13. I Lost My Innocence
Image Credit: Jason Simmons