With his highly anticipated new album, Twelve Nudes, due August 30th via Bella Union, Erza Furman has shared two new tracks from the LP. For Furman, new single “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” “Is a romantic song of transgender longing. It’s another entry in my series of ‘I Wanna’ songs (in the tradition of the Ramones). I thought it was time we had an ‘Earth Angel’ for the queers. Of course because it’s an Ezra Furman tune, there’s a little bit of desperation, religion and body-talk.”. It comes with a brilliant video directed by Alix Spence, who shared that; “Listening to the song and speaking with Ezra, I saw our two dancers, Brandon Mathis and and Jobel Medina, as physical manifestations of internal suffering. I wanted to literally have us wrestle with ourselves and the complexities of our personal struggles.
Of the additional single “Evening Prayer”, Furman states: “It’s our rallying cry. We music fans go to shows for transcendence; it’s like being called to prayer. But as Abraham Heschel said, ‘Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism and falsehood.’ I want all our fans to become activists. We punk fans have so much energy to give to the fight against injustice, i.e. the abuse of the poor by the rich, i.e. climate change. So this is one to get you in the mood.”
Last year was a championing year for Furman – since the release of the “layered, baroque pop melodrama” (Billboard) Transangelic Exodus, Furman has garnered immense praise, both forTransangelic Exodus and the soundtrack he created for Netflix’s Sex Education (he and his band also appeared in an episode). Twelve Nudes, his new and “spiritually queer” punk record, continues this same wavelength, and is an incendiary and inspiring follow-up. Across the album, Furman channels pent-up energy, distinguished by sharp, lacerating observations, confessions and proclamations.
Twelve Nudes was recorded quickly in Oakland in Fall 2018 and was mixed by venerated producer John Congleton (Sharon Van Etten, St. Vincent). The result is an album that is less stereotypical punk than raw, raucous rock’n’roll. The album has two spiritual heroes – the late great punk Jay Reatard and Canadian writer and philosopher Anne Carson. The title stems directly from Carson, who used the term “nudes” to describe the meditations she used to deal with intense pain in her life.
“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.”
One of my goals in making music is to make the world seem bigger, and life seem larger,” Furman 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.”
Watch the video for “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” –