Announces new album, Twelve Nudes
Watch the video for new single, “Calm Down”:
Plus UK headline shows and festivals
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 preorder here.
To celebrate the release Furman has shared an animated video for the album’s lead track “Calm Down”, directed by Beth Jeans Houghton, which can be viewed HERE.
Additionally, Furman has announced news of an extensive international touring schedule the dates of which are listed below. “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, slave–owners 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.
Tue. May 28 – Hay on Wye, UK @ Hay Festival
Wed. May 29 – Norwich, UK @ Waterfront
Thu. May 30 – Sheffield, UK @ Foundry
Sun. June 2 – London, UK @ All Points East Festival
Sun. July 21 – Benicassim, ES @ Benicassim Festival
Tue. July 23 – Cork, IE @ Cyprus Avenue
Wed. July 24 – Dublin, IE @ Button Factory
Thu. July 25 – Galway, IE @ Galway Festival
Sun. July 28 – Topcliffe, UK @ Deer Shed Festival
Thu. Sept. 5 – St. Paul, MN @ Turf Club
Sat. Sept. 7 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
Sun. Sept. 8 – Detroit, MI @ El Club
Mon. Sept. 9 – Toronto, ON @ Lee’s Palace
Tue. Sept. 10 – Montreal, QC @ Bar Le Ritz P.D.B.
Wed. Sept. 11 – Cambridge, MA @ Sonia
Thu. Sept. 12 – Brooklyn, NY @ Warsaw
Sun. Sept. 15 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts
Mon. Sept. 16 – Washington, DC @ Union Stage
Sat. Nov. 16 – Cologne, DE @ Luxor
Sun. Nov. 17 – Berlin, DE @ Festsaal Kreuzberg
Tue. Nov. 19 – Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie
Fri. Nov. 20 – Brussels, BE @ Botanique / Rotonde
Sat. Nov. 21 – Amsterdam, NL @ Paradiso Noord
Mon. Nov. 23 – Hamburg, DE @ Molotow
Tue. Nov. 24 – Copenhagen, DK @ Vega
Wed. Nov. 25 – Gothenburg, SE @ Pustervik
Thu. Nov. 26 – Stockholm, SE @ Debaser Strand
Twelve Nudes tracklist:
1. Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone
2. Evening Prayer aka Justice
3. Transition From Nowhere to Nowhere
4. Rated R Crusaders
7. I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
9. My Teeth Hurt
10. In America
11. What Can You Do But Rock’n’Roll