Fusilier Shares New Release
“Dancing In The Street”
Upstream EP Out Now On Brassland
Gothamist once described Blake Fusilier’s sound as “something you’d hear in a nightclub at the end of the world.” Last week that narrative shifted with the release of a meditative, deeply felt drone-ballad “Upstream.” NPR Music praised it as a “slow core revival” and Paste Magazine called it a “sweeping, minimal R&B-pop song led by awe-inspiring strings,” and one of the best songs of May, while The Line of Best Fit in the UK named it “Song of The Day.”
Now the nightclub at the end of the world returns with Fusilier’s re-imagining of the Motown classic “Dancing In the Street.” Fusilier’s version turns the song into a queer indie punk fever dream coincidentally released at the kick off of Pride Month.
Says Fusilier in a blistering critique of what the LGBTQ month of remembrance, Pride Month, had become in the pre-pandemic era: “Pride is so boring. A protest-cum-celebration of marginalized people has become a mirror for the existing hierarchies of society. The people who now need uplift and recognition are the people who ‘Gay’ movements hide. They’re women, they’re queer, they’re trans and non-binary, they’re poor, they’re HIV positive, they’re Black. They’re the ones who aren’t going to bank with Santander because they’re issuing debit cards decorated with rainbows. We should get back to our riotous roots.”
Of the song & accompanying video, Fusilier and his collaborator Kevin Alexander call upon a very different activists and artists who inspire him including Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Toni Morrison and, least known of these, Black gay minimalist composer and vocalist Julius Eastman and his composition “Gay Guerrilla”. Eastman was a major presence on New York’s ‘downtown’ scene of the 70s & 80s who died tragically before the age of 50. Now experiencing a major revival, Fusilier connects to Eastman’s legacy of pro-Black and pro-gay provocations which did not eschew a potential for radical political violence.
Thirty years after Eastman’s death, Fusilier recalls one of the few times on record where we hear the deceased artist speak—literally transcribing Eastman’s words across his own likeness at the video’s climax. Says Fusilier, “In 1980, Julius Eastman once introduced one of his most popular works, ‘Gay Guerrilla,’ to an audience at Northwestern University on what we now know as the first day of Pride month. This is how he closed his introduction:
“A guerrilla is someone who is, in any case, sacrificing his life for a point of view. And if there is a cause, and if it is a great cause, those who belong to that cause will sacrifice their blood. Because without blood there is no cause. So, therefore, that is the reason that I use ‘Gay Guerrilla,’ in hopes that I might be one if called upon to be one.”
The video for “Dancing In The Street” is an expression of my subconscious. It’s a collection of imagery that I keep in mind when I make music. It’s an acknowledgment that there’s a legacy of Black, trans and queer voices that was largely disappeared to history and a reminder that the people who they opposed are still in power.”
Easily the most captivating cover of this classic hit, re-worked to showcase the powerful talents of Fusilier and the voice which needs to be heard. Such a provocative and enticing composition- the emotion covey’s something so sincere and so fresh from a release heard by so many.
Fusilier’s Upstream EP is out now via Brassland and is available on Bandcamp here.
We recently featured the first single from the EP- Upstream starts with a bleak outlook, dark discordant notes pluck and move the composition with the emotive and soothing vocals resonating across the formidable tone. The vocals captivate, the audience is hooked to every lyric being crafted within this bold track. Dark and desirable- this track builds on its atmosphere. This artist can skill-fully mould and project raw emotion within their escapism- an incredible feat.
The EP is out now.