HOT GIG ALERT: Ezra Furman at The Sinclair (10/29)
Ezra Furman released his seminal album, Transangelic Exodus, on Bella Union earlier this year. His seventh album was a landmark 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 Furman. “A personal companion for a paranoid road trip. A queer outlaw saga.” It’s a fitting artistic statement for an artist always on the move, always evolving. Transangelic Exodus was mostly recorded – as all Furman’srecords have been since 2011 – at his bandmate Tim Sandusky’s Ballistico Studios in Chicago, alongside other bandmates – Jorgen Jorgensen Ben Joseph and Sam Durkes.
Throughout the record, Furman’s musical DNA remains intact – a thrilling, literate form of garage-punk rooted in The Velvet Underground, Jonathan Richman and ‘50s rock’n’roll. But Transangelic Exodus is noticeably different to its predecessors. “2016 was a hard year, while the political and cultural conversation devolved in a very threatening way, we traveled and toured a lot. We saw ourselves coming to the end of what we were, and we wanted to become something new.”
Checking Furman’s successive album covers will show his personal journey, coming out as queer and gender-fluid, which the jagged, agitated ‘Maraschino-Red Dress $8.99 at Goodwill’ meets head-on, namely “the painful experience of being a closeted gender-non-conforming person. 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 radicalizes you.”