Ezra Furman doubles up, Shura takes the stage, Rusty Reid goes searching and more in today’s Roundup. It’s way too hot to work today. But just the right temperature to drink beer. See you at the bar. Cheers.
1 Ezra Furman is out to double your pleasure. The androgynous singer-songwriter is back with not one but two new singles to preview his Aug. 30 album Twelve Nudes. First and foremost: The retro-waltz I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend. Last but far from least: The strummy stomper Evening Prayer. Go both ways. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Of I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend, Furman says: “This 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.” Of Evening Prayer, Furman states: “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.” Two for the show, here you go, one above and one below:
2 Some people compare first dates to job auditions. Not surprisingly, singer-songwriter Shura seems to have a more musical interpretation in her single The Stage — the latest glimpse of her Aug. 16 album Forevher. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “I had travelled to NYC to go on it, so I was a little bit nervous as this was definitely THE most high stakes date I’d ever been on,” says Shura. “I DM’d my friends MUNA who were playing a show the night that I arrived and asked them if they could get us both in, and they loved the concept of a first date at a MUNA gig. I wasn’t sure how the date was going until she took my hand whilst trying to lead me to a spot where I could see them play (i.e. basically nowhere in the venue as I’m too short!). Then I knew it was all going to be OK.” On with the show:
3 From Janis Joplin and Roky Erickson to Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Doug Sahm, Texas has produced its fair share of hippie-rockers over the years — some might even say more than its fair share. In any case, here’s another name to add to that list: Rusty Reid. The singer-guitarist makes his home in the Pacific Northwest these days, but don’t let that fool you: Between the rootsy earthiness of his music and the spiritual bent of his lyrics, he’s clearly an old-school cosmic cowboy of the first order. And if his track I Went Searching — from his latest indie album Head to Heart — reminds you a little of The Beatles (especially the quiet one) during their Maharishi days, I suspect he’d be OK with that. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Rusty writes melodic, guitar-powered songs, many of which are philosophic, political and/or spiritual (not religious) in thematic content. He writes songs for the world, extolling universal virtue, defending the oppressed and frequently throwing musical fireballs at the citadel of conformity and all of its many cults.” Seek and ye shall find him here:
4 Some people try to reach for the stars. Whitby indie pop-rockers Laughed the Boy prefer to reach for something a tad closer on their hazy new orch-pop outing Sun, a sneak peek at their upcoming album Change of Scenery. Soak it up. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “You know when you’re obsessed with a certain goal or idea, not even knowing why, but you just keep chasing after it anyway? Our new song, Sun, initially came as a bit of a metaphor for that feeling. I was looking at my plants and how they’re always reaching and growing in the direction of the light.” No sunscreen required:
5 I don’t get a lot of experimental synth-pop from New Brunswick. So I don’t know if Artifiseer is an outlier or part of a larger scene in Saint John. All I can tell you is that his track Lavender is 2:20 of gently pulsing trippiness and soulfully smoky crooning. All of which makes me interested in hearing his upcoming album Syncretist whenever it arrives. See if it does the same for you. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “Melancholic experimental pop steeped in glitched electronic psychedelia.” Colour your world:
6 As a co-worker of mine once noted: “Darryl videotaped the ’80s.” He wasn’t far wrong. Not surprisingly, then, I had to check out Nashville synth-popster Chey Rose’s latest single V.C.R. And even though it isn’t really about VCRs, the cut’s sugar-frosted bliss and irresistible headnodding groove are guaranteed to keep bringing you back for repeated plays. Just don’t wear out your head. SAYS THE PRESS RELEASE: “It’s a synth driven chill-pop song about the exciting rush of new love.” Beta-test it here: