Day of the Dog
Following hot on the heels of CD release of The Year of No Returning, Ezra Furman issued Day of the Dog, his second solo effort after a fruitful five year/four album stint leading Boston’s Harpoons. Day Of the Dog was recorded at Studio Ballistico in Chicago, engineered and produced by Tim Sandusky.
Day of the Dog sees Furman progressing from the dark chamber-pop and gorgeous balladry of his solo debut and emerging as a stylish, technicolor, pulse-quickening rock provocateur conjuring an intriguing selection of iconic vintage styles. The album was recorded with the members of his regular touring band The Boy-Friends: Sam Durkes – drums, percussion; Ben Joseph – piano, miscellaneous; Jorgen Jorgensen – bass, miscellaneous; Tim Sandusky – saxophone. Furman supplied vocals, guitar, miscellaneous. Throughout the album, there is a sense of bold ambition and grand artistry in the tradition of songwriting giants of the past, but set apart by an undercurrent of deranged, ragged glory.
Songs like "My Zero" and “Been So Strange” take the broad-stroke tunefulness of 80s heartland rock, strip off the gloss, deconstruct it, and reassemble it along unsettling and far more potent lines. "Tell 'Em All to Go to Hell," "Anything Can Happen" and "And Maybe God is a Train," affect a lurid 70s glam stance – jittery drumming driving glitter-and-dirt smeared guitar, strategically gilded with leering sax lines. Meanwhile, the title track evokes the shock therapy of John Lennon’s initial harrowing post-Beatles albums – stark piano chords reverberating over massive but minimalist drums. Through it all, Ezra sings in a uniquely stylized yet powerful voice that alternates between odd, tremulous beauty and startling, guttural viscerality.
For Day of the Dog it’s all about the rock ‘n’ roll with some punk panache thrown in. Ezra once again re-invented himself , this time as an angry young man ready to throw himself on the pyre in search of the redemption that will follow.
The Year of No Return
Chicago native Ezra Furman’s solo debut The Year Of No Returning is being released for the first time on CD by venerable independent label Bar/None Records. The album was recorded in Chicago in the attic/studio at the top of his former residence, produced and co-masterminded by Tim Sandusky. The Year Of No Returning hits stores July 16.
The Year Of No Returning explores dark chamber pop, tough-guy garage rock and sad, gorgeous balladry. Furman was joined in the studio by a bunch of fiery local musicians who have since coalesced into his touring band “The Boy-Friends.” Furman sings in an uniquely stylized yet powerful voice that alternates between odd, tremulous beauty and startling, guttural viscerality. Ezra songwriting is top-drawer throughout, rooted in tradition, but always with a twisted unsettling tone. "Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde" is a haunting account of deep alienation and isolation featuring an inventive, pulsing arrangement of saxophone, clarinet and sleigh bells. "That's When it Hit Me" goes into full-on rock'n'roll mode, Furman and his drummer howling drunkenly through an account of graphic violence inflicted on the singer. "The Queen of Hearts" closes the proceedings with a wounded but hopeful declaration of spiritual independence. Throughout the album, senses bold ambition and grand artistry in the tradition of songwriting giants of the past, but set apart by an undercurrent of deranged, ragged glory.
He formed his first band Ezra Furman & The Harpoons in 2006, while attending Tufts University in 2006. His lead singing and songwriting connected with listeners like a left hook to the jaw, a mix of stinging garage-rock and stripped-down acoustic numbers. He would write and record a total of four albums with this combo: Banging Down the Doors (2007), Inside the Human Body (2008), Moon Face (2009) and Mysterious Power (2011). Furman and the band toured extensively during this period, winning a cult of hardcore fans across the U.S. as well as in Europe.
Ultimately, Ezra parted ways with that band, returned home to Chicago holed up in an attic recording studio and wrote and recorded the cycle of ten songs – each assigned to a particular month of the year (excepting January and February) he’d title The Year Of No Returning.. His aim was the self-professed "lofty goal of real protest."