Another Restless Year
Blew my 200th post on the DFW bit. Well, here I’ll celebrate my 201st with the Best Album of 2015 (so far), and another one that’s pretty good.
EZRA FURMAN – Perpetual Motion People (Bella Union): Imagine a Jonathan Richman/Richard Hell hybrid stuffed into a striped dress with lipstick and a ‘real fake pearl necklace’ fronting a backup band called the Boyfriends bouncing back and forth between doo-wop and self-destructive punk and that’d only scratch the surface of who the mercurial Ezra Furman is. He reads Steiner in diners while waiting for a bus to wherever. His onstage antics include reenacting sessions with his therapist. Does he feel “Wobbly” because he’s had one too many drinks? Or are his heels too high? Or is it because no one can pin him down due to his gender fluidity? On “Body Was Made” he shrugs that “there’s really nothing any obstetrician can say” and reminds those of a similar plight “Your body is yours at the end of the day / and don’t let the hateful try and take it away.” Furman’s snarl switches from the sinister to the sickly sweet to the completely unstable depending on whatever impulse he has. His bisexual subject matter infused with late 70s American punk and the R&B flavors of two decades prior is so jolting—especially over the doo-wop—because his raw sexual energy illuminates that particular era’s homoerotic undertones as though it were the most obvious thing in the world. But overall he’s a young guy losing his mind—not because he can’t decide which shade matches his shoes, but because he lives in a world with which he’s got a “Lousy Connection.” When he says “One Day I Will Sin No More,” it’s not because he’ll have given up his lifestyle, it’ll be because the world will have gotten a little bit nicer. He may be a punk, but he’s still an optimist, otherwise he would’ve said “might” instead of “will.” Brilliant album. A
VERUCA SALT – Ghost Notes (El Camino): Despite its loudness, this is not similar to their Brad Wood-produced, grunge-heavy debut American Thighs, which will soon celebrate its twenty-first birthday. No, no; that loudness, once again directed by Wood, is grounded in melody heavily dependent on a rumbling bass and rhythm guitar drone, safely nestled under the meaningless umbrella term ‘alternative rock,’ with frontwomen Nina Gordon and Louise Post’s deceptively sweet voices upending the thunder. What this does share with American Thighs is subject manner. Post and Gordon have a frankness with which they talk about their past flings and fights: “I remember that love / I remember that blood you drew,” “I’m the greatest fucking thing that ever happened to you.” “The Sound of Leaving” could be a Cobain leftover, “Eyes on You” the anthem of this generation, or the last one, or the next. Perhaps I’d appreciate the album more if I knew the intricacies of the band’s inner turmoil that originally caused them to split in ’98, but it’s not necessary: Post and Gordon never sound more sincere, here or on any other album, than when they plead with each other, “Wait, don’t grow up yet.” Tells you everything you need to know about their relationship. A MINUS