WUSC 101: Ezra Furman
by Groove Girl // PB & Jams
A spirited conglomeration of indie, punk rock, and art pop; Ezra Furman is a hidden gem in the world of music, slowly emerging into the limelight they so rightfully deserve. Every album they have produced is personal, raw, and tortured in its own way. This is music that stands apart.
Reminiscent of Mitski, The Ramones, and David Bowie, Furman provides a kind of off-kilter musical experience beyond that of any other artist I’ve heard, and they have continued producing music as an underground artist since their debut in 2006. Their lyrics are consistently crafted with intention, handpicked poetry intertwined with genuine sound. Their voice is distinct and addictive. And with instruments ranging from barry saxophone to electric guitar, Furman doesn’t shy away from creating music that is cinematic, multi-dimensional, and bold.
You can feel their inner feelings reflected back into your eardrums with every song they sing, dripping with emotion like it’s paint on a canvas, and that would make sense, since this is truly art. Furman is a musical Picasso; built upon surrealism and full of expression, their unmatched passion for song spills all over the damn metaphorical page. Blood, sweat, and tears are shed in the creation of this music.
Furman creates the kind of music that can only come from true pain and life experience. As to how they make their music so personal, Ezra said in a recent interview:
“That teenage thing, of not being able to talk about your secret inner life, is the reason I’m a songwriter and musician…sometimes you need the music to fully convey what can’t be said in everyday conversation.”
Furman’s music is not just sound waves built to entertain, but long-lost therapy sessions and concealed diary entries intended to evoke emotion and create meaning.
A Brief Musical History
•Ezra Furman’s music career began with their first band, Ezra Furman and The Harpoons, who met at Tufts University. They started up with a new band, The Visions, in 2012 with their album The Year of No Returning, which they self-funded and self-released.
•Next came Day of the Dog, released by Bar/None Records in 2013. Michael Hann, a reviewer for The Guardian, said about this record: “Ezra Furman has made an album of classicist rock’n’roll that never feels like an exercise, but a living, breathing piece of self-expression.” During the production of this album, Furman began to more openly address their opinions on gender and sexuality.
•In 2015 Furman released Perpetual Motion People, then an EP in 2016 titled Big Fugitive Life, which they described as an ending to a musical chapter of their life.
•Their 2018 album Transangelic Exodus follows a narrative of Furman and an angel on the road escaping an oppressive government.
•In 2019, Ezra released Twelve Nudes. About this album they said: “Twelve Nudes is a ‘body’ more than a ‘mind’ record – more animal than intellectual, and by affirming negativity, it gives you energy, to reject stuff. There’s more space for positivity.” They call both this album and Transangelic Exodus, “spiritually queer record[s].”
•In 2019, Ezra wrote the soundtrack for the hit Netflix series Sex Education, for which they are best known. Furman recalls creators of the show Sian Robins-Grace and Laurie Nunn telling them, “We want you to be the Simon & Garfunkel to our The Graduate.”