Ezra Furman: Five Essential Albums

Ezra Fuman (photo by Tonje Thilesen, PR)
by Kara Manning | 03/03/2023 | 12:01am

Ezra Furman (photo by Tonje Thilesen, PR)

Women's history is world history, but care is taken in March to elevate the message and mission of Women's History Month. We've asked some of the "Women We Love" to write about their "Five Essential Albums" for FUV.

Over the course of six solo albums — and three in her former band with the Harpoons — Ezra Furman has innately understood the spiritual power of rock 'n' roll and the transformative chance to reveal yourself, and comfort others, in a lyrical life's journey.

So, it makes perfect sense that this empathetic songwriter, whose most recent album is 2022's All Of Us Flames, began attending rabbinical school in 2021, balancing study with her own music, scoring (Netflix's "Sex Education"), touring, writing, activism, motherhood, and radio gigs.

Furman's songs, like "Dressed in Black" or "Forever in Sunset" on All Of Us Flames, are arresting in their potency, especially with the frightening rise of anti-transgender legislation and antisemitism in the United States. (The album was released with a listeners' companion book, None Of Us Ashes.)

"This is a first person plural album," Furman says in her ANTI- label bio. "It's a queer album for the stage of life when you start to understand that you are not a lone wolf, but depend on finding your family, your people, how you work as part of a larger whole. I wanted to make songs for use by threatened communities, and particularly the ones I belong to: trans people and Jews."

As far as music-and-production touchstones for All Of Us Flames, Furman was drawn to Eighties-era Bob Dylan and classic Sixties girl groups. Curious about what other artists and albums might be on Ezra's mind as she prepares for her North American tour beginning this month (which includes a stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg on March 23), FUV asked her to write about her "Five Essential Albums."

Ezra Furman: Five Essential Albums:

Fiona Apple, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do
My favorite album by one of the most powerful sorcerers of our time. Heart-slicing songs set to perfectly simple but strange music, delivered with the ideal blend of viciousness and vulnerability.

Big Thief, Capacity
Proved to me in 2017 that the possibilities for a songwriter with a band are nowhere near exhausted. The mystery and beauty of this album stun me every time I turn it on.

Little Simz, GREY Area
A perfect rap record that I got completely addicted to. Helps remind me what language can do, especially when someone really believes in themself.

Titus Andronicus, The Monitor
One of the most ambitious expressions of the spirit of punk I've ever heard, an explosively effective manifesto that you can scream along to. I never heard anything that made me more excited to be a loser.

Alex Walton, SHAME MUSIC
My current obsession, spurring me to keep exploring what songs can do. She evokes it so well, the passionate battle to find out who you are in a world that tries to shame you out of existence. Extremely excited to play a show with her soon (March 22 in Cambridge, Massachusetts!).

- Ezra Furman
March 2023

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