|Carla Bozulich — Boy (March 4, 2014)|
Carla Bozulich — Boy
Δ Carla Bozulich’s solo records are stark, well crafted affairs that draw inspiration from classic honky–tonk.
Δ Boy is Carla’s self–proclaimed “pop record” and is a refreshing and much–needed reminder of what pop can mean in the hands of a ferociously commanding singer/lyricist who has cut her teeth on genre–bending, genre–blending, and DIY production for 25 years.
Born: New York City, New York, U.S.
Genres: Alternative rock, Alternative country, Noise
Instruments: vocals, guitar (Hagstrom), sampler, bass guitar
Location: Los Angeles, California
Album release: March 4, 2014
Record Label: Constellation
Formats: 180gLP/ CD / DL
01 Ain’t No Grave 3:11
02 One Hard Man 3:21
03 Drowned To The Light 4:06
04 Don’t Follow Me 3:44
05 Gonna Stop Killing 4:59
06 Deeper Than The Well 4:57
07 Danceland 4:57
08 Lazy Crossbones 3:57
09 What Is It Baby? 4:38
10 Number X 4:29 Δ We’re thrilled to announce the second of our 2014 releases: Boy, the latest from Evangelista leader Carla Bozulich — this time under her own name.
Δ Carla Bozulich is an art–punk heroine. Time and again she has headed up bands that sound like nothing else and arguably stake out genres unto themselves: the bent agit–prop of Ethyl Meatplow; the ferocious roots–tinged epic rock of The Geraldine Fibbers; the vocal–driven sound–art of Scarnella and Evangelista; her large–scale performances including the ongoing Eyes For Ears series. Her first “solo” record, the 2003 album–length cover of Willie Nelson’s Red Headed Stranger, was rightly hailed as a masterpiece of reinterpretation and recontextualisation. Her first album for Constellation was 2006’s Evangelista, after which Bozulich adopted the Evangelista moniker for subsequent work, and released three more albums between 2008 — 2011. She has set aside Evangelista for now, to focus on the songs that form Boy, her third record under her own name.
Δ Boy is Carla’s self–proclaimed “pop record” and undoubtedly it is, albeit within the context of her particular path of experimentation and deconstruction. Boy is a refreshing and much–needed reminder of what pop — as an oblique angle, influence, and intent — can do in the hands of a ferociously commanding singer/lyricist who has cut her teeth on genre–bending, genre–blending, and DIY aesthetics. Bozulich says she was “resuscitated” in her teenage years by punk rock, and then “destroyed, in a good way” by people re-inventing the idea of how music works. Here is a batch of ten songs that clock in at 3–5 minutes each, mostly hewing to recognizable structures of verse, chorus and bridge, but full of destabilizing accents and strategies, and nothing that could read as winking irony, gloss or mere effect/affect. The songs are grounded by hooks and melodies, delivered by the singing itself, with the underlying instrumentation and arrangements always in the service of Carla’s voice and lyrics — in that respect, there is a strong through–line from the Evangelista albums. But Boy sharpens and focuses each song’s intent and structure; unlike most of the Evangelista work, this new album, apart from a song or two, would not be mistaken for sound art, dark ambient, or quasi–Industrial music.
Δ While she wrote most of it, played the majority of the instruments and made the album artwork, the album’s creation was aided, abetted and sometimes rescued by the input of John Eichenseer (aka JHNO). The duo traveled and played together all over North America, Europe, South America and India — with a particularly fruitful burst of writing on a tiny island off the coast of Istanbul. They joined the Italian drummer Andrea Belfi in Berlin to record with his impeccable rhythmic support. The songwriting reflects a life of travel — remaining purposefully uprooted and nomadic, living without ever really unpacking that single bag — and guided by some of Bozulich’s most perceptive, honest and sometimes venomous lyrics.
Δ Boy unfurls a beautiful, unsettling narrative wrung from an artistic life of unflinching creative experience, commitment, courage and learning. It is sharp, supple, satisfying and generous.
Thanks for listening.
Artist Biography by Heather Phares
Δ From her early days in the post–punk group Neon Veins and the industrial outfit Ethyl Meatplow to her later work with the Geraldine Fibbers, Scarnella, and on her own, Carla Bozulich’s eclectic music is united by an honesty and intensity that is often unflinching, and always compelling. The Los Angeles–based singer/songwriter/multi–instrumentalist was a fixture of the city’s post–punk scene in the ‘80s, joining Neon Veins when she was just 15; after giving up drugs and alcohol in her early twenties, Bozulich co–founded the industrial dance trio Ethyl Meatplow. The group had a strong following around L.A. and released several singles and an album, 1993’s Happy Days Sweetheart, before disbanding later that year. © Photo credit: Howard Rosenberg
Δ After Ethyl Meatplow’s breakup, Bozulich went in a very different direction, crafting mournful and eerie alt–country with the Geraldine Fibbers, who were named after Bozulich’s imaginary childhood friend. 1995’s Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home introduced the group’s searing–yet–delicate attack, which was expanded and amplified with 1997’s Butch, largely due to the addition of experimental guitarist Nels Cline as a new Fibber. Despite wide acclaim for Butch’s searching, ambitious music, the album ended up being the Fibbers’ final statement (Sympathy for the Record Industry’s What Part of Get Thee Gone Don’t You Understand?, which was also released in 1997, was a collection of demos and EP tracks). The band’s label, Virgin, wanted a solo album from Bozulich instead of another Geraldine Fibbers release, and the group folded under the pressure. However, Bozulich and Cline’s collaboration continued in the form of Scarnella, whose self–titled 1998 album of experimental, improvisation–heavy pieces was even more abstract and adventurous than Butch and led to Bozulich devoting more of her time to improvised music. She also delved into scoring, writing music for the 2002 film By Hook or by Crook and for a production of the play The Maids by Jean Genet.
Δ In 2003 she released her first solo album, an experimental but spiritually faithful reinvention of Willie Nelson’s classic Red Headed Stranger that featured Cline, as well as Devin Hoff, Carla Kihlstedt, Marka Hughes, Jenny Scheinman, and Nelson himself among her collaborators. The album won Bozulich virtually unanimous acclaim that spilled over to the following year’s mini–album I’m Gonna Stop Killing, which expanded on Red Headed Stranger’s approach with improvisations based on the album and covers of Neil Young and Marianne Faithfull songs. For 2006’s Evangelista, Bozulich moved to Constellation and worked with many of that label’s brightest lights, including members of A Silver Mt. Zion and Godspeed You Black Emperor!, as well as Cline and Shahzad Ismaily, a multi–instrumentalist who also performed and recorded with Bozulich’s more straightforward rock band, the Night Porter.
Δ 2003 The Red Headed Stranger (DiCristina Builders)
Δ 2004 I´m Gonna Stop Killing (DiCristina Stair)
Δ 2006 Evangelista (Constellation)
Δ 2008 Dandelions on Fire (Long Song Records)
Δ 2014 Boy (Constellation)
|Carla Bozulich — Boy (March 4, 2014)|