Video premiere: Constellation Records' Carla Bozulich 'Deeper Than The Well'
Ahead of her tour dates with Swans in September, DiS is thrilled to premiere Carla Bozulich's new video.
'Deeper Than The Well' features on her new album Boy, which was released on Constellation back in March. It's a fantastic record. So good in fact that (spoiler alert!) it has made our forthcoming list of the 20 best albums of the first half of 2014, with DiS' J.R. Moores commenting:
Bozulich has described Boy as her “pop” album. It isn’t pop, it’s as bloody weird as ever, only all the songs are under five minutes long. It’s wonky modern blues of such musical and lyrical depth that the album reveals something new each time you give it a spin. Who needs Tom Waits anyway?
Without further ado, here is the video:
Pick up a copy of the album from cstrecords.com.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here's another track from Boy