A fiery, androgynous folk-punk provocateur from Chicago, Ezra Furman's Lennon-esque sneer, raw, open-hearted lyrics, and flamboyant style have helped to make him one of the most engaging and unpredictable art-pop confectioners of his era. Emerging in the late 2000s with his band the Harpoons, he issued three well-received albums before going solo in 2012 with the release of The Year of No Returning -- future offerings would be credited to Furman and a rotating cast of bandmates under monikers like the Boy-Friends, the Visions, and the Band with No Name. He continued to hone his signature blend of boldfaced indie folk and skiffle-kissed punk rock on critically acclaimed outings like the chaotic, doo-wop-inspired Perpetual Motion People (2015) and the unfettered Twelve Nudes (2019).
As students at Tufts University, guitarist Jahn Soon, bassist Job Mukkada, and drummer Jordan Kozer formed the Harpoons as Furman's backing band in 2006 and self-recorded Beat, Beat, Beat in their dorm rooms with the help of engineer Dave Kant of Outtake Records. After self-releasing a limited run of the album and making their first tour of the States, producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Iron & Wine) took notice and pulled the band into the studio to record. The result was Banging Down the Doors, a sincere, awkward, and moving debut released by Minty Fresh in August 2007. Only a year later, despite extensive touring, Furman found time to write another album's worth of material, and the second Ezra Furman & the Harpoons record, Inside the Human Body, was released in October 2008. Mysterious Power followed in 2011, and he issued his first solo album, the eclectic Year of No Returning, in 2013.
By 2014, Furman's reputation in the indie world had grown considerably, especially in Britain, leading to his signing with the London-based Bella Union label later that year. His second solo release, the acclaimed Perpetual Motion People, was issued in June 2015. After extensive touring, he decided to wind down his live band the Boy-Friends, reshaping them into the Visions. In keeping with the spirit of change, Furman altered his sound for the next record, 2018's Transangelic Exodus, which featured a darker, more dramatic approach with a clutch of songs about synthetically created outlaw angels, those who love them and fear them, and those who refuse the current state of repression in the 2010s political world order and are likely to be persecuted for it. After providing the soundtrack to the Netflix series Sex Education, he issued the punk single "Calm Down aka I Should Not Be Alone." Wasting little time, Furman headed back into the studio with a new iteration of his group, the Band with No Name, and quickly recorded a set of incendiary punk ragers. The resulting Twelve Nudes was released in August 2019. ~ Jason Lymangrover