Legendary art-punk singer, songwriter and sound artist Carla Bozulich (The Geraldine Fibbers, Ethyl Meatplow, Evangelista) follows up her tremendous and acclaimed 2014 album Boy with a new collection of powerful, intensely atmospheric, emotive songs rounded up from various recent collaborations.
With guests Marc Ribot, Sarah Lipstate (Noveller), Shahzad Ismaily, Ches Smith, Freddy Ruppert, Andrea Belfi, Jhno and more…
RIYL: Circuit Des Yeux, Jenny Hval, Grouper, Noveller, Pharmakon, Julianna Barwick
As Carla Bozulich enters her fourth decade of uncompromising, unceasing devotion to art-punk ethics and creativity, the nomadic singer-composer-writer-artist has recently been hanging her hat back in Los Angeles. After years of tireless vagabondage in pursuit of DIY performance opportunities wherever they might take her — and following her extraordinary, widely acclaimed 2014 album Boy — Bozulich has lately found herself a bit more settled in one place, keeping busy with a number of archival and reissue projects.
Her first (and classic) 2003 solo album Red Headed Stranger was re-released by Folktale Records in 2016 and her mid-90s band The Geraldine Fibbers’ equally classic 1995 albumLost Somewhere Between The Earth And My Home was reissued on Jealous Butcher Records in 2017. Carla also penned the devastatingly poetic and powerful rape-survival essay “Thanks, Motherfucker” for The Quietus in 2016. And of course she’s continued playing venues small and large, including OFF Festival in 2017, opening for Godspeed You! Black Emperor in 2015, and for Swans at their farewell NYC shows in 2017.
This recent period has also found Bozulich reflecting on 25+ years of life on the road, the labour and hustle of DIY touring, with its ecstasies, agonies, succour and sacrifice: “still a fantastic job to have” as Carla writes in the liner notes to her new album Quieter.
Quieter is an enchanting collection of previously orphaned and one-off tracks, ranging from the searching, searing opener “Let It Roll” – “the most honest work I’ve ever done” says Carla – to the chiming, deconstructed lullabies of “Glass House” (composed by Ruppert) and “Sha Sha” (with her mid-2000s project The Night Porter) and the album’s sultry closing track “End Of The World” (a duet with Ribot, who penned the song), Quieter is a brilliant addition to Bouzlich’s impressively diverse, adventurous, and unwaveringly authentic body of work.
From the liner notes for Quieter:
“The cover of the album is a cool pic, sure as hell. But to me, it just looks like tour. Tour is just another job where if you do it long enough you get hurt here and there. In 2014 I lost my hearing completely (temporarily) in 1 ear. I kept playing, as always with injury on tour. After all, it is the law of averages. We all know it. Play more than 100 concerts a year doing 90% of the work alone, injuries are occasional. Well, it was a loud tour—a loud set every nite. It was strange for the volume to be cut in half. I cannot play with ear plugs, I was swirling sound every nite like falling but still refusing to behave—sit still—or even cancel. And boy, it was freaky QUIETER. This photo is from one Otolaryngologist I saw in Austria right before the concert in Graz. His treatment was to put me in a 50s Soviet style scalding hot head-heat-box for 20 minutes. After a while I got bored and took some selfies. They came out exactly like this. Thus the cover. It was a Quieter time for me, like—in the van Mats Gustafsson sounded like cherry ice cream. Finally quiet in the fucking van. I couldn’t understand what was happening unless I turned my head. I completely stopped listening to people talk. Strange concerts. Le Guess Who was a highlite—very like thrashing through the air, as the numerous monitors seemed to be alive and spinning. Eventually I cleared it but not after several promoters kindly took me to crackpot doctors who did silly things. This is a nice deaf pic for the Quieter album. To me it just looks pretty like tour: still a fantastic job to have.” – CB
Praise for Carla Bozulich’s 2014 album Boy:
“It’s another glorious achievement for an artist who has created so much amazing art since arriving into the world fully formed way back in 1982. Long may she run.” – Paste
“Perhaps Carla Bozulich’s most essential record… Boy is a living, gasping, impassioned/dispassionate grapple with existence. It patiently yet economically moves through melody and rhythm to walking, dancing, convulsing, and fleshing the fuck out.” – Tiny Mix Tapes
“Bozulich’s vocals are so forceful and transfixing, in fact, that it’s easy to overlook her skill as an arranger and sound artist. Playing the majority of the instruments herself, Bozulich specializes in creating combinations of sounds and textures that continually loosen the songs’ moorings… Bozulich uses the vernacular song forms of country, blues, and yes, even “pop”, to tap into something that feels much more elemental, a vein of primitive emotion that feels like it could pre-date the notion of musical genres entirely.” – Pitchfork
“A landscape where Tom Waits and Michael Gira enjoy critical tongue-baths ought to make room for Carla.” – NME