Boy
CST102      CD 180gLP MP3 FLAC

Reviews
"All works of art, like all minds, have the potential to overcome mere sentiment. And that potential is glimpsed here in 10 restless hatchlings that make up Carla Bozulich’s new and perhaps most essential record. There is no shortage of dire, overwhelming music being made that reflects life’s continued de-affirmation through chaos and wanton destructions great and small. What seems to be lacking more often than not is the cold light of day. There is no aesthetic scrim to Boy’s music, despite its traceable precedents. What we have here is human and messy, fearsomely fretting about the tender enclosure of sing-song and how it will not lift you over the chasm. Its hooks are more like bloody torn fingernails at the wall of pleasure-seeking. Not one of these songs are satisfied with themselves, but they exist in a realm of sonic grace that heedlessly pushes ahead...Boy is a living, gasping, impassioned/dispassionate grapple with existence."
Tiny Mix Tapes

"The word 'Americana' actually described something once…In a better world it would aptly fit Carla Bozulich's intense marriage of industrial-age clank and song. Boy is the latest episode in Bozulich's tenure on the US rock fringes. A landscape where Tom Waits and Michael Gira enjoy critical tongue-baths ought to make room for Carla."
NME

"A roaming creativity and rich depth of emotion across its ten relatively compact tracks... [Boy] is anchored by the ever-visceral voice of Bozulich, as raw and emotion-soaked as ever, accompanied by the evocative instrumentation of Bozulich, her main collaborator John Eichenseer and drummer Andrea Belfi, subtly balancing angularity, noise and sparse restraint, painting and often dark and quietly unsettling, but utterly enthralling picture, shot through with flashes of heart-warming light."
Rock-A-Rolla

"Boy moves away from the loose instrumentation and sparse production of Evangelista, and makes much use of the interplay of surfaces, setting vocals amid thick, fetid atmospheres that part to reveal unexpected surfaces... 'One Hard Man' stomps and clangs itself to fever pitch, invoking lust on a seismic scale, whilst the hushed bluegrass ballad 'Drowned to the Light’ weaves mystery from John Eichenseer’s wiry viola and looped, birdlike screeches. The desert gothic of 'Don't Follow Me', meanwhile, creates a sense of watchful edginess from drummer Andrea Belfi's rolling, reverberant tom hits and a windswept organ whine.”
The Wire

"Bozulich dips into her more abstract, primal tendencies on this album, hinting at earlier work with the Geraldine Fibbers and even Evangelista (nary a whiff of her occasional forays into folk and alt-country, however). But it’s absolutely, distinctively her own, a challenging collection of tunes."
Blurt Online

"The track 'Lazy Crossbones' opens with a mid-tempo drum pattern—the drums recorded with enough air to define a convincing picture of the performance space—before making room for warm keys, searching guitar, and, of course, Bozulich’s special voice, which is as alluring as it is alarming. The result is something like a wonderfully twisted, damaged Fleetwood Mac single—beautiful, powerful, and chilling: equal parts nightmare and 'Dreams'."
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"Boy is filled with memorable songs that are full-muscled enough to withstand whatever level of barbed deconstruction that Bozulich throws at them...At her best, 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
 

"If Boy emerged from the oeuvre of a broadsheet-friendly icon such as Nick Cave, Patti Smith or Tom Waits it would be lauded as an uncompromising work of genius." – SUNDAY TIMES
 
"You're in her world now, so look alive. A glorious achievement. Long may she run." – PASTE (9.3 rating)
 
"A landscape where Tom Waits and Michael Gira enjoy critical tongue-baths ought to make room for Carla." – NME
 
"Carla Bozulich’s new and perhaps most essential record…Boy is a living, gasping, impassioned/dispassionate grapple with existence." – TINY MIX TAPES (4.5 stars)
 
"On Boy, Bozulich has pulled the word 'pop' back from the abyss of meaninglessness. Her most accessible record in some time, though her use of recognizable genre, melody, rhythm, and harmony, shatters conventional notions. Searing, raw and lusty, tender, open and vulnerable." – ALLMUSIC (4.5 stars)




Description
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 that claim makes perfect sense, framed within the context of her unique musical career of experimentation, exposition 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 Bozulich 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.

Thanks for listening.

Release date: 04 March 2014
Running time: 42:10

Packaging notes
CD comes in a custom gatefold jacket printed on thick 24pt. paperboard with a printed CD dust sleeve. LP is pressed on 180 gram virgin vinyl at Optimal (Germany) and comes in a heavyweight jacket with black poly-lined audiophile dust sleeve, credit insert, pull-out art poster and download code for 320 kbps MP3 copy of the album.

Tracklist
1. Ain't No Grave
2. One Hard Man
3. Drowned To The Light
4. Don't Follow Me
5. Gonna Stop Killing
6. Deeper Than The Well
7. Danceland
8. Lazy Crossbones
9. What Is It Baby?
10. Number X

Credits
Carla did the guitars, some synths, most samples and loops, all bass guitar, and the artwork.

Carla wrote, produced and mixed the album, mostly in collaboration with John Eichenseer as they went anywhere and played every gig that they could manage passage to. John played all the keyboards, viola, tons of electronics and drums, and snuck in a duduk. In Berlin, Andrea Belfi helped write a few songs too. He played drumset on all tracks except "One Hard Man" (John and Gambletron) and "Drowned To The Light" (Shahzad Ismaily) and played some synth. A sample from a collaboration rehearsal with Topsy The Great in Pistoia, Italy was used on "Ain’t No Grave."

Most of the basic tracks were recorded at Tricone Studios in Berlin by Danny O’Really and Rowan Smy. Carla took the files to rural San Diego, California, tore them up and stuck them back together with solitary insomnia and bad American coffee. They fought back. They battled!

In Montréal, Jace Lasek helped finalize the mix at Breakglass and Ian Ilavsky brainstormed and helped to reign the thing in. "One Hard Man" got recorded in Ian’s apartment just as the album was being mastered by Harris Newman at Greymarket.

Backing vocals by John, Andrea, Leah Bozulich, Dominic Cramp, Jessica Anthony and Gambletron, Rupa Marya, Carla and her Great Aunt Lily and, of course, the Boy who screamed at the end of "One Hard Man."