Like Glasvegas, Ezra Furman & the Harpoonsare a band with obvious influences, but they're so good, you can excusetheir plundering of the vaults and simply dig their tunes. When I firstcaught the band's "Take Off Your Sunglasses" on the late, greatterrestrial version of Indie 103.1 in Los Angeles, I heard generousbits of Bob Dylan, Jonathan Richman & the Modern Lovers, and the Violent Femmes,but it didn't matter because the song has such an irresistible spiritthat it transcends its influences. Check the video below, directed byAntoine Wagner, and see if you agree.
UnlikeGlasvegas, Ezra Furman & the Harpoons aren't from Glasgow. TheChicago-born Furman has been making music ever since he received aguitar as a Bar Mitzvah present. He met bassist Job Mukkada and drummerAdam Abrutyn in Boston, more specifically at Tufts University, wherethey were all students. After self-releasing their first album, Beat Beat Beat, in 2006, the band was snapped up by Minty Fresh Records. Their debut for the label, Banging Down The Doors, was released in 2007. Inside The Human Body, which includes "Take Off Your Sunglasses," was released in late 2008.
In an interview published in the Tufts Dailylast year, while Furman was still a senior, he spoke about performinglive. "I like to think that our concerts can always be taken asdirectly addressed to whoever is listening. If any one person in theroom was there all alone, it would be basically the same," he said. "Ilike to be personal. Rock 'n' rollers sometimes act like they'redisinterested, and they're up there and they don't care, but we try toconnect. The songs are very personal and there's lots of storytelling,which is something that's missing from some music these days. It's aconversation."
In the clip below, Furman performs a new tune inwhich he attempts to get up close and personal with one of his favoriteactresses.
The band paid homage to another one of their favorite people, Lou Reed,last year at at the annual South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin,Texas. Furman & the Harpoons return to SXSW later this month beforeheading out on a tour that hits New York, Pittsburgh, Chicago and a lotof cities in between. Catch them live if you can. Until then, pick up acopy of Inside The Human Body, click here for a free four-song Daytrotter session download, and check out their cover of the Velvet Underground's "Heroin" below.