Musician finds beauty, strength amid misfortune

Ezra Furman fills his songs with characters who have survived abuse, depression, oppression and worse, yet there's never a sense anyone is prepared to give in. It's a strength the musician traced, in part, to his religious roots during a late-February concert at Ace of Cups, which took place during the Jewish holiday of Purim. “This is like many Jewish holidays,” Furman said. “They tried to kill us. They failed.”

Not that Furman's journey has left the musician without scars. The narrator at the center of Transangelic Exodus — a defiant, surrealist highway escape that confronts issues of sexuality, body imagery, religion, transformation and more — deals with all manner of physical and mental discomfort, Furman singing: “I feel muscle pain again”; “I woke up bleeding in the crotch of a tree”; “There's a plague in my head.”

But there's often beauty amid the misfortune as the musician bounds between fragile ballads and feral, ferocious rockers, and the whole affair, which often finds its central subjects on the run from nefarious forces, wraps on a decidedly hopeful note. “In a single instant I was set free,” an unburdened Furman sings as the album draws to a close. (Don't miss it)