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About Carla Bozulich
A vocalist and songwriter of uncommon intensity and honesty, Carla Bozulich has earned a reputation for her strong, uncompromising work that spans a variety of genres and approaches. Gifted with a voice that can caress or slash at will, as well as a lyrical style that's emotionally incisive and harbors no illusions, Bozulich has worked with projects where she's explored the possibilities of post-punk (Neon Veins), industrial (Ethyl Meatplow), upended roots rock (the Geraldine Fibbers, her best-known group, who earned rave reviews for their 1995 album, Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home), free improvisation (Scarnella), experimental music (Evangelista), and free jazz (the Nels Cline Singers), while her solo work has run the gamut from fractured pop (2014's Boy) to her own take on country (2003's Red Headed Stranger, a song-by-song cover of Willie Nelson's 1975 classic, featuring vocal contributions from Nelson himself). Active in music since the early '80s, Bozulich has also worked in multimedia art and experimental theater, and has performed her work on four continents.
The Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist was a fixture of the city's post-punk scene in the '80s, joining Neon Veins when she was just 15; after giving up drugs and alcohol in her early twenties, Bozulich co-founded the industrial dance trio Ethyl Meatplow. The group had a strong following around L.A. and released several singles and an album, 1993's Happy Days Sweetheart, before disbanding later that year.
After Ethyl Meatplow's breakup, Bozulich went in a very different direction, crafting mournful and eerie alt-country with the Geraldine Fibbers, who were named after Bozulich's imaginary childhood friend. Released in 1995, Lost Somewhere Between the Earth and My Home introduced the group's searing yet delicate attack, which was expanded and amplified with 1997's Butch, largely due to the addition of experimental guitarist Nels Cline as a new Fibber. Despite wide acclaim for Butch's searching, ambitious music, the album ended up being the Fibbers' final statement (Sympathy for the Record Industry's What Part of "Get Thee Gone" Don't You Understand?, which was also released in 1997, was a collection of demos and EP tracks). The band's label, Virgin, wanted a solo album from Bozulich instead of another Geraldine Fibbers release, and the group folded under the pressure. However, Bozulich and Cline's collaboration continued in the form of Scarnella, whose self-titled 1998 album of experimental, improvisation-heavy pieces was even more abstract and adventurous than Butch and led to Bozulich devoting more of her time to improvised music. She also delved into scoring, writing music for the 2002 film By Hook or by Crook and for a production of the play The Maids by Jean Genet.
In 2003 she released her first solo album, an experimental but spiritually faithful reinvention of Willie Nelson's classic Red Headed Stranger that featured Cline as well as Devin Hoff, Carla Kihlstedt, Marka Hughes, Jenny Scheinman, and Nelson himself among her collaborators. The album won Bozulich virtually unanimous acclaim that spilled over to the following year's mini-album I'm Gonna Stop Killing, which expanded on Red Headed Stranger's approach with improvisations based on the album and covers of Neil Young and Marianne Faithfull songs. For 2006's Evangelista, Bozulich moved to Constellation and worked with many of that label's brightest lights, including members of A Silver Mt. Zion and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, as well as Cline and Shahzad Ismaily, a multi-instrumentalist who also performed and recorded with Bozulich's more straightforward rock band, the Night Porter. That said, Evangelista became a band of its own and recorded Hello, Voyager in 2008, Prince of Truth in 2010, and In Animal Tongue in 2011. She also collaborated with a number of like-minded artists, appearing on recordings by the Book of Knots (2007's Traineater), Simone Massaron (2008's Dandelions on Fire), Jherek Bischoff (2012's Composed), and Lydia Lunch & Cypress Grove (2014's A Fistful of Desert Blues). Bozulich returned to recording under her own name for 2014's Boy, which she described as her "pop" album, owing to its more conventional song structures. After suffering temporary hearing loss on tour, Bozulich recorded an album of spectral, low-key music, released in 2018 as Quieter. ~ Heather Phares & Mark Deming
- New York, NY
- 24 Dec 1965
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