Future is wide open for the Future Bible Heroes

Future Bible Heroes perform at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Mass. on Sunday, July 21, at Bowery Ballroom in NYC on Tuesday, July 23 and at World Café Live in Philly on Thursday, July 25.
Future Bible Heroes perform at The Sinclair in Cambridge, Mass. on Sunday, July 21, at Bowery Ballroom in NYC on Tuesday, July 23 and at World Café Live in Philly on Thursday, July 25.

Back in 1996, a few years before the Magnetic Fields went from an indie band with a cult following to the critically acclaimed collective that they are today, Stephin Merritt and Claudia Gonson became involved with a local sideproject headed by Chris Ewen called Future Bible Heroes.

“It started in Boston and it evolved when Stephin moved to New York,” said founder Chris Ewen in a gracious, Fourth of July, in-person interview near his home in Central Square, Cambridge. “My band, Figures on the Beach broke up and I was still working on a lot of instrumental things. One day Stephin said, ‘Why don’t you just have someone write lyrics and sing songs to your music?’ I said, ‘Well, why don’t you do it because you’re a great lyricist.’ So we messed around and wrote some songs.”

After releasing two LPs and three EPs in seven years, the band remained dormant for a decade. Now, 11 years since their last release, the band returns with “Partygoing,” available on Merge Records, on its own, or even more appealing as a box set with all of their previous recordings together in one package.

“A lot of our stuff was really unfindable, and it was all on different labels,” notes Ewen. “We owned the rights to them all, so it seemed like a good thing to do to make all of our stuff available again and have it all on one label, and to have Merge do it. It’s worldwide and it’s all available again.”

Picking up where the band left off, Future Bible Heroes’ sound is still steeped in analog synths, and while the band dives into darker and dancier terrain on “Partygoing,” Merritt’s signature whimsy and witty sarcasm provide some humor to their seemingly somber tales. With song titles like “Digging My Own Grave,” “Keep Your Children in a Coma” and “Let’s Go to Sleep (And Never Come Back)” the Future Bible Heroes remain scathingly satirical and inherently fun.

“I think that we have always straddled that line of being really perky with lyrics that maybe aren’t as upbeat,” says Ewen. “I love that juxtaposition and Stephin does too. I think it brings some depth to the songs. I think the albums have tended to be loose concept albums. The first one was love songs or anti-love songs. The second was about people’s obsessions with death, youth and beauty. I’m not saying we are feeling our age, but we have a different perspective than we had 10 years ago. Maybe ‘Partygoing’ is our reaction to who we are and us versus the youth culture.”

Though Merritt will not be able to join the band on tour due to health issues with his hearing, Ewen and Gonson will be joined onstage by Shirley Simms and Anthony Kaczynski for the Future Bible Heroes first tour since 2002.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Television

'So You Think You Can Dance' recap: Season…

Season 11’s top four dancers gave their final performances before America’s Favorite Dancers are announced next week.

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Music

The Handsome Family on 'True Detective' Emmy and…

When asked to describe The Handsome Family’s latest album, Rennie Sparks channels Rust Cohle of “True Detective.” “A strange problem that humans have is that…

NFL

Mario Manningham on the bubble as Giants play…

Former Super Bowl hero Mario Manningham hopes his second go-around with Big Blue doesn’t end with Saturday’s final cut day.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.