Portland's dream rock / psychedelic pop band, Ezza Rose, are gearing up to release their forth album, No Means No, next Friday. The band shares their third single, "American Man," via PopDust, who says, "The third single off the psychedelic pop band's upcoming album No Means No (out September 21st) strays from the group's soft folk roots. The seductive melodies give way to the raw frustration with how people do (or do not) understand when no means no."
The band recently shared their second single, "Baby, Come Down," via Culture Collide, and showed the incredible range this album encompasses. Culture Collide says, "While the band's previous single ["No Means No"] is a biting post-punk demand, "Baby, Come Down" is a vintage dream pop ballad, straight from that aforementioned decade [the '60s] we love so much. More the observation than a battlecry, the tune is a stripped and wistful take on society's obsession with distraction."
First single and title track, "No Means No," debuted on Bust Magazine, who calls it "a song that connects with the #MeToo movement." The video for the single is spine-chilling in it's reliability for those fighting for feminism. Bust says, "we see men with blurred-out faces harass women on the sidewalks, in the office, on public transportation, and in the park."
The end of the video is likely the most powerful, as the energy ramps up, and we see women defending themselves at work in the face of harassment and clips from the Women's March. The last scene sends a message that's hard to ignore, as we see a young boy watching the actions of an older man, who's creeping on a woman who's sitting on a park bench and completely unaware that and she's being photographed without her consent. The last scene is the intrusive man and the innocent boy locking eyes and begs the viewer to consider what example we're setting for the next generation. Throughout the video, we see the symptoms of what perpetuates harassment: people not speaking up, men in positions of power telling upset women to calm down, and overall unwarranted aggression towards women who aren't interested in sexual advancements from these men.
Describing the message of the song, Ezza Rose tells Bust:
"Words have meaning, and when meaning is disconnected from words, communication is lost. My mother always said things to me like, 'No means no,' and 'Sorry isn't good enough,' which frustrated me as a child, to feel powerless against her words. The women in my family value their words this way, following their intention through to action. Later in life, I realized the value of this foundation they had built in me. Today, I also stand by my word and hold myself accountable for the actions and ideas my words convey.
"I'm confused when others don't take my words at face value, that society gets to choose whether or not I am heard. I know others have struggled to feel heard their entire lives, and it's powerful to finally see that struggle acknowledged and addressed in societal movements towards equality.
"The content of this album, No Means No, covers the landscape of interaction between people, both in the public eye and behind closed doors. It's a reflection of my frustration with those who choose not to respect the meaning of, and intention behind people's words. 'I don't want to tell you that No means No'...but I will, for now."
On her new album, No Means No, Ezza Rose's musical identity continues to evolve. Track by track, the band digs under their fingernails into society's ethos, combining driving rhythm, aggressive electric guitar, and dreamy vocal melodies with lyrical grit. The result is a work that covers the complex landscape of interactions and accountability between people, ranging from the public eye to behind closed doors.
Ezza Rose was introduced to the band life at a young age. She first sat in on top of the speakers playing tambourine while her Dad's band entertained the local watering hole in the desert town of Julian, CA. Not long after, she found a CB drum set under the Christmas tree. She went on to become the only female, punk-rock drummer in her town of 1,500. When she moved on to college, the drums wouldn't fit in the dorm, so she picked up a guitar and started writing songs of her own. During a holiday break from her performing arts conservatory, Ezza and a friend hitchhiked to Portland to check out the arts scene; a trip which inspired the move to her current home for the past decade. Ezza has been making records and establishing herself in Portland, and touring communities as far away as New Zealand.
Craig Rupert moved to Portland a year or so after Ezza with a roots rock 'n' roll band from the east coast. He met Ezza while playing on the same bill at a local truck stop when she was playing with one of her other projects, Winterhaven. Ray Johnson was the drummer for that band as well, and soon, all three were playing music together in Winterhaven. After that band dissolved, Ezza asked Craig and Ray to join the project bearing her namesake, Ezza Rose.
Fast forward a couple years and bass players later, the band had recorded their latest record, No Means No, and was in need of a road-ready musician to round out the group. During an after-hours hang at the bar Ezza works at, Alec England peeked his head out of the kitchen upon hearing the rough mixes. Without knowing the band's bass player woes, he expressed interest in playing any instrument should someone quit. He landed the gig.
Ezza's last record, When The Water's Hot, came out In early 2015. It was a departure from the softer folk sound she had developed in past records, turning back to her roots in the rock 'n' roll world. Fueled by the frustrations of a social climate that has always felt unjust, Ezza's sound continued to reflect just that. Digging deep into the vulnerable bank of things silenced over a lifetime No Means No was born.