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Francine Thirteen’s Mysterious EP Will Come Out in May

The Dallas musician and performance artist announces Lust Heals, Give Me My Sin Again ahead of tonight's show at the Nasher.
Francine Thirteen’s command of dynamics in her music can also be felt in the arc of her becoming. Last spring she unleashed the slow-kindling, mystical track “Lust Heals, Give Me My Sin Again” for wider audiences. An attempt to investigate and reclaim the Bible’s creation story, the narrative unspools a self-possessed, meditative vocal performance by Thirteen against sparse beats and ceremonial chimes.

Dave Cooley (M83, J Dilla) mastered the single. Word started to spread about this Dallas artist who could evoke Sade’s velvety tones while transcending popular forms, calling back always to things ancient. Anticipation mounted for an EP. Then, as with the pauses of restraint in Thirteen’s songs, whole seasons seemed to pass between updates on the record. (And they actually did pass.)

With the arrival of another Spring, some news: a date of May 25th is set for the release of an EP also called Lust Heals, Give Me My Sin Again. The only other thing Thirteen will say about it: she’ll perform on that date to premiere the record, a show she promises will be “quite unique and intimate” sponsored by Art Peña’s curatorial project One Night Only. 

Listeners have more mystery to keep them occupied until then with Thirteen’s conceptual performance series Rites of the Scribes, which begins tonight at Nasher Sculpture Center where guests will gather for free in the museum’s garden at 6 p.m. Thirteen opens for New York experimental-psych band Psychic Ills and a screening of Cooley High (1975) will follow the show.

Tonight’s first installment of Rites, titled Synchronicity I, focuses on Octavia Butler’s 1980 novel Wild Seed and Marion Zimmer Bradley’s 1983 sci-fi work The Mists of Avalon.

About a year ago, this great piece on your music by Briana Younger dropped via NPR. Can you talk a bit about your strategy when assigning language to your music, and how it’s changed and developed as you’ve grown as an artist?

How auspicious that you asked this question! I’m in the midst of watching another singer attempt to assign the language/aesthetic/mood I created for very specific reasons to her own work, but thats a tale for another day. I’ve called what I do “Ritual Pop” for years now. I have many more names and many more sonic imprints forthcoming. In terms of strategy, it’s a multi-layered thing. I’ve always felt called to add ritual/ceremony to my live performances. Everything done onstage has a meaning and is meant as an energetic gift to the audience. Then, there is the subject matter of my work, which tends to be rooted in metaphysics, among other subject matter that tends to be atypical to “popular” music.

In that piece, you mention releasing the EP in the summer. Is this the same one you planned to release? What happened between that mention, and today?

To use the old idiom, I had to set my house in order. I had to go through the process of ridding myself of anything and anyone who sought to make me a mere footnote in my own creations. There is a big difference between knowledge and mastery/wisdom. I had to master not just knowing better, but doing better in terms of following my intuition. To sum it up, I was provoked to refine the way that I execute my vision.

I’m noting this shift from the Bible as thematic material in the song “Lust Heals…” to the literature you mention. Is this itself a statement, to move on to other texts?

I consider it to be a continuation, actually. In fact, the Bible will be a very potent cornerstone of the EP release show. Of course, because its me, there will be an epic twist.

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