Multi-award-winning singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae has today released a limited edition 7” single featuring her hit single ‘New York Transit Queen’ on the A-side, accompanied by the brand new track ‘Erasure’ on the B side.
Both tracks are taken from her highly anticipated new album Black Rainbows, her first album of new material in seven years, coming out on September 15th via Thirty Tigers. Pre-save/pre-order the album here.
‘Erasure’ receives its world premiere today on BBC 6 Music when Mary Anne Hobbs plays it as her ‘Near Future’ track. It will be available on all streaming platforms on September 15th alongside the whole Black Rainbows album.
‘Erasure’ is an electric guitar cacophony, full of ravaged anger with an intense almost screaming vocal. It, like all of the tracks on Black Rainbows, was inspired by Corinne’s visits to the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago, where US artist Theaster Gates has curated a wide-ranging collection of troublesome artefacts from Black history.
Corinne explains, “Some of the themes of ‘Erasure’ are concerned with the erasure of black childhood so I wanted it to be unhinged and witchy, allowing broken down collapsed mental health in. How else do you sing, “They put out lit cigarettes/Down your sweet throat/They fed you to the alligators”?
I saw scores and scores of postcards of children escaping from alligators, and the threat of children being fed to them. Some plantations were surrounded by alligator swamps. I saw what looked like a small sculpture of a boy with his mouth open sitting on a potty. He looks like a toddler who’s really struggling, crying because he’s trying to use the toilet. As a mother, I feel such a huge connection to this boy that’s not a real boy, but it stands in for many children who are in discomfort and needing the love of a mother. But then I looked closer and realized that the potty detaches, and it was an ashtray. People put out cigarettes into the throat of a child. I thought “What kind of world is this where this piece is made for white amusement?”
I also saw a picture in a photography book called Hard Art, about the hard rock scene in DC in the ‘70s and ‘80s. It showed all these rock bands like Bad Brains playing a local housing project in DC. There was this photograph of a band playing, and some in the audience were kind of folding their arms, not quite sure about this music. But there was this little black girl on the front row, and she’s looking at the lead singer with this expression of pure glee on her face at this rule-breaking noisy music. She’s just enraptured. I thought, “I wish I had seen this photograph when I was screaming in my indie band Helen, and I was the only black girl, not just in the band, but in the room.”
I felt a lot of anger when I was there because I was peeling back a kind of truth that I hadn’t known.”
The 7” single pressing of ‘New York Transit Queen’ / ‘Erasure’ is available directly from Rough Trade at this link: https://www.roughtrade.com/us/artist/corinne-bailey-rae
It is also available from Corinne’s dedicated online store HERE
‘New York Transit Queen’ has proved a UK radio smash hit, sitting on BBC 6Music’s A-list for FIVE weeks and also being championed by Absolute Radio. The video for it captures the excitement of the New York underground punk scene, while a whole other flavour of the album is displayed with the meditative beauty of recent single ‘Peach Velvet Sky’.
Corinne Bailey Rae is touring through the USA from Sept 5th to October 7th. She will also be performing three very special shows in London’s Ladbroke Hall on October 25th, 26th and 28th plus a special appearance at the Guinness Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland on October 29th Cork City, as well as a number of shows in Spain.
Praise for Black Rainbows
“The music, which is characterised by extraordinary switches in style [morphs] from sleepy electronica and futuristic R&B to churning grunge rock… but most impressive of all is ‘Before The Throne Of The Invisible God’, a stunning celestial soundscape” 4/5 - Mojo
“Most tracks represent a rewiring along modernist lines with electronic textures and jazz flourishes… an inspired left turn” 8/10 - Uncut