After the success of 2011’s Past Life Martyred Saints and 2014’s prophetic The Future’s Void, EMA retreated to a basement in Portland, Oregon – a generic apartment complex in a non-trendy neighborhood, with beige carpeting and cheap slat blinds. Now, she returns, with a portrait of The Outer Ring: A pitch-black world of dark night highways, American flags hung over basement windows, jails and revival meetings and casinos and rage. In a year dominated by white working-class alienation and anger, EMA – a Midwesterner who never lost her thousand-yard stare -- has delivered an album that renders Middle American poverty and resentment with frightening realism and deep empathy.

,2“I want to explain to outsiders that the people where I come from aren’t beyond hope and reason,” says EMA, “I want this record to bridge a divide.”

The album, co-produced with Jacob Portrait of Unknown Mortal Orchestra, is a return to EMA’s roots in the noise-folk outfit Gowns, whose 2007 album Red State prefigured many of Exile’s core themes, along with its mix of stripped-back folk (“Always Bleeds,” originally a Gowns song), spoken word (“Where the Darkness Began”) and noise epics (“Breathalyzer”).

The album is unique in its mingling of gender politics with American working-class anxiety. The voices we hear in these songs — druggy, surly societal outcasts; Byronic nihilists bringing down fire — speak to a kind of rebellion that’s typically reserved for men, and the archetype of the “dirtbag teenage boy” dominates the album. Yet EMA claims some of that same dirtbag alienation for women — “a woman who swallowed a scumbag teen boy whole,” as EMA puts it – and uses it to interrogate both her own vulnerability and how male violence shapes the world, as on the anthemic “Aryan Nation.”

The result is a deeply personal, confrontational, but ultimately redemptive album from a quintessentially American artist at the peak of her form.


Tour Dates

  • Sep 19
    - Aarhus, DK
  • Sep 20
    Reeperbahn Festival
    - Hamburg, DE
  • Sep 22
    De Nieuwe Anita
    - Amsterdam, NL
  • Sep 23
    King Georg
    - Cologne, DE
  • Sep 24
    - Brussels, BE
  • Sep 26
    - Berlin, DE
  • Sep 27
    - Munich, DE
  • Sep 28
    - St. Gallen, CH
  • Sep 29
    Rote Fabrik
    - Zurich, CH
  • Sep 30
    Le Batofar
    - Paris, FR
  • Oct 2
    Sticky Mike's
    - Brighton, UK
  • Oct 3
    - London, UK
  • Oct 4
    Soup Kitchen
    - Manchester, UK
  • Oct 5
    Brudenell Games Room
    - Leeds, UK
  • Oct 6
    - Glasgow, UK
  • Oct 7
    The Cookie
    - Leicester, UK
  • Oct 10
    Hrupni Večeri Noisey Nights Series, Gala Hala
    - Ljubljana, SI
  • Oct 11
    Durer Kert
    - Budapest, HU
  • Oct 12
    - Vienna, AT
  • Oct 13
    Meet Factory
    - Prague, CZ
  • Oct 14
    - Warsaw, PL
  • Oct 26
    - Seattle, WA, US
  • Oct 27
    The Fox
    - Vancouver, CA
  • Oct 28
    Mississippi Studios
    - Portland, OR, US
  • Oct 30
    Rickshaw Stop
    - San Francisco, CA, US
  • Oct 31
    The Echo
    - Los Angeles, CA, US
  • Nov 1
    The Rebel Lounge
    - Phoenix, AZ, US
  • Nov 3
    - Austin, TX, US
  • Nov 4
    Club Dada
    - Dallas, TX, US
  • Nov 6
    The Masquerade – Purgatory
    - Atlanta, GA, US
  • Nov 7
    The Pinhook
    - Durham, NC, US
  • Nov 8
    - Washington, DC, US
  • Nov 10
    Brooklyn Night Bazar
    - Brooklyn, NY, US
  • Nov 11
    - Philadelphia, PA, US
  • Nov 12
    Once Lounge & Ballroom
    - Somerville, MA, US
  • Nov 13
    3s Artspace
    - Portsmouth, NNH, US
  • Nov 14
    Le Belmont
    - Montreal, CA
  • Nov 15
    The Garrison
    - Toronto, CA
  • Nov 17
    UFO Factory
    - Detroit, MI, US
  • Nov 18
    Empty Bottle
    - Chicago, IL, US
  • Nov 19
    Turf Club
    - St Paul, MN, US


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