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“It’s all an elaborate hoax.” The reported final words of film critic Roger Ebert frame a haunting new song by Clem Snide, the artistic alias of songwriter Eef Barzelay. The track is the first release off an upcoming album by Clem Snide, Forever Just Beyond, produced by the Avett BrothersScott Avett.

Avett lends harmony vocals to “Roger Ebert,” a pretty, probing ballad that contemplates the mysteries of life. It’s a heavy topic, to be sure, but Clem Snide uses Ebert’s epiphany to make something that is wildly abstract both relatable and comforting.

Forever Just Beyond is Clem Snide’s first studio album in five years and arrives after a crisis of conscience for Barzelay, who had to deal with a failing marriage, the dissolution of his band, and imminent bankruptcy. After seeing a video of Scott Avett singing one of his songs during an Avett Brothers concert, he took it as a sign to reach out.

“I had just hit this low point where I realized I couldn’t do it alone anymore,” Barzelay says in a statement. “I passed along a little message and a new song I wrote to the Avett Brothers’ manager, and Scott wrote me right back to say what a fan he was.”

With Avett onboard as producer and collaborator, they set about making what would become Forever Just Beyond. “I look up to Eef with total respect and admiration,” Avett said. “I hope to survive like he survives: with total love for the new and the unknown. Eef’s a crooner and an indie darling by sound and a mystic sage by depth. That’s not common, but it’s beautiful.”

Forever Just Beyond will be released March 27th. Clem Snide — named after a character who appeared in books by William S. Burroughs, including Naked Lunch — will support the album with a spring tour.

Forever Just Beyond tracklist:

1. “Roger Ebert”


2. Don’t Bring No Ladder


3. Forever Just Beyond


4. The Stuff Of Us


5. Sorry Charlie


6. Easy


7. Emily


8. The True Shape Of Your Heart


9. The Ballad of Eef Barzelay


10. Denial


11. Some Ghost

Clem Snide Tour Dates:


February 7 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Solo house show


February 12 – San Francisco, CA @ Solo house show


February 15 – Seattle, WA @ Solo house show


February 28 – Fairfield, CT @ Solo house show


March 1 – Elizaville, NY @ Solo house show


March 26 – Atlanta, GA @ Eddie’s Attic


March 28 – Wake Forest, NC @ Wake Forest Listening Room


April 1 – New York, NY @ City Vineyard


April 3 – Northampton, MA @ Parlor Room


April 4 – Boston, MA @ Haymarket Lounge at CW


April 7 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Club Café


April 8 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern


April 9 – Columbus, OH @ Rumba


April 10 – Lake Orion, MI @ 20 Front Street


April 11 – Berwyn, IL @ FitzGerald’s