Eleanor Friedberger Returns!!

eleanor-cropped-pantsI’ve always been enchanted by Eleanor Friedberger, ever since I caught her and her brother back in the day at a local record shop in town. Her music, as well as that as her other project (Fiery Furnaces) has always seemed to change and be molded to fit various whims…yet it’s always been interesting. Today, news broke via varying sources that she was putting out a new solo effort on January 22 of next year; it’s titled New View. Her voice in this track, and actually the track itself, sounds like a Neko Case penned New Pornos song; there’s a great bit of accompaniment, but Elanor is clearly the star. Didn’t expect this, but definitely made my day.

Show Preview: The Sea and Cake @ the Mohawk (11.14)

Date Wednesday, November 14th
Location Mohawk
Doors 6:30 PM
Tickets $15 from Mohawk


Unfortunately the music world is slowly winding its way down towards the end of 2012, but that doesn’t mean there still aren’t some great acts pushing their way through town, such as The Sea and Cake.  They’ve just released their latest, Runner, which really surprised me with its immediate accessibility and careful pop sensibility.  They’re a massive underground favorite of many, and playing at the Mohawk with Fiery Furnaces‘ Matthew Friedberger just strengthens the bill all the more. It’s chilled out indie rock of the classiest sort, so be sure to make your way for a midweek treat.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/02-Harps.mp3]

Download:The Sea and Cake – Harps [MP3]

 

Show Preview: Eleanor Friedberger @ Frank (4/28)

Date Saturday, April 28th
Location Frank
Doors 930 pm
Tickets $12 from Ticketfly

 This Saturday night with all the deserved hub-bub over Psych Fest, there’s a quieter show on the other side of the highway that people are going to miss out on.  Eleanor Friedberger of Fiery Furnaces fame will be playing a solo set over at Frank.  Her songs are clever, her name’s already established and she’s quite the looker.  But, the bonus band of the night is Hospitality, one of our favorite acts.  They’re out on the road supporting Eleanor and their self-titled album from earlier this year.  And I’d like to note that the sound at Frank is suprisingly incredible, so don’t skip it if you’re worried about sound.  Here’s a jam from Hospitality that will never leave my play list.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Hospitality-Friends-Of-Friends.mp3]

Download: Hospitality – Friends Of Friends [MP3]

The Fiery Furnaces – I’m Going Away

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Rating: ★★★½ ·

It’s hard to follow The Fiery Furnaces, as their genre hopping and musical expeditions tend to lead followers in several directions, occasionally at the same time.  However, you’d be reluctant not to notice the prolific output of the group, and their continuous relevance musically.  Their latest album, I’m Going Away, is chocked full of deviating paths and piano-laden hooks.

I’m Going Away beings with a song referencing the title, but it’s more of a statement song, allowing listeners to get just a brief taste of the band’s latest affair shortly before ending.  “Drive to Dallas” is the first exemplary song on the album, as the Friedbergers bounce back in forth between lounge piano work and lightning noise-infused guitar licks, just as Eleanor picks the pace of the song up with her vocals.  It’s place back to back with “The End is Near,” which sounds an awful lot like it could replace one of the various theme songs from your favorite sitcom of the eighties.  You should take a listen to Eleanor here, as her voice is remarkable once again, contrasting against her brother Matt’s as they trade verses and share roles during the chorus. Moments like this come about so rarely, but be thankful for a song such as this.

Speaking of voice, you have to wonder why Ms. Friedberer doesn’t get more love in the vocal department these days.  Her vocal range is spectacular, from the lounge-y hints during “The End is Near” to her close Costello approximation on “Charmaigne Champagne.”  She goes back and forth across tracks throughout the album, and you can’t help but envy the pipes she possesses.

Coming across “Even in the Rain” you will be pleased to find the band at possibly their most accessible during their entire career.  It’s a fairly simple song accompanied by Eleanor’s trademark poetry and very light percussion.  In fact, it almost sounds like the sort of song you might find (or wish) that Wilco was creating nowadays.  Similarly, “Ray Bouvier” hits at the hearts of listeners, gentle in progression and light in its texture.  The bare bones of the group appear to be the brightest this go round, and the entire album bursts forth thanks to this approach.

Epic songs such as “Take Me Around Again” or “Lost at Sea” surpass expectations of what one expects from a long Furnaces song.  After years of honing their skills, they group seem to bring it all in closely, barely deviating as far as we remember them doing on various other numbers.  It’s this newfound ability to hold back and focus that seems to have created some of the stronger songs on this side of the band’s career.

I’m Going Away is the most accessible Fiery Furnaces record to come out in a long time, largely driven by piano driven tracks and an ability to hold back the reins when the band would normally go into a schizophrenic foray into the outer realms of our pop indulgence.  It’s good from front to back, and you know you won’t complain about that.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/the_fiery_furnaces-the_end_is_near.mp3]

Download: The Fiery Furnaces – The End Is Near [MP3]