Recording engineer: Steven Kray, with technical assistance from Bill Ward
Video production: Molly Gard
Video shooters: David Christensen / Anthony Del Calzo
Photos: Inger Klekacz
Interview: Jeremy Petersen
Eleanor Friedberger has made her name over the past decade or so as one half of The Fiery Furnaces, playing alongside her brother Matthew over the course of seven full-length albums and a handful of EPs. Their output has been marked by complex arrangements, often bursting with themes amidst time signature shifts and an ever-present energetic restlessness. They’ve recorded an album with their grandmother; they warn against listening to their live album (Remember) all at once; their most recent output was a re-writing of the album that came right before it. It’s not uneasy listening, but it can be a challenge at times.
That Friedberger’s solo debut, this year’s Last Summer, is a more palatable and direct affair is nothing if not by design. Her band has had its moments of pop sweetness and she’s created an album’s worth of songs those moments always suggested she could. This isn’t to say that Last Summer is bland listening— on the contrary, it bounces playfully between flavors, Friedberger’s almost spoken word singing style set against comparatively sparse backdrops. Lyrically, she plays with nostalgia, in some cases playing her current and former selves off of one another in ways that are fascinating. She takes this a step further in the video for “My Mistakes” (see below), in which she stars as those two versions of herself.
She joined us to play from Last Summer, and also delivered the new “Terra Firma” in the process. She talked about the direction she wanted to take in making a solo record, the musical partnership she shares with her brother/bandmate, and the circumstances surrounding the making of the “My Mistakes” video (which also features a young Britt Daniel).
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