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Eleanor Friedberger

Indie rock singer songwriter, and one half of The Fiery Furnaces

Eleanor Friedberger

PILL, Deathlist

Fri, September 28

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 8:30 pm

Doug Fir Lounge

Portland, OR

$15.00 - $18.00

This event is 21 and over

Eleanor Friedberger
Eleanor Friedberger
On Rebound, Eleanor Friedberger has created a subtle world that is a little fizzier, a little synthier- more cinematic, more meditative- than her previous three albums. In the wake of 2016’s jarring political shift, Friedberger felt a need to be even more self-reliant, right down to the album artwork, in which she painted a backdrop and styled herself as an attempt to look like an amped up Lizzy Mercier Descloux.

In contrast to the sonic serenity of 2016’s New View, which she arranged and recorded with her touring band, Rebound was recorded mostly on her own and with the producer Clemens Knieper. Programmed drums, a Juno synthesizer, and muted rhythm guitars dominate the landscape where influences range from Stereolab and Suicide to Lena Platonos and Yellow Magic Orchestra.

From Eleanor:

I spent most of 2016 on the road, and I needed to keep that momentum going. I had always wanted to spend more time in Greece; take Greek lessons and get to know Athens better while hopefully writing some music. After November 8, 2016 I set that loose plan into motion. While friends back home were suddenly becoming politically activated for the first time, it was exciting to be living in a city where protest marches occur on a weekly, or sometimes daily basis. I assembled a band of Greek musicians, played a few shows, learned a few more Greek words, but didn’t get much writing done. It turned out to be more of a reconnaissance mission.

After a month in Athens I asked my friend, the Greek musician Σtella, “What’s one thing I have to do before I leave?” After some long and careful consideration she smiled and said, “you have to go to Rebound. It’s a time warp; kind of an 80s goth disco where everyone does the chicken dance; you’ll love it… but it’s only open on Saturdays after 3:00 AM.” Rebound proved to be a revelation in terms of finding the sound and energy for my fourth album. The club was very dark and despite the no smoking signs, like everywhere in Athens, it was very smoky. The “chicken dance” Stella mentioned was a solitary one. I copied the slouchy strut, moving back and forth in line, swinging my arms in time to the music that at first sounded like Joy Division or maybe The Cure, but never revealed itself– one could only assume it to be knock-off by an unknown Baltic band. It was alienating and exhilarating. “In Between Stars” is an attempt at a song you could hear at Rebound. It’s a dark and disorienting; my warped version of 80s goth disco.

Eleanor Friedberger’s Rebound comes out on Frenchkiss Records on May 4th, 2018.
Soft Hell, Pill’s second full-length album, is a raucous, splintering dispatch from New York City, animated by the madcap ingenuity of a foursome finding a palpable sense of joy and play in expressions of caustic, black humor. Like the contradiction of the album title, which references our acceptance of everyday miseries, it’s a slew of dichotomies, a frenzied cutup. It’s bleeding saxophone and lustrous feedback sounding somehow pastoral, and winking hooks subtly infused with venom.

Pill’s lyrics are severe and funny, cryptic and straightforward, but never didactic. They reliably interrogate power. Vocalist and bassist Veronica Torres, a poet and visual artist, has cited as influences J .P. 'The Big Bopper' Richardson and Ian Svenonius, apt references for her wildly expressive range. Atop the clattering rush of opener “A.I.Y.M.” she uses an ambiguous narrator to complicate gendered stereotypes, while “Fruit,” a coolly pulsing vamp, explores the paralysis of political anxiety. “What am I allowed to create or destroy?” she asks in “Power Abuser,” highlighting the inanity of needing to ask for permission.
A few weeks before she was to enter the studio to work on a new release from her project Deathlist, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Jenny Logan sprained her shoulder. What for most of us would be a minor inconvenience forced this artist to rethink how to play the songs that would make up her forthcoming EP Weaks.

“My plan was to play everything live with a band,” Logan remembers, “but I didn’t know if I’d be able to play at all. I ended up playing everything myself out of necessity rather than my own design. I deconstructed the drum parts and put them back together again, and had to play all the guitar and bass parts sitting down.”

What was born of necessity wound up being integral to the emotional weight of Weaks. Recorded with the help of Hutch Harris of The Thermals, the mini-album explores Logan’s personal life, examining past relationships and the various internal and external issues that led to their demise. The songs are stark and direct and unavoidable due to the empty space and minimalist production.

It can be, at times, a little startling, like the small waver that enters Logan’s voice as she sings “Wish I could be the one to/Wish I could let you come through/but I can’t feel anything” over a bed of acoustic guitar and pulsing synth on “I Can’t Feel Anything.” And sometimes it can cut deep even as the music takes up a small head of steam as on “Sleeper,” a gently rousing bit of post-punk that features Logan singing about an intimate relationship that remains “incomplete” due to reticence and fear.

Weaks culminates with the title track, a moving midtempo track where Logan sounds almost hopeful for what the future of her love life might be. “I’m gonna find it somewhere/I’ve been weak a long time,” she sings. “That song really crystallized the concept of the EP,” she says.

“It’s about admitting weakness and coming to terms with my own faults but still being somewhat optimistic.” One thing Logan can be completely assured about is her artistic future. Deathlist has already received acclaim for this project’s first self-titled album from publications like The FADER, Willamette Week, and Impose Magazine. Once Weaks hits the streets, it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the world sits up and takes notice.