This is the part where we tell you how good Eleanor Friedberger's new solo album is. Eleanor, you may recall, is the feminine half of the Fiery Furnaces, which might just be the strangest power-pop band of the last 10 years. (Have you heard Blueberry Boat?) After what seems like a bazillion and a half albums with her brother and fellow Fiery Furnace, Matt, she recently released her first set of solo songs, Last Summer. The album is wistful pop at its finest: simple, catchy, based in real life, and revealing. Our favorite songs on it are “Scenes from Bensonhurst,” “Roosevelt Island,” and “I Won't Fall Apart on You Tonight,” which is playing on repeat as we write this.
Eleanor is playing the Hotel Utah tonight as part of her first-ever solo tour. It'll be just her and a guitar — no band or anything. We recently spoke her about this touring alone business, getting old, why she made a solo record (hint: those last two are related), and writing demo songs in the Apple computer program Garage Band, which is owned by at least 96 percent of the civilized computing world. When we called, she was finishing up dinner (a black-bean burger from a place down the street from her Brooklyn apartment), and she turned out to be kind of a sassy talker. Here are some snippets from our conversation.
So do you enjoy performing?
I do enjoy it. The performing part is the best part, and then all the other stuff is kind of tedious and annoying. I'm learning to enjoy the other two things [writing and recording] more and more, and that's been the best part of making this record — getting my head around the other stuff.