Eleanor Friedberger

Bonfire Presents:

Eleanor Friedberger

Big Thief, Joey Sweeney And The Long Hair Arkestra

Fri, February 19, 2016

8:30 pm

$12.00 - $15.00

This event is 21 and over

Eleanor Friedberger
Eleanor Friedberger
New View, the third solo album by Eleanor Friedberger, was rehearsed in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Echo Park and recorded in upstate New York. The former is a place where characters in Warren Zevon songs get clingy with their old lady while toughing out heroin withdrawal; the latter is where Bob Dylan got clingy with Robbie Robertson after flying off his motorcycle and revisiting the highway with his face. Fittingly, there's a fair amount of recovery in the songs of New View (though you won't find much in the way of smack or motorcycles). "Today I'm frozen but tomorrow I'll write about you," Friedberger sings, and much of the album seems set in that post-traumatic tomorrow, when stuff's calmed down, the figurative road rash has healed, the metaphorical junkie sweating up your mattress has finally packed his bags.

Counting the albums she made with her brother Matthew as the Fiery Furnaces, this is Friedberger's twelfth full-length. I've been listening since the beginning, and to me New View seems like just that -- a vista that's opened up when I thought I'd seen everything Friedberger had to offer. (Then again, I believed her last album Personal Record was indeed her best to date, so maybe I'm just susceptible to album titles.) Before she entered the studio with New View producer Clemens Knieper, Friedberger made a playlist of reference songs. A live version of "Warm Love" by Van Morrison was on there, as was 80s-era Dylan, Neil Young at his most bummed out, a scattering of Robert Wyatt-era Soft Machine, and the odd gem by Slapp Happy, Fleetwood Mac, Funkadelic, et al. There are ghost notes of all of those influences on New View, but mostly you hear Eleanor Friedberger. She's never lacked confidence -- this is someone who once took a fractured nine-minute ballad about the international blueberry trade and put it across like it was "Thunder Road" -- but there's a new kind of confidence on this record. You can hear it on the warm, stately "Your Word," which holds a special place for Friedberger. She says:

"It was the last song I wrote for the album. I finished the lyrics with lines taken from a dream that Jonathan Rosen had about me. I stayed at a friend's house in LA who had a bunch of later George Harrison CDs-- already a huge fan, I thought I knew it all. But I heard 'Love Comes To Everyone' and it kind of blew me away. Everything I love about Harrison-- beautiful slide guitar and vocals and vaguely spiritual lyrics-- plus a weird disco thing. That was the big influence for the sound."

The songs on New View were recorded live to tape with simple instrumentation: drums, bass, Wurlitzer and 12-string acoustic guitar on almost every track, courtesy of the band Icewater (Malcolm Perkins, Jonathan Rosen, Michael Rosen, Noah Hecht), with Dorian DeAngelo contributing a handful of well-placed guitar solos. Producer Knieper (son of Jurgen Knieper, the German composer whose credits include the score to Wim Wenders' Wings of Desire) gives the album a classic sound, like something that's existed forever on a record collector's shelf, wedged in with Dylan's New Morning and John Cale's Vintage Violence.

For everything new about New View, it still fits comfortably in the continuity of Friedberger's work. By coincidence, Knieper's studio in Germantown, NY where the album was recorded is in a barn that was once rented by Matthew Friedberger and stored the furniture of their grandmother -- the same grandmother whose spoken word reminiscences were the basis of the Fiery Furnaces LP Rehearsing My Choir. You won't hear much of that album here, but songs like "Open Season" recall the Furnaces at their most magisterial. The wry, plainspoken "Because I Asked You" builds on the style Friedberger first polished on her solo debut Last Summer. And then there's "A Long Walk," the sun-striped finale that lends a memorable afterglow to New View. It's a sweet, aching goodbye from an album that seems full of them.
Big Thief
Brooklyn's Big Thief emerges with lilting narratives and twisted, fuzzy guitars, surrounding a heart of song. Their new video/single, "Masterpiece," embodies a visceral turn in Adrianne Lenker's writing toward something heavier, cabalistic in both its darkest and most tender moments – a contrast to her 2013 solo LP, Hours Were The Birds, and her 2014 duo EPs with Buck Meek, a-sides and b-sides. Now, with Meek on guitar, Max Oleartchik on bass, and James Krivchenia on drums, Big Thief will support Here We Go Magic's fall 2015 Be Small album-release tour across the US and Canada from October 22nd to November 21st. Their first full-length recordings are now in production.
Joey Sweeney And The Long Hair Arkestra
Joey Sweeney And The Long Hair Arkestra
Joey Sweeney has been writing songs and prose since he was a teenager in the 1980s. Over the years, he has fronted the groups The Barnabys and The Trouble With Sweeney, as well as recording and performing as a solo artist. Meanwhile, he’s also written for a wide array of publications, including Salon.com, Philadelphia Weekly, the Philadelphia Inquirer and his daily perch, Philebrity.com, the cityblog he established in 2004 after a decade-long run as a rock critic.

His songs and records have received widespread critical acclaim over the years; of his last record with The Trouble With Sweeney, Fishtown Briefcase, Pitchfork said “[Sweeney] mixes autobiography and fiction against the group’s 70s-inflected indie pop, resourceful— and unabashed— enough to digress into an E Street interlude or an AM-rock guitar coda.” He’s also garnered curse and praise as a writer of prose, having won the AAN Award for Music Criticism and appeared in Best Music Writing 2002.

From 2004 through 2010, Sweeney mostly shied from performing and recording, focusing instead on his role as Publisher & Editor of the website Philebrity.com. In 2011, however, Sweeney stepped back into his old role of singer/songwriter, this time fronting the rock band Arctic Splash. Joey Sweeney Your Life Is Callingcompiles the best of everything before the Splash. In late 2013, Sweeney went on to release Long Hair, with Grammy award-winning producer Aaron ‘Luis’ Levinson, Lushlife aka Raj Haldar, and others.
Venue Information:
MilkBoy
1100 Chestnut Street
Philadelphia, PA, 19107