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At a time when most female singer-songwriters perform as alter egos, Eleanor Friedberger is simply, refreshingly herself. And that’s just the way her fans like it. Having spent the last decade fronting the indie-rock institution The Fiery Furnaces (currently on hiatus) with her brother Matthew, in 2011 she emerged as a formidable solo artist with Last Summer, a thoughtfully crafted tale of memory and place couched in the organic pop of her 1970s idols. Instantly, Friedberger established herself as a modern-day heir to the tradition of Donovan, Todd Rundgren, Ronnie Lane and their ilk: Warm, nuanced, timeless songs. No gimmicks necessary.
Eleanor returns this summer with her second solo album, Personal Record, out last summer on Merge Records. It is Eleanor at her finest; recorded in late 2012 in New York and Los Angeles, and written with musician/novelist Wesley Stace, Personal Record is full of love songs – hellos and goodbyes, infatuation, pre-occupation, loss – but not simply about romantic love. Eleanor explains, ‘They’re also love songs to music: how you feel on stage when you do something spontaneous and it works, how you feel when you hear someone sing a song for the first time, what it’s like to watch a friend perform, how you can feel close to someone you barely know because you both happen to love the same record, or playing the same song forty times in a row, not being able to rest until you own every song recorded by your favourite singer, or every version of your favourite song.’
Eleanor will be making a short stop-off in the UK to play London’s Visions Festival – and this intimate solo show.