They may be as traditional of a band as they've ever been, trading Mario Kart 64 sound bites for guitars and drums, but Perry and company still have the quirky charm that made them internet favorites in the first place.
The fact that Kelsey Waldon was the first new artist in a decade signed to John Prine's record label tells you a lot about her, but most importantly, it says that when she sings, you ought to pay attention. And when the native Kentuckian sings, she tells stories of resilience through hard times in hard places delivered over a classic country sound that has all but vanished from Nashville.
Here's a phrase you probably haven't heard before: "German techno marching band." Enter MEUTE.
MEUTE in a nutshell: they take songs that exist firmly in the world of EDM and bring them to life as an 11-piece marching band. Marimbas, saxophones, trumpets, bass drums, even matching red jackets. The works. The group has gained an impressive following in Europe over the last few years, starting out in public city squares and eventually graduating to massive headlining shows and massive festival crowds. With their performance at U Street Music Hall, the Hamburg-based group continued their worldwide conquest with their first-ever concert in North America.
SOUNDS LIKE: Sun drenched pop; EP-era Fiery Furnaces WHY YOU SHOULD CARE: Because this is what you want to listen to this summer...and because you can see her live tonight!
As one half of The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger (along with her brother Matthew), trafficked in a unique brand of cerebral art-pop in which 10-minute songs about old ships and entire albums incorporating narration from the duo's grandmother were the de rigeur. Even when they released more traditional pop (see EP),the songs were frequently opaque or drenched in irony, encouraging analysis over emotional response. However, since striking out on her own with 2011's Last Summer, Eleanor has followed a different path, peeling away the layers of complexity to reveal at last the emotions which were only hinted at in most of the Furnaces catalog (author's note: I love the Fiery Furnaces and I hope their hiatus is not permanent).
"Cause when I'm with you, everything's treasure I forget what its like to be gone I'm far from the town, in the suburbs of your pleasure I've been in exile so long"
Lyrics like that would have had no place in Ms. Friedberger's old work but they and their ilk form the bulk of her new album, the tellingly titled Personal Record. In the hands of another artist, sentiments of this sort, delivered so directly could (and have) come across as trite...but on this record they just sound true.
Eleanor Friedberger plays at U St.. Music Hall tonight. Tickets are still available.
Indie songstress Eleanor Friedberger, the female half of brother-sister duo Fiery Furnaces, has been exploring in recent years what it is like to be a solo artist. Soon after announcing Fiery Furnaces’ hiatus in 2011, Eleanor released Last Summer, the solo album that proclaimed her ability to write, record, and perform successfully independent of her brother Matthew. Earlier this month, nearly two years after Last Summer, Friedberger released her sophomore solo album Personal Record, which has reaffirmed the poppy songbird’s penchant for creative, observant storytelling.
With Personal Record in tow, Friedberger makes her way across the country, with a stop nearby at U Street Music Hall, before departing for the United Kingdom. Playing in support of Friedberger are up-and-coming indie-psych band TEEN, who have been releasing music through DC's own Carpark Records.
For your chance to see Eleanor Friedberger and TEEN on Thursday, June 27 at U Street Music Hall, please do one of the following:
1. Leave a comment below, using a valid email address and the name you'd ilke your tickets to be held under should you win, telling us your favorite band of siblings.
When you’re half of a band as well known as The Fiery Furnaces, people, right or wrong, are going to have expectations. Eleanor Friedbergers’s first victory over those expectations this week was the release of her excellent new solo album, Last Summer. Breezy, poppy and loud when it’s gotta be, Last Summer is an unmitigated hit, as well as being one of our favorite records of the year so far. Her second victory over those expectations this week was the performance that she delivered to a welcoming crowd assembled in the Back Room of the Black Cat on Tuesday, the night of that records release.
My expectation for the show was that it would be somewhat reserved, but perfectly serviceable. I also (wrongly) assumed that Eleanor might be the type who is solely focused on the music, acknowledging the crowd once in a while, but for the most part just performing her material to the people who paid to see it.