With the launch of her solo career, Eleanor Friedberger of the Fiery Furnaces is making friends through her humble charm. 

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written by MEGHAN FARNSWORTH

Musician Eleanor Friedberger doesn’t understand why people compare her to Patti Smith. But with her shaggy shoulder-length hair and blunt chunky bangs which almost cover her eyes (“My bangs have become something to hide behind,” Friedberger confessed. “They have to be a certain length.”), there is something to be said about her retrospective persona, which seems to reveal her love for all things vintage (and maybe ’70s music icons, too). In a way, you can’t help but feel she could be one of your coolest friends ever.

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You may know her from the Indie-Rock duo, the Fiery Furnaces, which included Friedberger and her older brother, Matthew. However, after ten years of writing, recording and performing music together, the two decided to pursue their own artistic endeavors via their own solo careers. “It’s difficult to be around someone as close to you as your brother and who happens to be your business partner as well,” Eleanor explained. “Since Matthew moved away from NY, there was a break, and the timing was right. It was a matter of now or never.”

Official Video for the Fiery Furnaces’ “Duplexes of the Dead” via thrilljockeyrecords

Since parting ways, Eleanor has produced two albums, Last Summer (2011) and Personal Record (2013) which are both softer, more vulnerable and vintage in character than the last nine albums released by Fiery Furnaces. Although she somewhat holds onto the edgy sound so characteristic of the Fiery Furnaces in Last Summer, Friedberger eschews the strange dissonances and odd time signatures for a direction that is closer to the heart in Personal Record. Featuring beats so laid-back like Ringo Starr in “Something,” soft Three Dog Night electric organ solos and electric bass lines, which practice that resilient ’70s bass sound, you can’t help but feel nostalgic for a time that us New Yorkers admire so strongly as we don our lucky finds via our favorite kick ass Greenpoint vintage retailer.


Eleanor Friedberger’s Official Video for “Stare at the Sun” from Personal Record via EFriedbergerVEVO

And aside from this more retro-feel found in Personal Record, Friedberger’s wardrobe also channels a ’70s-era vibe (except for those wicked high-rise ‘90s Mommy jeans, which are the best.) “The fun part about clothes is finding something, especially a bargain or something unique,” Friedberger revealed. “I think about it as a form of self-expression. For the most part, I wear second-hand clothes because it’s fun finding stuff. It’s also cool to find old clothes that aren’t going to be worn by other people.”

 

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Even though everyone says she was a model once, Friedberger insists that she has only done some modeling and that to call her a “model” is a stretch. However, as you look at pictures of Friedberger, you can tell why many would want to capture her on film. With her placid yet penetrating gaze and her iconic hair, bangs and porcelain complexion, you are reminded of a mixture of Charlotte Gainsbourg and performance artist, Marina Abramović.

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Like one of your coolest friends, you can’t help but feel somewhat jealous of her finding amazing clothes at amazing prices. “I have a pair of high-rise Jordaches from the ’90s.” Friedberger said. “They have a little bit of a stretch, and snaps in the back with tiny hearts. I plan on wearing them until they fall apart.” Or, how she doesn’t need to put makeup on in order to meet friends or foes. Somehow, she’s incredibly talented, whilst able to channel all that’s effortlessly cool, but is still super humble about it. Like a friend we admire, maybe we could all learn a thing or two from Eleanor Friedberger.

ELEANOR TELLS US WHAT SHE BELIEVES SHOULD BE…

SEEN: Everybody should see the view of Manhattan going over the Williamsburg Bridge.

HEARD: William Onyeabor’s “Atomic Bomb.”

KNOWN: The names of every leader in each Western European country.

 [featured image via livemusicblog.com]

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