Songs can get better with age, but only after a first listen. That's what makes Last Summer, Eleanor Friedberger's solo debut, so curious. Recorded, yes, last summer, these 10 songs by the Fiery Furnaces singer were polished up and quietly stashed away for release this July. Fans of her main project will surely consider it worth the wait, but there's also plenty here for the unconverted. Last Summer sounds more intimate and accessible than any of her band's nine albums; it's a perfect soundtrack for an afternoon spent sifting through a box of old Polaroids.
EF: It's a restaurant in Topaga Canyon. I haven't been there. In Los Angeles last summer, when I was in the middle of writing songs for the album - I'd never spent time in LA except for on tour, so it was fun for me - I went for a week and hung out with a lot of different people. And three different people had told me about that restaurant as a place they thought I would like. I thought it made a great title for a song. Each verse is about a different friend who I hung out with in LA.
Last Summer, which was recorded, well, last summer, was born out of Take Me Round Again, a collection of cover songs from the previous Fiery Furnaces album. Both Eleanor and Matthew did their own inspired versions of songs they'd written together for their last LP I'm Going Away. Matt's were otherworldly affairs, while Eleanor's were lo-fi and lovely, all recorded in her home, the sound of an artist kicking off her shoes, settling into a big comfy chair with an acoustic guitar, a glass of scotch, and a four-track. She enjoyed the experience so much she decided to move forward with recording songs she had written in her spare time, songs that hadn't been included on any of The Fiery Furnaces' nine incredible albums." [Merge Records] 2b1af7f3a8