The Cedar Presents
ELEANOR FRIEDBERGER with Pill and Jillian Rae
Wednesday, October 3, 2018 / Doors 7:00pm / Show 7:30pm
$20 Advance / $25 Day of Show
This is a standing show with an open floor. Tickets are available online, by phone, and at Depth of Field, Electric Fetus, and The Cedar during shows.
First known as one half of the brother-sister duo The Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger headed out on her own in summer 2010. Her fall play at The Cedar has her touring in support of her new newest solo album Rebound.
On Rebound, Eleanor Friedberger has created a subtle world that is a little fizzier, a little synthier- more cinematic, more meditative- than her previous three albums. In the wake of 2016’s jarring political shift, Friedberger felt a need to be even more self-reliant, right down to the album artwork, in which she painted a backdrop and styled herself as an attempt to look like an amped up Lizzy Mercier Descloux.
In contrast to the sonic serenity of 2016’s New View, which she arranged and recorded with her touring band, Rebound was recorded mostly on her own and with the producer Clemens Knieper. Programmed drums, a Juno synthesizer, and muted rhythm guitars dominate the landscape where influences range from Stereolab and Suicide to Lena Platonos and Yellow Magic Orchestra.
Pill’s second full-length album, is a raucous, splintering dispatch from New York City, animated by the madcap ingenuity of a foursome finding a palpable sense of joy and play in expressions of caustic, black humor. Like the contradiction of the album title, which references our acceptance of everyday miseries, it’s a slew of dichotomies, a frenzied cutup. It’s bleeding saxophone and lustrous feedback sounding somehow pastoral, and winking hooks subtly infused with venom.
Pill’s lyrics are severe and funny, cryptic and straightforward, but never didactic. They reliably interrogate power. Vocalist and bassist Veronica Torres, a poet and visual artist, has cited as influences J .P. 'The Big Bopper' Richardson and Ian Svenonius, apt references for her wildly expressive range. Atop the clattering rush of opener “A.I.Y.M.” she uses an ambiguous narrator to complicate gendered stereotypes, while “Fruit,” a coolly pulsing vamp, explores the paralysis of political anxiety. “What am I allowed to create or destroy?” she asks in “Power Abuser,” highlighting the inanity of needing to ask for permission.
Jillian Rae is a truly multi-disciplinary singer, songwriter, and performer. Always connected to her roots in Northern Minnesota, the Minneapolis musician has expanded on her upbringing as a classical violinist to become one of the most powerful and unique voices in the Twin Cities music scene.
Having cultivated a reputation as the go-to violin accompanist for dozens of bluegrass, rock, and pop bands, Jillian Rae planted her own flag in the musical landscape with the 2013 release of Heartbeat, a confident pop record with subtle nods to her bluegrass and classical pedigrees. Her songs are full of heartache, truth, and often a beguiling sense of playfulness. Rae’s songwriting is not easily pigeon holed, and neither is her playing. You can find her playing country fiddle on one tune, rock guitar on the next, or driving her violin through synthy guitar effects on another.
As engaging as her arrangements can be, the real show stopper of her records or live performances is always her effortlessly powerful voice. When Jillian Rae sings, you believe her. Such is the case on her 2017 EP, Wanderlust. More of a stripped-down country record, Wanderlust showcases Rae’s dynamic and earnest vocal chops. Music journalist Youa Vang called Rae a heavy hitter whose “voice will stay with you long after the show is over.”
But if Jillian Rae fans thought that Wanderlust might be signal that she’s going country, she has more surprises in store. With the planned release of a new full length (expected Fall 2018), Rae will make an even harder pivot. Fans got an early taste of her collaborations with a new lineup and a new producer (The Library studio’s Matt Patrick), in her cover of Prince’s legendary When Doves Cry. Released as a single, the tune is not only a wholesale rewrite of the tune befitting the towering status of the original, it’s also marker of where she plans to go with this new staff on board. With contributions from Patrick as well as drummer Alex Young, guitarist and longtime collaborator Eric Martin, and bassist Jimmy Osterholt, the new record is saturated in heavy grooves, moody arrangements, and unflinching honesty. And of course her voice, which has never sounded better, more dynamic, or more true than it does on this collection of songs.