East River Pipe – We Live in Rented Rooms

January 01, 1970





At this point if
you have not heard the story of East River Pipe (real name: Fred Cornog) if
would be surprising as it has been told for several years now. After some
difficult years growing up an adult Cornog sank into depression, then
alcoholism and eventually homelessness. A friend, Barbara Powers, brought him
in and saved his life (she is Cornog’s current partner). He has said in
numerous interviews that he has her to thank for saving his life and
ultimately, setting him on the path of a recording some of the most beautiful
and heartbreaking music of this indie rock era. In Merge Records he has found
strong supporters who have always believed in him (Cornog doesn’t tour or even
play live), probably when he barely believed in himself. As a fanzine writer in
the early ‘90s I was lucky enough to be on Cornog’s promo list when he mailed
out some of his early 7″s and realized he was a superb talent back then. As
you’ll see from listening to his 7th full-length not much, and yet
everything, has changed.


Still recording,
presumably with his trusty Tascam 8-track, Cornog doesn’t seem to focus as much
on life’s beautiful losers as he did in days past though cuts like “Backroom
Deals”, “Cold Ground” (“You’re like a visit from the iceman, the angel of
death..”) and “I Don’t Care About Your Blue Wings” (“Left on Dead Meat
Avenue…”) aren’t exactly chronicling the lives of those in his upper middle
class Summit, NJ zip code. Still, with a simpler, regular joe, life Cornog
seems happier but in this case it doesn’t equal cushy (i.e.: lame) songs. The
songs on We Live in Rented Rooms are
as good as good a batch as Cornog has written yet. On “When You Were Doing
Cocaine” Cornog (“You played the victim well, you said “there’s beauty in
hell'”) could be talking about himself but her sets it to a dreamy backset of
melodic keyboards, gentle guitars and Cornog’s matter-of-fact voice. He knows
the art of putting together a pop song and that has served him well for over
two decades.


No need to even
wish that he’ll never stop because it’s unlikely he has any plans on doing so.
It’s in the guy’s blood.


DOWNLOAD: “Cold Ground”, “Summer Boy”,  “I Don’t Care About Your Blue Wings” TIM


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