On February 15, Merge will release We Live in Rented Rooms, the seventh album from East River Pipe.
Under the pen name East River Pipe, F.M. Cornog has made six extraordinary albums, all recorded and mixed entirely on a cheap multi-track mini-studio, with a bare minimum of outboard gear. These biting, ruminative micro-masterpieces have won Cornog much critical praise, but never fame and fortune. He has painted his America as a neon-lit wasteland filled with deluded losers, cheats, junkies, ultra-capitalist businessmen, freeway-roaming dreamers, and the tragically fated.
We Live in Rented Rooms, continues Cornog’s journey into America’s darklands. It is a world that he has documented in miniscule detail since he first started recording in the early nineties, and one that he knows far too well. As a younger man, Cornog’s appetite for self-destruction was Dionysian. Alcohol, depression, and drugs landed him in the Hoboken train station, until Barbara Powers heard some of his songs, took him in, and provided him with the TASCAM mini-studio that would prove to be his new drug of choice.
These days, Cornog and Powers are married, have an eight-year-old daughter, and live in New Jersey where he works 40 hours a week at a Home Depot. In Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records, John Cook writes of this duality, “the strange and touching discordance of Cornog’s life—the guy in the orange smock at Home Depot is also the guy who gets profiled in New York magazine.”
East River Pipe’s music has been described by the New York Times as “gentle, smart, and unspeakably sad.” Rolling Stone characterized him as “one of our generation’s great eccentric songwriters.” Sometimes harrowing, occasionally scathing, and often heartbreakingly beautiful, his songs have been covered by artists as diverse as David Byrne, Lambchop, the Mountain Goats, and Okkervil River.
New York Magazine's Vulture blog premiered "Cold Ground," and We Live in Rented Rooms is available for pre-order now in the Merge store.