Song of the day: East River Pipe/"Drug Life"
East River Pipe is a one-man dream pop machine fronted by one FM Cornog, a man whose backstory would make him a shoe-in for an Oscar if he were an actor instead of a man with a guitar, an 8-track recorder, and a sad voice that breaks your heart again and again.
In the early 1990s, Cornog was a homeless alcoholic who was taken in by a friend who helped him record the songs that comprised his debut album, Shining Hours in a Can. That album is full of wistful, pained but beautiful songs, especially the first song, "Make a Deal with the City," which is in my personal list of the top 20 songs of all time.
Cornog's initial singles under the East River Pipe moniker were released on much-loved UK indie label Sarah Records, then compiled and released domestically on NYC label Ajax Recordings. Cornog's later works were released on Merge Records, which in the late 1990s also reissued his first two albums.
While last fall's addition of the Merge catalogue was a godsend for Rhapsody subscribers, it didn't include Shining Hours or the follow-up, Poor Fricky (though I hear more Merge back catalogue releases are coming soon). Still, all is not lost -- we did get Cornog's latest East River Pipe album, What Are You On? While I can't recommend the whole album (file under "faded glory"), I do suggest you check out the song "Drug Life."