Private Eleanor

Private Eleanor

BandRockFolk

Private Eleanor is folk-pop/indie-rock from Baltimore: Sly hooks and sparkling textures, boy/girl harmonies and oblique-but-evocative storytelling. New record 'Sweethearting' out now!

Biography

“All I want’s a place to be,” sings Private Eleanor toward the end of 'Sweethearting', the band’s fourth full-length record. The harmonies from singers Austin Stahl and Marian Glebes are as lovely as anything in the Private Eleanor discography – a little-heard but critically-acclaimed body of work stretching back to Stahl’s lo-fi cassette days at the beginning of the decade – but there’s an odd tension at work here. Though these eleven songs are full of characters who yearn for a sense of belonging, they’re played by a band who has confidently found its sound.

Private Eleanor, who hail from the underdog city of Baltimore, has been called everything from “whisper-folk-pop” to “infectious indie-rock” to “moody, progressive pop.” At various points, they manage to conjure Mojave 3 produced by Wilco, or Simon & Garfunkel fronting the Dismemberment Plan, or Yo La Tengo tackling your favorite Neil Young and Big Star songs. Whatever you call it, the album’s assuredness and sonic depth recalls the later records of Ida, Elliott Smith, or Red House Painters, where previously understated acts discovered that a little extra muscle only heightened their songs’ emotional impact.

To that end, 'Sweethearting' was made with the help of two of the nearby DC scene’s most in-demand indie-rock engineers: T.J. Lipple and Chad Clark. The pair (whose collective resume includes the Evens, Georgie James, and their own bands Aloha and Beauty Pill) helmed the fast-paced sessions at their Silver Sonya studios and the legendary Inner Ear, with most of the performances captured live in the studio. The result is a record full of sly hooks, sparkling textures, and the same oblique-but-evocative storytelling that once led Baltimore’s City Paper to tout Stahl as the city’s best songwriter.

Over the past few years, Private Eleanor has toured the east coast, midwest, and south, sharing the stage with a range of nationally known underground artists – Starlight Mints, Dios Malos, Caitlin Cary, New Radiant Storm King, The Broken West, and fellow breakout Marylanders Metal Hearts and Page France, to name a few – whose diversity serves to highlight the band’s eclectic appeal. Sweethearting is the culmination of those road-sharpened skills – the sound of a band that knows just where it belongs.

[Two new releases featuring Private Eleanor are on the way this fall: A tribute to Grant McLennan of the Go-Betweens, out in October (to which PE contributes the title track, "Love Goes On", and appears alongside such greats as the Clientele, the Bats, Portastatic, Ivy, and Stars); and a Beechfields label compilation that will feature new music!]

Lyrics

A better way to run

Written By: M. Glebes / A. Stahl

You left town with starry eyes, dreaming of the bridges and bright lights. Now you wake up every day in a place that you'll only leave behind. And you try and try and try. But there must be a better way to run away. Sleeping in airports sounds grand, but it won't be home for long.

As you try to be a better man, one someone can understand -- you said I never would -- all I've got are some clouded lines and a home that'll be there when we land. And I try and try and try. There must be a better way to run away. Sleeping in airports sounds grand, but it won't be home for long.

Temporary homes

Written By: Austin Stahl

And Memphis closed on Sunday, so we left town at half past three, and moved as if we had some place to be. And St. Louis had welcomed us with a garden and an open door, and you said it reminded you of Baltimore. You don’t see that all I want’s a place to be. Where, I don’t mind, as long as it’s mine -- yours and mine.

When we got home we were lost here. Everything looked smaller than it should. We’d have belonged if we only thought we could. You don’t see that all I want’s a place to be. Where, I don’t mind, as long as it’s mine -- yours and mine.

On the road, in another borrowed home, making ice cubes in the bathroom sink. I closed the door, while you slept on the floor. Our homes were temporary. Our lives are temporary.

Three X’s on the tile floor lent some permanence to words that we long knew: “That’s all right, mama, any way you do.” You don’t see that all I want’s a place to be. Where, I don’t mind, as long as it’s mine -- yours and mine.

Weeds

Written By: Austin Stahl

Been dreaming about the weeds. They’re growing in my sleep. They do their work at night, digging in and holding tightly. We kill the center, but new roots still grow.

Been dreaming about the war, and everything we’ve worked for. This battle’s all but lost. It’s just a question of the cost now. They’re growing again. “Hold on,” you said. We kill the center but new roots still grow.

And I wake scared but inspired. In a way I must admire the way their roots just don’t let go. “Hold on,” you said, “until the cold comes again. We’ll grow ourselves some roots of our own.”

Two by two

Written By: Austin Stahl

Do you remember trying to see yourself through another pair of eyes? A poorly made disguise? At night we felt the warm air grow still. Cassettes under the bed, like secrets that you hid. Remember when we didn’t care if anyone was looking?

I remember living in pursuit of the sounds that gave us chills. We answered to ourselves. Sometimes I want to feel that way again. We’ll pretend to be asleep. The things we touch, we keep. Remember when we didn’t care if anyone was looking?

Two by two, we’ll sail into a place where we might know just what to do.

Discography

CD:
Sweethearting (2007)
No Straight Lines (2005)
My Pious Friends and Drunken Companions (2003)
Deciduous (2002)

Limited-run CD-R:
An Audiography of Prohibited Sounds (2004)
Blood Maladies (2003)
Private Eleanor (2001)

Seven-inch EP:
Pupa's Window vs. Private Eleanor (2002)

Set List

All original songs. Anywhere from 30 to 90 minutes.