Under the pen name, East River Pipe, F.M. Cornog has recorded 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.
East River Pipe’s seventh album, We Live in Rented Rooms, continues Cornog’s journey into America’s darklands. The fatalistic clock-puncher in the opener “Backroom Deals” can only repeat to himself in mantra-like numbness, “…I better get used to it, I better get used to it.” The “Conman” is haunted by a past he will never escape. The “Summer Boy” yearns for a girl who has long since moved on, or, perhaps, never was. The would-be filmmaker of “Tommy Made a Movie” locks his creations inside his mind for no one to see, preferring to watch internet porn instead.
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.