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The Fiery Furnaces

Restless sonic chameleons the Fiery Furnaces revolve around the brother and sister duo of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger, whose prickly childhood relationship and musical family set the stage for their playful, unpredictable music. The Friedbergers' grandmother was a musician and choir director at a Greek Orthodox church near the family's home in Oak Park, IL; their mother, who had a penchant for Gilbert & Sullivan, played piano and guitar and sang; and throughout school, Matthew played standup bass. While the Friedbergers weren't the closest of siblings growing up, after college and separate trips abroad they returned to Oak Park and began working on music together. The pair mixed simple, poppy melodies with a dizzying array of wordplay, sounds, and influences, including the Who, Captain Beefheart, Os Mutantes; dashes of folk, blues, and garage rock; and Eleanor's adventures in Europe. In 2000, they moved to Brooklyn, took day jobs, and began playing as the Fiery Furnaces late in the year.

The Furnaces played their initial gigs at a small club called Enid's and branched out from there, going through several lineups of supporting musicians as they played gigs with the French Kicks, Sleater-Kinney, and Spoon. In 2002, they began working on their first album. By the time they signed to Rough Trade on the basis of their demo, their debut, Gallowsbird's Bark, was completed and the Fiery Furnaces were already at work on the follow-up. Gallowsbird's Bark arrived in fall 2003 and won critical acclaim for its charming kitchen-sink feel, but the band gained more momentum the following year, when praise for the debut album dovetailed with the release of the group's even more diverse and challenging sophomore album, Blueberry Boat, that summer.

The Fiery Furnaces spent much of 2004 touring with Ted Leo & the Pharmacists, Franz Ferdinand, and the Shins, but were already working on their third and fourth albums. Early in 2005, the Furnaces released the simply titled EP, a mini-album gathering most of their B-sides along with a few new songs. That fall, the band returned with Rehearsing My Choir, a challenging stream-of-consciousness album featuring the Friedbergers' grandmother, Olga Sarantos. They moved to Fat Possum for Bitter Tea, a collection of poppier songs that arrived in spring 2006. The following year, the Fiery Furnaces switched to Thrill Jockey and spent the summer and fall touring in anticipation of the '70s rock-influenced Widow City, which was released in October 2007 and was mixed by Tortoise's John McEntire. Remember, a sprawling live album that spliced different versions of the same songs together into collage-like tracks, followed in 2008. That fall and into winter 2009, the Fiery Furnaces recorded I'm Going Away, a simpler, more stripped-down collection that drew on the warm sounds of '70s and '80s TV show theme songs like Taxi for inspiration. The album came out in summer 2009, by which point the band was already working on other ideas, including their "silent record," an album in book form, and their "Democ-Rock" project, which allowed fans of the band to vote on the group's creative process. ~ Heather Phares
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: I'm Going Away

1. I'm Going Away

2. Drive To Dallas

3. The End Is Near

4. Charmaine Champagne

5. Cut The Cake

6. Even In The Rain

7. Staring At The Steeple

8. Ray Bouvier

9. Keep Me In The Dark

10. Lost At Sea

11. Cups & Punches

12. Take Me Round Again

x

Track List: Remember

Disc 1

1. Intro

2. Blueberry Boat

3. Single Again

4. Two Fat Feet

5. Don't Dance Her Down

6. Single Again (Reprise)

7. Wicker Whatnots

8. Little Thatched Hut

9. I'm In No Mood

10. Black-Hearted Boy

11. Bitter Tea

12. Waiting To Know You

13. Vietnamese Telephone Ministry

14. Oh Sweet Woods

15. Borneo

16. Benton Harbor Blues

17. Japanese Slippers

18. Benton Harbor Blues (Reprise)

19. Whistle Rhapsody

20. Crystal Clear

21. Whistle Rhapsody (Reprise)

22. Teach Me Sweetheart

23. Evergreen

24. Bitter Tea (Reprise)

Disc 2

1. Chris Michaels

2. Quay Cur

3. My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found

4. Spaniolated

5. Name Game

6. Birdie Brain

7. 1917

8. Slavin' Away (Intro)

9. Tropical Ice-Land

10. Asthma Attack

11. Tropical Ice-Land (Reprise)

12. The Wayward Granddaughter

13. The Garfield El

14. A Candymaker's Knife In My Handbag

15. Forty-Eight Twenty-Three Twenty-Second St.

16. Slavin' Away

17. Seven Silver Curses

18. Clear Signal From Cairo

19. I'm Gonna Run

20. Here Comes The Summer

21. Chief Inspector Blancheflower

22. Automatic Husband

23. Ex-Guru

24. Clear Signal From Cairo (Reprise)

25. Philadelphia Grand Jury

26. Navy Nurse

27. Uncle Charlie

x

Track List: Bitter Tea (Dig)

1. In My Little Thatched Hut

2. I'm In No Mood

3. Black-Hearted Boy

4. Bitter Tea

5. Teach Me Sweetheart

6. Waiting To Know You

7. The Vietnamese Telephone Ministry

8. Oh Sweet Woods

9. Borneo

10. Police Sweater Blood Vow

11. Nevers!

12. Benton Harbor Blues

13. Whistle Rhapsody?

14. Nevers

15. Benton Harbor Blues

x

Track List: Rehearsing My Choir

1. The Garfield El

2. The Wayward Granddaughter

3. A Candymaker's Knife In My Handbag

4. We Wrote Letters Everyday

5. Forty-Eight Twenty-Three Twenty-Second Street

6. Guns Under The Counter

7. Seven Silver Curses

8. Though Let's Be Fair

9. Slavin' Away

10. Rehearsing My Choir

11. Does It Remind You Of When?

x

Track List: EP

1. Single Again

2. Here Comes The Summer

3. Evergreen

4. Sing For Me

5. Tropical-Iceland

6. Duffer St. George

7. Smelling Cigarettes

8. Cousin Chris

9. Sweet Spots

10. Sullivan's Social Slub

x

Track List: Blueberry Boat

1. Quay Cur

2. Straight Street

3. Blueberry Boat

4. Chris Michaels

5. Paw Paw Tree

6. My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found

7. Mason City

8. Chief Inspector Blancheflower

9. Spaniolated

10. 1917

11. Birdie Brain

12. Turning Round

13. Wolf Notes

x

Track List: Gallowsbird's Bark

1. South Is Only Home

2. I'm Gonna Run

3. Leaky Tunnel

4. Up In The North

5. Inca Rag / Name Game

6. Asthma Attack

7. Don't Dance Her Down

8. Crystal Clear

9. Two Fat Feet

10. Bow Wow

11. Gale Blow

12. Worry Worry

13. Bright Blue Tie

14. Tropical Ice-Land

15. Rub-Alcohol Blues

16. We Got Back The Plague

x

Track List: Widow City

1. The Philadelphia Grand Jury

2. Duplexes Of The Dead

3. Automatic Husband

4. Ex-Guru

5. Clear Signal From Cairo

6. My Egyptian Grammar

7. The Old Hag Is Sleeping

8. Japanese Slippers

9. Navy Nurse

10. Uncle Charlie

11. Right By Conquest

12. Restorative Beer

13. Wicker Whatnots

14. Cabaret Of The Seven Devils

15. Pricked In The Heart

16. Widow City

Comments

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Annoying and unnecessary
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for me the most frustrating thing is that, because i have indicated a preference for the fiery furnaces, pandora keeps feeding me songs from of montreal. how did they ever get those two bands as similar? one is great, the other garbage..... . . .
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decal_12
Great, but frustrating! But the two are inextricably linked. They get a lifetime pass for Blueberry Boat.
Report as inappropriate
I'm hearing these guys for the first time right now, and they sound pretty good so far, but I just have to say that Matthew looks a lot like a young Bruce Campbell. So, Bruce being a personal hero of mine, by extension I have to like this band. :)
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trinity_tori
Love this band, met them in Columbia Mo.....both are so nice, she was super shy but still signed my t-shirt.
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oh god...prog rock

jeeebus
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They're so good it causes me pain.
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The Residents+Th e Who+Patti Smith=Fiery Furnaces
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one of the best opening acts i've ever seen. They opened up for Wilco at the baltimore opera house... it was simply amazing. No breaks, the whole set was like RAWR We are TFF... everysong jumped immediately into the next... they rule. enough said.
Report as inappropriate
WOOOOOOOOOOO O O O O O O O O O HOOOOOOOOOOO O O O O O O O O O O O O O O
SOOOOOOO GOOOOOOOOOOO O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O O D
!!!!!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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I just saw this band play live for the first time about 3 weeks ago. Simply amazing. You will miss out if you do not give this band a chance.
Report as inappropriate
My absolute favorite band of all time. Not even joking. Just ask me on the street what my favorite band is. "Fiery Furnaces" no hesitation.
Report as inappropriate
they are amazingly eclectic. what a wonderful, unique band. i love them.

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