New York-based band Firewater incorporated a global range of musical influences into their highly dynamic sound. A loosely knit ensemble centered around the lead vocals of ex-Cop Shoot Cop bass player Tod A. (born: Tod Ashley), Firewater tied together such influences as Klezmer, Indian wedding music, art-punk, and Tom Waits-style cabaret poetry to create their heady, often quite danceable sound. Coupled with Tod A.'s acerbic, post-apocalyptic, and death-obsessed lyrics, Firewater was a band to be reckoned with almost from the beginning.
Shortly after forming in 1995, Firewater released its debut, Get Off the Cross, We Need the Wood for the Fire. Both it and 1998's The Ponzi Scheme featured guitarist Duane Denison of Jesus Lizard, drummer Yuval Gabay of Soul Coughing, and saxophone and accordion player Kurt Hofmann of the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. The sultry vocals of Elysian Fields' Jennifer Charles also drifted through both albums. Charles returned for 2001's more pop-oriented Psychopharmacology; other contributions came from saxophonist Ori Kaplan and sitar player Oren Bloedow. In 2003, Tod A. and his "wedding band gone wrong" returned with a stripped-down, razor-wire-wrapped effort for Jet Set entitled The Man on the Burning Tightrope. The covers album Songs We Should Have Written appeared early the following year. Tod A. then went on an extended trek through Thailand, India, Pakistan, Turkey ,and Indonesia, which he chronicled on his blog Postcards from the Other Side of the World. A. also recorded music on his travels, collaborating with producer Tamir Muskat and local musicians along the way. The results were The Golden Hour, which Bloodshot Records released in spring 2008. After touring in support of that album, A. settled in Istanbul, and recorded there and in Tel Aviv during 2011's Arab Spring, reuniting with Muskat as a collaborator. International Orange arrived in September 2012. ~ Johnny Loftus