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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
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Stations Featuring
The Fiery Furnaces

Albums by
The Fiery Furnaces

Top Songs by
The Fiery Furnaces

  1.   Song
  2.   Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)
  3.   Sweet Spots
  4.   Leaky Tunnel
  5.   We Wrote Letters Everyday
  6.   Mason City
  7.   The Vietnamese Telephone Ministry
  8.   Candymaker's Knife In My Handbag
  9.   The Wayward Granddaughter
  10.   Nevers
  11.   Crystal Clear
  12.   Straight Street
  13.   Evergreen
  14.   In My Little Thatched Hut
  15.   1917
  16.   Slavin' Away
  17.   Sing For Me
  18.   I'm Gonna Run
  19.   Duffer St. George
  20.   Inca Rag/Name Game
  21.   Bright Blue Tie
  22.   I'm in No Mood
  23.   Rehearsing My Choir
  24.   Though Let's Be Fair
  25.   Paw Paw Tree
  26.   Single Again
  27.   Tropical-Iceland
  28.   South Is Only a Home
  29.   Don't Dance Her Down
  30.   My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found
  31.   The Garfield El
  32.   Two Fat Feet
  33.   Here Comes the Summer
  34.   We Got Back the Plague
  35.   Navy Nurse
  36.   Blueberry Boat
  37.   Teach Me Sweetheart
  38.   Seven Silver Curses
  39.   Oh Sweet Woods
  40.   Whistle Rhapsody
  41.   Does It Remind You Of When
  42.   Rub-Alcohol Blues
  43.   Chris Michaels
  44.   Turning Round
  45.   Cousin Chris
  46.   Worry Worry
  47.   I'm Waiting to Know You
  48.   Up in the North
  49.   Bitter Tea
  50.   Gale Blow
  51.   Black-Hearted Boy
  52.   Quay Cur
  53.   Guns Under The Counter
  54.   Do the Romp
  55.   Police Sweater Blood Vow
  56.   Forty-Eight Twenty-Three Twenty-Second Street
  57.   Smelling Cigarettes
  58.   Bow Wow
  59.   Spaniolated
  60.   Sullivan's Social Slub
  61.   Wolf Notes
  62.   Benton Harbor Blues
  63.   Borneo
  64.   Birdie Brain
  65.   Chief Inspector Blancheflower

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