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

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