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The Fiery Furnaces

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

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