Back to the Future: How Fiery Furnaces Came to Pass
Brooklyn indie-rock duo the Fiery Furnaces comes to Walter's on Washington tonight behind last year'sI'm Going Away
and it's quasi-remix albumTake Me Round Again
. The brother and sister team of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger come from a long lineage of likeminded indie skronkers. Being a related twosome doesn't hurt either when it comes to shorthand comparisons, even if it is a little limiting. It's hard for most people to not lump them in with those two-tone kids from Detroit. The band has released their Rough Trade debut,Gallowsbird's Bark
, in 2003 and immediately found themselves as that year's indie-darlings. By the next year they were holding down stages at Coachella and most of the bigger destination festivals. Blueberry Boat came in 2004 and the concept album was met with praise and a few perplexed looks from the bloggerati who weren't prepared for such a thing from the Friedbergers. 2006'sBitter Tea
was a Suicide and Devo-steeped set of creepy electronics beds and Eleanor singing like a crazed Nico on speed. To this day it is a expert example of indie headphone rock. The more straightforwardWidow City
came out the next fall on Thrill Jockey and live the tracks reached nearly cock-rock heights with the album's guitar lines getting magnified dramatically. It got loud. Very loud for an album referencing a holy city in Northern India. A biopsy of the Furnaces' sound brings takes you through a Who's Who of the past forty years of fantastic freaks who didn't cotton to industry ways. What can you really say about the Captain that hasn't been said before?White Stripes "Hotel Yorba"
Early on, the Stripes were the closest cousin to the Furnaces sound, but Meg and Jack quickly pulled away and off onto the back ofElephant
and the even more layeredGet Behind Me Satan
three short years later.Moldy Peaches
Largely broken up since 2004, the Moldy Peaches got a huge push by 2007'sJuno
soundtrack while a whole third generation of kids discovered freak-folk for themselves.Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
The herky-jerky sonics of the Furnaces were very much birthed by Captain Beefheart's crazy genius braincasing. One spin of Beefheart's Ice Cream For Crow will rot your brain in the best way possible.Violent Femmes
The energy in the Femmes is heard in the Furnaces, and actually Gordon Gano and Eleanor Friedberger's voices sound like they are long-lost twins.Royal Trux
For 14 years, the Royal Trux duo of Neil Hagerty and Jennifer Herrema burned through the land on a Stonesy blues wail and an ear for the burgeoning grunge phenomenon. The couple broke up in 2001 and the band soon followed suit. Singer-guitarist Hagerty can now be found in the Howling Hex and Herrema still rocks Trux outgrowth RTX.