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The best Fiery Furnaces post, ever

Welcome me back, I've been away from the blog for a day, believe it or not to escort my wife to a Pink concert, and, beleive it or not again, enjoying it quite a bit. Pink is a fine entertainer and REALLY puts out live, a very awesome visual experience....as for the music, well, I've heard LOTS worse, including in particular the Hives who opened and whom I have always thought sucked and who did little to change my opinion Wedensday night.....don't worry I am NOT going to do a post "about" Pink", that would be limited to my wet dreams regarding her, but lets touch on someone I've wanted to do for a while, the Fiery Furnaces, one of my favorite, and most original, acts of the past decade or so......THIS IS NOT going to be for everyone, but I really DO love these guys and wanted to give them some props.

The Fiery Furnaces formed  Brooklyn NY, they are composed of brother/sister tandem of vocalist Elanor Friedberger and guitarist Matthew Friedberger, a brother/sister combo (ONCE AGAIN allow me to point out how many great bands of the recent era were male/female duos: Mommy and Daddy, The Raveonettes, The Kills, The White Stripes, The Fiery Furnaces, SAMAX (haven't heard from you guys in a while!).....anyway, the Friedbergers are awesome, and produce some WAAAAAY out there sounds, and then turn around and reinvent the whole thing in their brain-mashing live shows.

They released their first album "Gallowsbird's Bark" in 2002, it's loaded with some of their better songs, such as "Tropical Iceland", "Athsma Attack", "Don't Dance Her Down", and "Leaky Tunnel", all very cool tracks that would later be absolutley blown apart by killer live versions of the same. This is very unique stuff, can't think of a sngle thing to compare it to, I love Elanor's incredible vocals and Matthew's guitar wizardry.

Album #2 "Blueberry Boat", in  my view, is quite good as well, it did not receive a lot of critical acclaim, the lead off track "Quay-Cur" is ALL over the place in ten minutes, when we talk about "alternative" music we throw that term around REALLY loosely, but where the hell else can you slot an act like this? The album also contains "Chris Michaels" and "My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found".......fine stuff, again, which would later be bowlderized into steaming in-concert versions.

Next they released "EP", this is an actual TITLE not a designation.....it rounds up some thier singles and B-sides and a couple of new tracks, the highlight being a fine reworking of the folk standard "Single Again", which was released as a single to attempt to gain the band some sort of mainstream exposure.

2005 brought "Rehearsing My Choir".....I am NOT crazy about this album, it is a very ambitious effort in which the Friedberger's GRANDMOTHER narrates stories about her life, for me it really doesn't work, I know some who do praise it, judge for yourself.

Album #5 was entitled "Bitter Tea" and seemed to be searching a bit for mainstream acceptance, don't think it really worked out that way for them, but, again, some good songs here, ("Benton Harbor Blues", "I'm in No Mood"), if you like the Furnaces, there is a good chance this is your favorite album by them.....I really like the bizarre leadoff track "In My Little Thatched Hut"......

Next, in 2007, they released yet another fine album, one of the better efforts of that year "Widow City", which contains the wonderful "The Philadelphia Grand Jury", the very cool "Clear Signal From Cairo",  and lots of other cool stuff, VERY few bands mature/age as well as these kids have. They released, that same year, a live compilation, "Remember" that I have been looking for ever since 2007 and have NEVER ONCE seen or heard of a copy, I wonder seriously whether it truly exists.

In 2009 they released their SEVENTH studio album, "I'm Going Away", for my money it is a success as well, but as you can probably tell I REALLY like these guys, it's another fine collection of Elanor's awesome vocals and the instrumental dexterity of Matthew. Truly, these guys were one of the most unappreciated bands of the so-called "alternative" era, when bands like Pearl Jam, who, in all honesty, sounded like 1000 OTHER hard rock bands wore the label of "alternative", THIS band was REALLY alternative, impossible of being compared to ANYONE else.

In thier typical way of doing things, they released an album entitled "Take Me Round Again", which featured DIFFERENT VERSIONS of the songs on "I'm Going Away".....It is a Fiery Furnaces trademard to take their songs and constantly reinvent them (live, at least), this is a studio version of the same, and, again, I have NEVER seen of heard of a single copy of it.....woule LOVE to have one, attention all minions!

OK, that WOULD be, perhaps the end of  the story, and it would not be ALL THAT exciting of a story, except for this: Thier live shows are off the charts awesome. They are one band that is many, many times greater on stage than in the studio. As I alluded to above they have released one "official" live album (that I have never even seen a copy of), but I do have several boots here that paint the proper picture of them live. if you are dabbling, this is one of the VERY few bands that I would advise you to begin dabbling with the live boots, they are tremendous.

Let us begin with one of the greatest "unoffical" live boots I have ever heard from ANYONE, "Washington DC 6/30/06"....this is an incredible set, not a single dull moment on it, as they take their catalouge and completely STAND IT ON IT'S HEAD,. Elanor is generally the focal poinnt on record, but on stage, Matthew can be just incredible.....If you are dabbling, PLEASE try this one, and THEN GO BACK and listen to the studio versions of these tracks, you will be amazed. Geez, I don't even know where to start....a great opening version of "Chris Michaels"....a fine "Athsma Attack"....great versions of "Don't Dance Her Down" and "Single Again", but the TRUE highlight is the absolute smoked up version of "Leaky Tunnel/Tropical Iceland" which redefines these tunes (espeically the latter)......if you have never heard this album (most haven't) you are doing yourself an injustice.

What else we got? "Live On KCRW 2007" contains some later material, a lot from "Widow City", and is a good look at their live shows as well (not as good as the DC set), and a couple of MORE sets from right around the same time, both late 2007, one from Portland Oregon and one from Ausitn Texas......I recommend them both ONCE YOU GET INTO this band, these recordings are gems that I love and want to share with EVERYONE.

I have here also a super-rartity, the Furnaces appearing on "Lounge Acts" on WOXY, unsure of the date, but if you happen to  a fan of these folks, (as I obviously am, after all this), you'll want to add this radio performance as well.

The Fiery Furnaces were not/are not for everyone......they incorporate a LOT of elements into their music that for some are hard to deal with........BUT I think they are great, YOU may hate them and that is fine too......but that Washington DC set for my money is a five star bootleg, and fairly hard to track down, so if some of you at least appreciate THAT one it will be worth it........

See ya tomorrow with God only knows what?

GALLOWSBIRD'S BARK-01 South is Only a Home/02 Im Gonna Run/03 Leaky Tunnel/04 Up In the North/05 Inca Rag/Name Game/06 Asthma Attack/07 Don't Dance Her Down/08 Crystal Clear/09 Two Fat Feet/10 Bow Wow/11 Gale Blow/12 Worry Worry/13 Bright Blue Tie/14 Tropical Icelande/15 Rub-Alcohol Blues/16 We Got Back the Plague

BLUEBERRY BOAT-01Quay Cur/02 Straight Street/03 Blueberry Boat/04 Chris Michaels/05 Paw Paw Tree/06 My Dog Was Lost But Know He's Found/07 Mason City/08 Chief Inspector Blanchfelmer/09 Spanisbited/10 1917/11 Birdie Brain/12 Turning Round/13 Wolf Note

EP-01 Single Again/02 Here Comes the Summer/03 Evergreen/04 Sing For Me/05 Tropical Iceland/06Duffer St. George/07 Smelling Cigarettes/08 Cousin Chris/09 Sweet Spots/10 Sullivan's Social Club

REHEARSING MY CHOIR-01 The Garfield El/02 The Wayward Grandaughter/03 A Candymaker's Knife in My Handbag/04 We Wrote Letters Every Day/05 Forty Eight Twenty Three Twenty Second Street/06 Guns Under the Counter/07 Seven Silver Curses/08 Though Let's Be Fair/09 Slavin Away/10 Rehearsing My Choir/11 Does It Remind You Of When

BITTER TEA-01 In My Little Thatched Hut/02 I'm In No Mood/03 Black Hearted Boy/04 Bitter Tea/05 Teach me Sweetheart/06 Waiting To Know You/07 The Vietnamese Telephone Ministry/08 Oh Sweet Words/09 Bornero/10 Police Sweater Blood Vow/11 Nevers!/12 Benton Harbor Blues/13 Whistle Rhapsody

WIDOW CITY-01 The Philadelphia Grand Jury/02 Duplexes of the Dead/03 Automatic Husband/04 Ex-Guru/05 Clear Signal From Cairo/06 My Egyptian Grammer/07 The Old Hag Is Sleeping/08 Japanese Slippers/09 Navy Nurse/10 Uncle Charlie/11 Right By Consent/12 Restorative Beer/13 Wicker Whatnots/14 Cabaret of the Seven Devils/15 Pricked In the Heart/16 Widow City

I'M GOING AWAY-01 I'm Going Away/02 Drive to Dallas/03 The End Is Near/04 Charmaine Champagne/05 Cut the Cake/06 Even in the Rain/07 Staring at the Steeple/08 Ray Bouvier/09 Keep Me In the Dark/10 Lost at Sea/11 Cups & Punches/12 Take Me Round Again

WASHINGTON DC 6/30/06-01 Chris Michaels/02 Crystal Clear/03 Straight Street/04 Police Sweater Blood Vow/My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found/05 Athsma Attack/06 Benton Harbor Blues/07 Quay Kur/08 The Garfield El/The Candlemaker's Knife In My handbag/09 Evergreen/10 Teach me Sweetheart/11 Waiting To Know You/12 I'm in No Mood/13 Leaky Tunnel/Tropical Iceland/14 Single Again/15 Don't Dance Her Down/16 Blueberry Boat/17 Up In the North/18 Chief Inspector Blancheflower/19 Slaving Away/20 Bitter Tea/21 Rub-Alcohol Blues

KCRW 10/23/07-01 Intro/02 Duplexes of the Dead/03 Automatic Husband/04 Ex-Guru/05 My Egyptian Grammar/06 Japanese Slippers/07 Widow City/08 Interview/09 Navy Nurse/10 The Philadelphia Grand Jury/11 Clear Signal From Cairo/12 Outro

AUSTIN TEXAS 10/27/07 (EMO'S)-01 Inca Rag/Name Game/02 Birdie Brain/03 Navy Nurse/04 Duplexes of the Dead/05 Automatic Husband/06 Ex-Guru/07 Straight Street/08 My Egyptian Grammar/09 Evergreen/10 Black-hearted Boy/11 Bitter Tea/12 Japanese Slipper/13 Widow City/14 Restorative Beer/15 The Garfield El/Candymaker's Knife In My Handbag/16 Forty Eight Twenty Three Twenty Second Street/17 Seven Silver Curses/18 Slavin' Away/19 The Philadelphia Grand dJury/20 Clear Signal From Cairo/21 Encore Break/22 Blueberry Boat/23 My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found/24 Tropical Iceland

PORTLAND OREGON 10/17/07 (ALADDIN THEATER)-01 Intro/02 The Philadelphia Grand Jury/03 Navy Nurse/04 My Egyptian Grammar/05 Evergreen/06 Duplexes of the Dead/Automatic Husband/Ex-Guru/07 Name Game/Birdie Brain/08 Right By Conquest/09 Black-Hearted Boy/Bitter Tea/10 The Garfield El/11 Candymakers Knife In My Handbag/4823 22nd Street/12 Seven Silver Curses/13 Slavin Away/14 Japanese Slippers/15 Widow City/16 Clear Signal From Cairo/17 Don't Dance Her Down/Single Again/18 My Dog Was Lost But Now He's Found/19 Restorative Beer

WOXY LOUNGE ACTS-01 (unsplit tracks)

The links will be up when they are up......zippy has been treamendous as of late, so they may be up tonight yet but I sure wouldn't bet Mom's meth money on it.

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