Missed Music

Music you didn’t know you needed…until now.

Unique Indie Pop from The Fiery Furnaces

The Fiery Furnaces are a challenging band. They’re difficult to categorize. Sometimes they’re difficult to listen to. It’s near impossible to get some of their melodies out of your head. What makes them so interesting is they take chances. They use odd mixes of instruments, jarring transitions, and occasionally bizarre melodies. It’s Bizarro World Pop. When it doesn’t work (for me – I know this is subjective) it can be kind of a turn off. However, when it works, the result is impressive, cool, and incredibly catchy.

Ah yes, the old dog and goat motif.

Ah yes, the old dog and goat motif.

The main creative players in the band are brother and sister, Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger, originally from Oak Park, IL. Including their major label debut in 2003, they’ve released 7 albums in 6 years. The ones I have are full of moments of brilliance and are never boring. I want to recommend you check out what remains my favorite release of theirs, their 2003 debut, Gallowsbird’s Bark.

  • South Is Only a Home – Frantically descending piano and guitar (and vibes?) riffs tumble behind Eleanor Friedberger’s vocals. Her voice reminds me of Chrissie Hynde. Just the voice, not really the performance.
  • Up in the North – The vocals serve up an appealing pop hook and the piano and acoustic guitar plod along pleasantly behind it. The synthesized kazoo is the oddity in this one. It works, though.
  • Two Fat Feet – They really have it all working on this song. The piano riff is a canvas for the colorful guitar. The vocal line Eleanor chooses for the verses is cool and kind of edgy, but then slides into a smooth poppy chorus (albeit with strange lyrics). Listen to the whole thing.
  • Bow Wow – OK, so the piano line is very accessible (but check out the twisted solo at the end of the song) and the melody won’t leave your head. Catchy little pop tune… with bizarre and incomprehensible lyrics.
  • Worry Worry – This is a great song. Everybody’s doing cool work. Great use of reverb on the vocals. I dig the bass line. The mini-guitar solos dispersed throughout the song are weird and perfect. Great lyrics, too: “Don’t you wish your little boy was cute like mine. He’s a married man, but he comes to see me sometimes.” Listen to the whole thing and watch some random cutie try on hats.

I also have Crystal Clear on my iPod. I like it, but it’s weird without being as catchy and I hesitate to recommend it for some reason. If I like it, though, you might too. Check out their website and their other releases. If you’re bored with Pop music, these guys will turn it on its side for you.


April 20, 2009 - Posted by | Alternative, Indie, Popular, Rock

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