The Fiery Furnaces’ Sonic Epileptic Fit Heats Up

One doesn’t so much dance to the Fiery Furnaces as twitch pleasantly, grabbing whatever snatches of rhythm one can as Eleanor Friedberger’s Ritalin-addled incantations about blueberry boats, mystery Mormons, and who knows what else dart about brother Matthew Friedberger’s keyboard lines. This arrangement was great with the kids, thrilled to be out of school (and the semi-adults wishing they were still kids glad to be out of school) last night (July 5), as the huddled masses in black-frame glasses gleefully convulsed at D.C.’s Black Cat venue. Following Orphan (whose singer noodled, back to audience, combining the onanism of the worst classic rock with the disdain for the audience of the worst indie rock) and Cali psych rockers dios (malos) (who made like a stoner-friendly Fountains of Wayne, filtering sugar-pop through bong water), the Furnaces were a shock — they played “Bitter Tea,” “Oh Sweet Woods,” and “Single Again” as well as a host of tracks from their forthcoming LP, Widow City — but bled together into two electrifying hours, a sort of prolonged musical epileptic fit. JEFFREY PARKER / PHOTOS BY NESTOR DIAZ

We asked: The Fiery Furnaces’ Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger are brother and sister. Who are your favorite rock’n’roll siblings and why?


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