wears the trousers magazine

new fiery furnaces album, book and boxset
April 28, 2009, 12:48 pm
Filed under: news, trouser press | Tags: , , ,


Fourth project in the works too

Blessed with a work ethic that puts, well, pretty much everyone to shame, sibling duo Fiery Furnaces have been suspiciously quiet since the release of last year’s double live album Remember. Unthinkably, it’s been two years since their last studio album, the brilliant ’70s rock throwback Widow City. So what have they been doing? Resting on their laurels? Catching up on half a decade of lost sleep? Of course not. They’ve been making stuff. Lots of stuff.

Topping the list by virtue of the fact that it has an actual release date (July 21st) is Eleanor and Matthew Friedberger’s latest studio opus, I’m Going Away. Recorded and mixed in New York City at the beginning of this year and end of the last, the album features regular touring members Jason Loewenstein (ex-Sebadoh) and Bob D’Amico and comes with this none too enlightening description:

“All rock music is a sort of dramatic music. And since the times are tough, it makes sense to have that ‘drama’ be something more like a version of ‘Taxi’ than something like a version of ‘Titanic’. We like ‘Taxi’ better than ‘Titanic’ anyway. So we hope that some of the songs on this record can be used as theme songs to folk’s own personal versions of ‘Taxi’. Because – ideally – the dramatic setting of the music isn’t provided by the story or image of the given act or band. It’s provided by the lives of the people who use – listen to – the music. That is pop music’s promise and problem, or danger. So be careful and don’t get canceled.”

So, anyway, the album furthers the collaborative partnership between Eleanor and Matthew, with Eleanor taking a much larger role in writing the lyrics. Of the dozen songs, 11 are original and one (the title track) is a cover of a traditional folk number famously recorded by the legendary Elizabeth Cotten on her 1965 Smithsonian Folkways album Shake Sugaree Volume 2. It will no doubt get a completely different arrangement!

Two more projects that the band hope to put out this year are (1) a “non-record record” called Silent Record, which seems to be a book containing sheet music and instructions for as yet unrecorded Fiery Furnaces compositions; and (2) a limited edition vinyl boxset that I don’t fully understand (the mooted title is fun though: Your Cashier Today Was ACM CASHIER 96). The boxset was apparently inspired by bits of paper their fans threw on sage during their 2008 tour: this method of writing songs has been dubbed “Democ-Rock”. The fourth thing – currently without a projected release date – is another new album called Songs From The Old Testament By The Fiery Furnaces. Wonder what that’s about then.



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

Alan Pedder


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