Upcoming Concert Reviews of The Fiery Furnaces, Hydra and More...

More Concerts of Note

The Fiery Furnaces



The Fiery Furnaces

Wednesday · Southgate House

Brother and sister Matt and Eleanor Frieberger (aka The Fiery Furnaces) make lovely, convoluted Pop. Efforts to categorize them have compared them to The Carpenters (but they're better fed) and The White Stripes (but they're actually brother and sister, unlike Jack and Meg). But neither of those two bands hit the mark. It's a bit like saying that Mötley Crüe is like The Beatles because both bands have four members. The analogies break down easily. The two reportedly weren't terribly close growing up, but after college they started making music together. In 2000, they named themselves the Fiery Furnaces and began gigging around. The band also includes Toshi Yano on synths and bass and Andy Knowles on drums. Their latest recording is an EP titled, simply enough, EP, which collects some B-sides and alternative takes. They released their debut full-length, Gallowsbird's Bark, on Rough Trade in 2003 and followed it up in 2004 with Blueberry Boat, on which the duo began to branch out and trip out with warped mini symphonies that delight and sometimes confound — but in a good way, as if you suddenly found a llama grazing on your lawn.

You'd have no idea how it got there, but, hey, it's a llama ... what can you do? Blueberry Boat is like those Sid and Marty Krofft shows that used to be on in the 1970s. It's a little hole in reality that you happen to stumble upon and, when you enter it, everything is more colorful, brighter, slightly phantasmagoric and giddy. You either just shrug and laugh and roll with it, or it completely disturbs your conception of reality and you return to your Dave Matthews CDs, you poor bastard. Eat about three bowls of Count Chocula and then listen to the CD — it'll make perfect sense to you after that. But for the terminally Choculated or for those with a finely tuned sense of the absurd and with musical tastes that run toward smartly-crafted songs that fly in the face of convention, the Furnaces are a real treat. (Dale Johnson)

Hydra

Monday · Madison Theater

Over the course of their long, strange 40-year trip, the individual members of the Grateful Dead have always been eclectically active outside the parameters of the band. Side projects and solo albums have been a hallmark of the Dead almost since the band began, and there's a fairly good case to be made that no single Dead member has been more musically far-reaching and creatively restless in his extracurricular activities than drummer Mickey Hart. For years, Hart has explored the fringes of musical expression and the relationship between the music he's played with the Dead and with his side project, the Rhythm Devils, and everything else that strikes his fancy — World rhythms, Ambient whispers, Trance pulses. Hart's most recent forays into Electronica have been with Particle, a self-dubbed "Funktronic" band that came together five years ago and which has seized the interest of the always engaged Jam community. On its own, Particle has already inspired a substantial buzz — Rolling Stone named the band one of Rock's most promising "New Faces" of 2004 and the Associated Press named their debut album, Launchpad, one of the Top 10 albums of last year. From the outset, Hart realized that his work with Particle was substantially different from anything he had done on his own and the band recognized a shift in their own musical mindset as well. To avoid any confusion, Hart and Particle decided to christen their new collaboration Hydra, ostensibly in honor of the number of creative minds involved in its process. Defined by Hart as "extreme music for extreme people," Hydra will offer up a handful of original songs, a smattering of rearranged Particle tunes and perhaps even an appropriately retooled nugget or two from the Dead catalog. Hydra's show here is only one of only 14 dates nationwide: for Dead fans particularly and Jam aficionados in general, this one is not to be missed. (Brian Baker)

The Squeaky Fromme

Tuesday · Sudsy Malone's

The Squeaky Fromme are not just another NYC transplant with a cute name. OK, they are. But with a clever and disorienting mix of '70s guitar Rock and '80s Post Punk, they are not likely to be lumped in with any fading trends, especially not if they are judged by their 2004 release, Photography. Harmonized Garage Pop battling with stylized Indie Rock and hints of Americana might leave some confused, but the fervor with which they attack each turn is impressive. Most of the songs are full-throttle Rock & Roll, laced with strong (but not overwhelming) Pop overtones, closer to Montrose than Cheap Trick on the Classic Rock yard stick. A couple of the tracks are jangly acoustic numbers, almost putting you in the mind of a down home Grateful Dead revival. These tunes, most likely holdovers from singer/guitarist Damien Pratt's solo run, help frame the band's delicate side and give a good idea of the breadth of their artistic and dynamic range. TSF's wild diversity is almost reminiscent of the Replacements' Hootenanny, though far less sloppy. Pratt and bassist Dave Murelli have provided the polished backbone as the band has endured a number of lineup changes, the most recent being the addition of drummer Jim Wood and guitarist Nina57. The latter, a diminutive string thrasher, is dwarfed by her band mates but nonetheless adds a simmering, Kirsten Hersh-like feminine energy to the band's explosive show. She also looks eerily like TSF's infamous namesake. If you don't recall your '70s trivia, Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme was the Manson Family member whose attempted assassination of Gerald Ford with an unloaded gun was as comical as any Chevy Chase skit. Rest assured, when this band gets their shot, they'll be more prepared. (Ezra Waller)

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