Fiery Furnaces and the Journey Toward Neverending Domestic Bliss

Alright, I’ve been asked to provide an update to all interested parties on what’s been going on recently and what’s planned for the near future in the world of "Matt and Eleanor." Well, six months ago, we had our first child, a little baby boy. Frankly, he’s a total nightmare. He smiles at us almost constantly, and we totally feel compelled to weakly smile back. His very existence also means we can never get out and see shows anymore. Consequently, we’re looking into the possibility of making some infertile rich people very happy. For roughly three grand, you can buy lifetime rights to the shit machine. It’ll pay for the trip to LA we’re planning for the end of the month, and as a bonus for us, The Locust are playing there! Rad.

We also moved into a new house last fall, and unfortunately the neighbors are making our lives even worse than the baby did. You know the score -- snide looks, ignoring our cheery greetings, acid thrown into the baby’s pram. The mad lady next door threw a badly decomposed squirrel onto our porch last Tuesday, with a message stapled to it claiming “YOUR NEXT” (sic). I know it was her, because I saw her zooming back up the path in her wicked, motorized wheelchair. I guess they just don’t know how to cope with the white-hot style we’ve brought to the neighborhood. Makes ‘em feel small.

On a positive note, Eleanor’s new job is going just great; we’d heard that the pimps in our new town were far, far less brutal than where we were living before. I’m glad to report our experiences have, for the most part, borne this out. I mean, she gets a little slap or two from time to time, but it’s a pretty small price to pay, seeing as she loves the work so much. Dirty cow...

[Real-Time Editor's Note: Macka, when I said I wanted a Matt and Eleanor update, I was talking about Matt and Eleanor from THE FUCKING FIERY FURNACES!!! DUHHHH. Serious, we like you around TMT, but u gots to step up your game if u want to make it in the industry.]

Oops. I’ve just been told by the editor that it’s not my wife and I’s scintillating life together that the readers of TMT want to know about; it’s the Matt and Eleanor out of the pop band The Fiery Furnaces! My apologies! This has hurt my feelings just a little, I must admit, because in common with most residents of the North American continent, I just fucking love talking about myself ALL THE TIME. But, you know, Mr P is a pretty hard person to argue with, especially when he looks deep into your pathetic soul with those delicious eyes of his...

So, yes, The Fiery Furnaces. The other Matt and Eleanor. Well, they’ve evidently had enough of Fat Possum, the label that released last year's Bitter Tea (TMT Review), and have signed with Thrill Jockey for their new album Widow City, due in October (woo... a very Charles Bronsonesque title, no?). Prior to the release of the album, they're going on a tour titled “The Fiery Furnaces Fourth Of July Tour,” which is crazy, yeah, because they’re not playing a show on July 4 at all! Even crazier is that they’re promising to play “some” tracks off the new album on tour as well. Wow. Gonna be GREAT.

Interestingly, Matt (the Fiery one), has stated that the tour is dedicated to Nancy Faust, organist for the hyphey collective that go by the name of the Chicago White Sox. Ms Faust is entering her 38th year as organist for the club, so yes, she’s pretty old. Fiery Furnaces... old women... fucked-up records... what could happen here is just too gruesome to comprehend. I’ll just concentrate on the tourdates:

all dates with Dios

In a Fit of Dyslexia, Frank Black Announces New ‘Black Francis’ Record Details

Whenever I think about Frank Black (which, admittedly, isn’t all that often... dude’s kinda freaky looking, isn’t he?), I think about Jurassic Park.

Why?

Chaos Theory, my man.

Let’s face it: Jeff Goldblum's sputtery, pseudo-science nerd-cracks about those incorrigible (read: ferociously murderous) dinos might as well have referred to the wanton, impulsive, and ultimately enduring career of the sometimes bombastic Black, who is kind of a snarling reptile in his own right. I mean, come on; he growls, he roars, he’s relatively hairless, and, just like life, he “finds a way.”

Dubbing himself “Black Francis,” for his successful but ultimately strained run as frontman of Pixies until 1993, Black then changed his path like a drop of water rolling off a hand and decided to revert back to using his real name for a string of solo albums through the rest of the '90s and well into the '00s, most recently culminating in the Dylan-inspired Honeycomb. Even when Pixies reunited, Black stuck to his real name and tended to avoid the old stage moniker like Raptors avoid a T. Rex. Now THAT’S Chaos Theory!

But get ready for another random jerk-around, America, cuz that’s not the end of it. For no terribly apparent reason, “Black Francis” is back, and he’s fixin’ to release a new record called Bluefinger September 11 of this year on Cooking Vinyl Records. According to a press release meant to “explain” the sudden change of heart (apparently Chaos Theory isn’t really a valid reason for things in the REAL world and a legitimate explanation was sought... hmmmm), the newly re-monikered madman had the following convoluted and, dare I say unpredictable, Chaos Theory-affirming nonsense to say:

"I privately went back to the old stage name, if that even makes any sense, almost as a joke. I couldn't get The Pixies back into a studio, but I would transform into my alter ego of yesteryear. I spoke the magic syllables aloud and nothing happened; just as I thought. Soon after, my new manager asked me for a bonus track for a 'best of' compilation to be released later in the year. And as I prepared for the session, I became (honestly) gripped by the spirit of Herman Brood, and my bonus track expanded into an 11 song record called Bluefinger in just a few days. Thank you Herman. You were at the distant edge of my vision for years when suddenly I was under your influence like a cloud of opium, like the scent of the house of the rising sun. Bliss. Bliss. Bliss. I had spoken the magical name and nothing had happened, but I was impatient, and like so many people, I thought the magic would reveal itself in an instant, as depicted in films. Magic is more subtle. And Herman Brood did turn me back into BLACK FRANCIS. Funny how things work out. You just never know."

Uhhhh...

Yeah, funny how things work out, indeed. So, “Who in the hell’s Herman Brood,” you ask? Well, apparently he was an eccentric Dutch painter and musician who committed suicide about 6 years ago by jumping off the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel (at least, according to Google, anyway). Does that clear things up for you at all? I didn’t think so.

So what IS the significance of the moniker switch and will be its effect on Black’s music this time around? Ladies and gentlemen, not even Dr. Ian Malcolm could answer THAT question. Looks like we’ll all just have to wait until September to try and make sense out of Black’s beautiful chaos. Here’s hoping we all survive.

Page France To Tour Everywhere Except Near Me; I Want To Cry

Sitting here and writing this story is bittersweet, as I gaze across the road and see an abandoned barn and silo. It's red and falling apart, occupied by bats, owls, and the occasional family of birds. The silo hasn't been used for years; an ancient relic of a time that no longer exists since industrial farming became dominant. I loathe that silo.

You see, a few months ago my parents and I tried getting wireless high speed internet. The installer told us that he couldn't get a high signal strength because of the silo. I sometimes fantasize about strapping plastic explosives to that spire of evil. Now here I am, still stuck writing this story on a dial-up internet connection.

The point is I live in the middle of nowhere, so much so that I can't get cable and I can't get wireless high speed internet, so I'm restricted to dial-up. Don't even begin to tell me about satellite internet as an alternative; it's atrocious and you know it. Living in the middle of nowhere isn't the best, especially when one of your favorite bands play a ton of dates and none of them are near you. Page France is one of those favorite bands, and the pop-folk five-piece play some of the most beautiful folk I've ever heard. I hear they play an amazing live set, and with this year's May 8 release of their new LP, ...And The Family Telephone, they will have a lot of great songs to choose from.

If you go see them at any of the dates listed blow, then tell 'em Kyle wishes he could be there and they should hit up Dayton or Columbus, OH next time. Tell them even though they are neglecting me, I still love them. Time to go grab a box of tissues

06.14.07 - Washington, DC - The Red and The Black
06.26.07 - Lexington, KY - The Dame
06.28.07 - Bushnell, IL - Cornerstone Festival
06.29.07 - Chicago, IL - Beat Kitchen
06.30.07 - Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
07.02.07 - Omaha, NE - The Waiting Room
07.03.07 - Iowa City, IA - The Picador
07.04.07 - Davenprt, IA - Daytrotter house
07.05.07 - Madison, WI - Café Montmartre
07.06.07 - Milwaukee, WI - Stonefly Brewery
07.07.07 - DeKalb, IL - The House Café
07.08.07 - Grand Rapids, MI - The Division Ave. Arts Cooperative
07.09.07 - Cleveland, OH - Beachland Tavern
07.11.07 - Buffalo, NY - Mohawk Place
07.12.07 - Ottawa, ON - Cisco Systems Bluesfest/Black Sheep
07.21.07 - Philadelphia, PA - North Star Bar *
07.22.07 - Washington, DC - Black Cat *
07.23.07 - Chapel Hill, NC - Local 506 *
07.24.07 - Atlanta, GA - The Earl *
07.25.07 - Baton Rouge, LA - Spanish Moon *
07.27.07 - Austin, TX - Emo's *
07.28.07 - Denton, TX - Hailey's *
07.31.07 - Los Angeles, CA - The Echo *
08.01.07 - San Francisco, CA - The Independent*
08.03.07 - Portland, OR - Doug Fir Lounge *
08.04.07 - Seattle, WA - Crocodile Café *

* supporting Bishop Allen

Andrew Bird Tours; Really Just the Only Feasible Platform for Me to Expound on a Recurring Three Dog Night Fantasy I’ve Been Having

(NOTE: Please skip to THE POINT if you’re not in the market for details on the start of a budding friendship between Roseanne Barr and Alex Carusillo.)

There are three reasons why I should re-evaluate any moment in my life at which I entertained the possibility of attaining street-cred:

(1) My (undisclosed) first name;

(2) People frequently addressing me with exclamation points (damning, condescending, nose-to-the-sky punctuation);

and, MOST IMPORTANTLY,

(3) My resurfacing rock star fantasy.*

I’m dressed in all white. I’m on a bustling street corner. Passersby include (but are not limited to) my guitar teacher Gary, Hilary Duff, a former OMFG I WANNA LIKE MARRY U WE R IN LUV ex, my high school history teacher Mr. Kennedy, Alex Carusillo, Nancy: my former grocery store supervisor, and Roseanne Barr, (for good flannel shirt-ed measure). I'm performing an un-ironic rendition of Three Dog Night’s (repeat: Three Dog Night’s) “One is the Loneliest Number.” The crowd actually goes pleasantly wild in said fantasy, save Roseanne and Alex, who have bonded over their healthy distaste for everything [NOTE: Three Dog Night is, apparently, everything]. They arrange to get coffee after scoffing my second guitar solo, both scheming to spit on my superb white boots (a plan that is tactfully intercepted by a stern, deliberate head shake from my history teacher).

* loosely based on actual fantasy-occurring events

----

THE POINT: ANDREW BIRD’S LIST-O’-CRED

Three reasons why Andrew Bird doesn’t need to ease his sorrows in Three Dog Night:

(1) His gently unassuming first (and last) name

(2) (a) Armchair Apocrypha (TMT Review)

(b) He was on DAVID (FUCKING) LETTERMAN

(c) He’s a solo artist with a reputation for not letting such diminish an impressive live performance (he plays loops of his own sounds while performing to achieve more of a band feel, apparently).

(3) A quick check of this Filter article will reveal his farm boy roots. And if on said farm Andrew Bird put down his violin, snapped on some overalls, and wrangled some... chickens -- well, that’d certainly quell any association to his swing revival, Squirrel Nut Zippers past he might be stressing over.

TOURDATES:

* The Decemberists

Three reasons why this is in list format:

(1) Lists effectively feign organization;

(2) So does the rule of three.

(3) Roseanne Barr-Carusillo?

[Photo: Cameron Wittig]

16 Bitch Pile-Up On I-88, On Tour; You Are Now Late For Work

Listen: I don't give a good god damn about this Pile-Up that's slammin' us bumper to bumper here; I just want to get to work. I don't even want to get to work; I just plain need to get to work. Yes, I understand, auto accidents are serious things and paramedics need time and space to sort out the victims, etc. Yeah, whatever!! I don't even know these people for crissakes. For all I know, it's just some 16 Bitch Pile-Up! Yeah, okay! A 16 Bitch Pile-Up!

Oh, don't give me these theoretical sob stories. Every human life is precious -- right. I bet if every single one of these Bitches had one more day to do whatever they wanted they'd probably do something incredible, right? They'd probably, what, put out a critically-acclaimed album? Call it Bury Me Deep (TMT Review) and release it on Troniks? Go on a tour through the U.S. and Canada during the month of June? I'm not trying to be a dick; I'm just giving an example of how ridiculous that idea is. This isn't a tragic tale of a 16 Bitch Pile-Up; it's the tragic tale of me coming in late one-too-many times and having the higher-ups tap me on the shoulder and scoot me out the door, on my ass, nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to call my own, not even a single noise record under my belt. That's what I'd call a real tragedy. That's something I'd get my hankie out for. This, this is just a pile of Bitches. And I mean that with all due respect.

There's nothing I wouldn't do for a woman in need:

* Monotract, Religious Knives, Alan Licht

^ Fat Worm of Error

Robert Wyatt is a true hero; always has been, always will be. Despite the fact he once described himself as merely “a very primitive, infantile folk singer,” it’s more accurate to say that he’s got one of the most perfect voices in music -- kind of fragile sounding at first, but emotionally involved and, allegedly, spanning five or more octaves.

Even though most have never heard of him, there are a ton of reasons that make you need to love him. He actually used to be a pretty big star in Britain back in the '70s as the drummer and singer in Soft Machine. He appeared on Björk’s "Submarine" (off Medulla -- TMT Review), which was recorded in his bedroom. Recorded a fucking song with Björk in his motherfucking bedroom! He fought back from falling out of a third-floor window at a party, which left him paraplegic, to continue his musical caree, despite haters like the Top Of The Pops producer in England who felt his wheelchair wasn’t “suitable for family viewing” and tried to get him to sit on a fucking ottoman or something when he appeared on the show. Being a hero and all, Wyatt duly appeared on the show in his wheelchair, whereas the producer hopefully ended up committing seppuku with a ballpoint pen after the show aired. And who else in the world would be totally tight enough to include on one of his albums Stalin Wasn’t Stallin’ (a post-war left wing ballad telling the ungrateful world just how rad the Soviet dictator really was) next to a slowed down, echoing, AMAZING version of the Chic disco ditty At Last I Am Free ? And he did Shipbuilding, which -- no word of a lie -- is just about the best song ever written. You’d think everyone would know about Wyatt and want to do the do with the dude (to me, he was the obvious choice as the replacement for naughty Akon on Gwen Stefani’s current tour).

Thing is, ver kidz just aren’t interested in our man. But that is going to change so fast you’re not going to have time for your morning shit. Indie megasaurus Domino have signed up Wyatt, and incredibly, he’s recorded an album for them! It’s called Comicopera and will be in stores September 24. I suggest we ignore the twin facts that the album is constructed as a three-act ‘opera’ and Paul Weller plays on it. Despite these apparent horrors, I am quite sure that it’ll still be totally worth hearing, so long as that scrawny turd Weller doesn’t give it a go at basso profundo.