Fiery Furnaces Working On Double Album

With an eye towards a summer double-disc release that will feature packaging in the vein of OutKast’s “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below,” the Fiery Furnaces’ prolific sibling team of Matthew and Eleanor Friedberger is currently working at a rate that is nothing short of frenetic.

“Maybe [it is] just because I felt like we had a late start to all of this,” Eleanor tells “I wish that I was 23 and Matt was 27, [but] instead I’m 28 and Matt’s 32. So, I think it’s something we finally got going and we want to do as much as we can, as quickly as we can.”

Beginning with last summer’s critically acclaimed sophomore Rough Trade album, “Blueberry Boat,” and leading up to the duo’s new 10-track, 41-minute B-side set “EP,” the Friedbergers have been writing at a feverish pace. As for the hopeful double release, the first album is already finished and is truly a family affair, with the siblings’ 82-year-old grandmother, Olga Sarantos, providing narrative vocal support in what Eleanor characterizes as “almost a radio play” delivered with a pop aesthetic.

“She’s a great character and she’s always been a musician,” Eleanor says of her Chicago native grandmother. “She’s been the choir director of her church since the ’50s. And if anyone in our family was supposed to make records, it was probably her. She has a real diva personality and is always telling lots of funny stories. And she has a great voice and has a great presence.”

Tentatively titled “Garfield L,” the project includes the title track and “Zapped by the Zombie,” which Eleanor says is about her grandmother getting drunk the night she was supposed to meet her father-in-law for the first time.

As for the accompanying disc, the Friedbergers are currently working on “short, poppy songs” in a Benton Harbor, Mich., studio. While Matt has tentatively titled the album “Singing to Speak Chinese,” which includes new tracks “Teach Me Sweetheart” and “Nevers,” Eleanor says a decision on the final title hasn’t been made.

Leading up to an appearance at California’s Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival (April 30-May 1), the Fiery Furnaces will head to Australia and Japan in March and return for a month’s worth of U.S. college dates in April. The twosome expects to be back on the road in the fall in support of “Garfield L,” which hasn’t received official label approval.

“Who knows if [Rough Trade] will do that,” says Eleanor. “I’m optimistic, especially if we keep talking about it in the press. Then they have to do it. That’s what happened with the grandmother thing. We talked about it for about a year or so and they couldn’t really say no.”


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