Matthew Friedberger

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Matthew Friedberger (born October 21, 1972 in Oak Park, Illinois) is half of the indie rock duo The Fiery Furnaces. In the band he contributes the majority of the instrumentation, writes most of the songs and lyrics and occasionally sings. His sister, Eleanor Friedberger, does most of the vocals and writes some lyrics.

Background and career[edit]

Matthew and Eleanor grew up singing with their grandmother Olga Sarantos and family in a Greek Orthodox Church. Details of events in Sarantos' life are depicted on the Rehearsing My Choir album.

Matthew has been a vegetarian since childhood.[1]

The first song Matt ever wrote was in fourth grade. He was assigned to make a weather barometer for class but didn't feel like doing that, so instead he convinced his teacher to let him write a song on the piano about weather. The song was titled “Cumulous Nimbus Cloud” and was what Matt describes as "mostly pounding on the piano".[2]

Prior to starting The Fiery Furnaces, Matthew Friedberger played in bands including Corndolly, Liquorette, The Mezzanines and The Grand Vizars.

At the age of 17, Matthew moved to Germany only to return shortly thereafter. He attended the University of Illinois for a while and continued to live there, writing comic books, until the age of 26 when he moved back home. It was after moving home that he encouraged Eleanor to start singing. The two wrote the song Duffer St. George one night while discussing a recent trip Eleanor took to England (there's a London store by the same name) and The Fiery Furnaces began.[3]

Aside from his work with The Fiery Furnaces, Friedberger released a two-disc solo album, titled Winter Women and Holy Ghost Language School by 859 Recordings in August 2006. He dedicated the album to his sister, saying later in an interview, "we dedicated all [the Fiery Furnaces] records to our parents, so I thought it was appropriate that this record be dedicated to Eleanor".[4]

In November 2010, Friedberger revealed that he was to release eight new albums in 2011 in a vinyl-only subscription series called Solos. The first six albums were set to ship every two months in 2011 and featured Friedberger on vocals accompanied by a single instrument, while the last two were bonus albums that shipped with the final installment and featured multiple instruments.[5] The first album in the series, Napoleonette, featuring piano, was released on January 18. The second, Meet Me in Marimas, featuring guitar, was released March 15. The third, Old Regimes, was released May 10, featuring the harp. The fourth, Cut It Out, featuring "drums and machines that play drums and things which can be made to sound like drums" was pushed back a month and released August 16.[6] The fifth is titled Death-in-Life and featured the organ and was released on October 11. It is notable for being almost entirely instrumental. The sixth and final record is titled Arrested on Charges of Unemployment and features the double bass. It was delayed and released in January 2012 along with two bonus albums, a rock opera featuring a variety of instruments and vocals called Artemisia and an instrumental album featuring only piano on the first half and only synthesizer on the second called Goodbye Forever. Following the release of all eight albums, a compilation album called The Diabolical Principle was released in July 2012. It includes tracks from all eight Solos releases, spliced and edited together in Friedberger's trademark style.

In July 2012, Thrill Jockey announced that Friedberger will be releasing yet another album for October 30, 2012 entitled Matricidal Sons of Bitches.[7] The album will have 45 tracks and the song titles suggest it may be a quadruple album.


Solo albums[edit]

With the Fiery Furnaces[edit]

See The Fiery Furnaces Discography


  1. ^ "PETA2 // Out There // The Fiery Furnaces". Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  2. ^ "Friedbergered". The Fader. 2006-08-03. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  3. ^ "Biography". Blueberry Boat. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  4. ^ "Pitchfork Feature: Interview: Matthew Friedberger". 2006-08-23. Retrieved 2010-10-18. 
  5. ^ "Pitchfork Feature: Fiery Furnaces' Matthew Friedberger Plans Eight-Album Solo Subscription Series". 2010-11-12. Retrieved 2011-02-05. 
  6. ^ "Solos (8 LP Subscription Series) Record Label Page". Thrill Jockey. 2011-02-01. Retrieved 2011-03-06. 
  7. ^ "Matricidal Sons of Bitches Record Label Page". Thrill Jockey. July 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-09. 

External links[edit]