The Fiery Furnaces

The New New York Rock Scene needs the Fiery Furnaces for two reasons: 1) Singer/guitarist Eleanor Friedberger is a woman, and 2) she and her brother Matthew are as uncool as they are cool, which is very. The first fact is important because, despite the plentiful and deserved attention received by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Karen O, the New New York Rock Scene floats on a cloud of testosterone sturdy enough for Fred Durst--carefully disheveled guys in raggedy black clothing standing around reasserting the bullshit values of fatigued cynicism and bait-and-switch sensitivity into a community hardly capable of resisting what it's told is hip. When Friedberger gets onstage, she explodes that practiced pose, strangling her guitar and unleashing a torrent of surreal trash talk about her day; her songs--about staplers, doughnuts, asthma, tunnels, rubbing alcohol and running away to that warm, safe place where as a child she'd hide--actually use the New New York Rock form to engage with life, rather than simply seducing females or impressing record-store clerks. That's why reason No. 2 is important. Headliners Elefant, as far as I can tell, are carefully disheveled guys in raggedy black clothing who stand around imperiously. Enjoy 'em!

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