The Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company Resignation Letter
Better known as the chief instrumentalist/songwriter of the Fiery Furnaces, Matthew Friedberger also performed and recorded songs on his own.
Before forming the Furnaces with his sister Eleanor, Matthew played with other bands such as the Grand Vizars, Liquorette, and the Mezzanines. The unique mix of infectious melodies, experimental interludes, and hyper-literate lyrics -- which were influenced by such wide-ranging inspirations as Bob Dylan, Kit Lambert, and Os Mutantes -- that defined his Fiery Furnaces work also shaped his solo material. In summer 2006, he released his double-album debut, Winter Women/Holy Ghost Language School, on 859 Recordings. Friedberger described Winter Women as "a pop record" and Holy Ghost Language School as "a noise record"; together, they represented the yin and yang of his distinctive style. The album was reissued by Thrill Jockey in 2009 with new artwork and bonus tracks. Though Friedberger remained busy with his Fiery Furnaces duties, in 2011 he launched the Solos series, which featured six limited-edition vinyl albums. The first, Napoleonette, which collected songs Friedberger performed only on piano, arrived in January of that year. Meet Me in Miramas, which spotlighted Friedberger's songs for guitar, was issued that March, with subsequent albums released later in 2011 and into 2012. Old Regimes focused on harp, using an instrument made in 1907; Cut It Out was based on percussion; Death-in-Life featured the organ; and Arrested on Charges of Unemployment was written for double bass. Two bonus albums available only to Solos subscribers, Artemisia and Good-Bye Forever, arrived in 2012. Late that year, the ambitious, 45-track soundtrack to an imaginary horror film Matricidal Sons of Bitches arrived. ~ Heather Phares, Rovi