Matthew Friedberger clearly thought Radiohead wrote a song about American composer Harry Partch not UK old guy Harry Patch when he told them to fuck off for “brazenly and arbitrarily associating yourself with things that you know people consider cool.” Bogus.

Comments (81)
  1. Autumn Almanac...Amoreena  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Well he’s no Alice…but pretty good….

  2. steve  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0


  3. Dan  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    What a total dumbass. Made himself look pretty stupid. FF are shit to.

    • gimme  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

      yup i concur, i never get why FF has a following and why people listen to their cloying drivel, and this guy’s comment just confirmed what an ass he is, please, stop playing your derivative craptacular music, i swear, it’s the whole sibling thing that gets them the press, jackasses

      • What he said is really stupid. he probably should’ve realized that it’s harry patch and not harry partch before publicly criticizing the most sacred band in the universe. (not my opinion, but still true.) but don’t you dare say the fiery furnaces make “derivative craptacular music.” have you heard Blueberry Boat? if that’s derivative, then i want to know what it was derived from. cuz that must be awesome.

  4. anon  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    lol what an idiot. He should have done some research before speaking about things he clearly doesn’t know shit about.

  5. Luis  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Oh no!

  6. james  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    hey thanks Fiery Furnaces, your only two months late.

    I guess you guys will be pubbing the new album soon.

  7. rjmdg  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    That’s an awfully hypocritical statement since it basically constitutes a brazen and arbitrary attempt to associate himself with something that people think its cool (i.e. denigrating widely-beloved bands). He should focus his energies and making an album, or even a song, that’s actually listenable. Dear musicians, please don’t embarrass yourself by making public statements that sound like self-conscious loser naysayer blog comments.

  8. Cook  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Pot, meet kettle.

  9. Simon  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    If he actually did think Harry Patch memorialising was a “branding technique”, World War I must be history’s iPhone.

  10. Anonymous  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Attacking pretense with pretentiousness? Sorry douche, your kung fu is not a strong as Thom Yorke’s.

  11. Welcome to the facepalm society.

  12. Let’s not fool ourselves though. Radiohead make good music, but they do sell a brand. They have an underground/anti-system persona that they sell to people that are (or want to be seen as) undergroung/anti. And as much as we might not want to accept it, they capitolize on this brand. As much as they gave ‘In Rainbows’ away for free it was really just a branding and an advertising of that brand in order to make money in the long run. I’m not saying Radiohead are crap, or even that FF are any good, but I agree with some of his point here, and think it’s important to understand.

    • brent  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

      there are two sides to music, the branding and the the actual music… sure radiohead is a brand but they make fucking awesome music… whether you like it or not, you can’t argue that it’s not good. On the other hand fiery furnaces make ok music that to me seems like it is trying to hard to be unlistenable. People don;t give enough credit to bands that can make listenable songs, and if they can make listenable songs and still sound “underground” (whatever that i anymore) then they are even more brilliant.

    • thank you for reminding us that Radiohead’s popular. what exactly was the point?

  13. Phil B  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    radiohead are a brand as much as any other band is a brand. no one really escapes it. i don’t see why anyone would care. either you like the music or not. not really a big deal. but it does sound like this guy just dislikes radiohead and just wasn’t too concerned with facts. it happens to lots of people, he jumped on the first thing he could think of without really thinking about it or researching it. if he doesn’t like radiohead he should probably just ignore them and work on his own music. but i guess that doesn’t make headlines, does it?

  14. Jason  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Not to self: If you want extra publicity start talking bad about Radiohead because it always seems work!
    This guys needs to stop talking outta his ass and FF are fucking unlistenable to begin with.

  15. grace  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Who are the Fiery Furnaces?

  16. Saying that Radiohead are trying to associate themselves with something cool is like saying the sun is trying to associate itself with something hot. The insult just doesn’t make any sense because Radiohead doesn’t need any help in the cool department.

  17. ok guys, in all fairness, FF’s ‘Blueberry Boat’ was an amazing album, one of the best of this past decade ( Matt thought it was Harry PaRtch ( and if it was, his statement makes alot of sense. Does this excuse his ignorance for publicly slandering radiohead before checking his facts? Absolutely not. But this shouldn’t become a “lets all hate on the fiery furnaces now” for him making a dumb mistake.

    • I don’t believe is much about hating the FF as much as it is about people getting rubbed the wrong way because of the FF disrespecting the greatest band of the 21st century. Period.

      Btw, before today, I didn’t know who Harry Partch was. Thanks!

      • the greatest band of the 21st century, really? Please do yourself a favor and bite your tongue.

        • Seriously, the Radiohead fanbase here on Stereogum is getting very creepy.

        • Joe  |   Posted on Nov 8th, 2009 0

          I think its funny that just for pointing out that its a bit premature to call Radiohead the best band of a decade 1/10th of the way in, you get a volley of downvotes.

          But on another note, I think we should find out what the best band was from 1900-1910, and dub them the best band of the 20th century.

  18. Justin  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Didn’t he just brazenly and arbitrarily link himself to Radiohead through criticism? And I bet it’s just cause people think they’re cool and no one likes FF. (with a dick)

  19. ev  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    “Take them….to …the Iron Maiden.”

  20. If there is one thing we can take from all this, it’s that Harry Patch was not and will never be considered cool.

    Lesson learned.

  21. kslew  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    I’ve never heard of the Fiery Furnaces, sorry I guess I’m not indie enough anymore! I guess dissing Radiohead has its benefits because it has made me aware of them even though I don’t want to hear their music because of such an idiotic statement.

  22. Anonymousa  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    that’s what i call jocking

  23. This kind of depresses me, because I like the Fiery Furnaces’ music, and pretty much everything I’ve read about them before made them come off as ‘charmingly artsy but down-to-earth’ types. I don’t know, maybe they’re going for more of an ‘ignorant hypocritical douche’ image these days?

    Plus, *besides* the sheer hypocrisy, disrespecting a great band for no good reason AND spouting off random insults despite clearly not having the facts straight first… slagging off a fucking CHARITY single probably isn’t going to sit too well with uh, anyone. Yeah, how dare that brazen fraud Thom Yorke and his band of bogus cronies try to eulogize a war veteran and raise money for a charitable organization by sending out a short message to their mailing list! If anyone actually buys that supposed version of events, please let them know that I have a large sum of money in a Nigerian bank account I could really use help with…

  24. ed  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    as much as i would like to have a reason to dislike Radiohead, I have to say that i had the unfortunate pleasure to see the Fiery Furnaces open for Of Montreal earlier this year and it was one of the worst musical experiences i’ve ever had. it felt like a lounge act… but worst…

    that’s all i wanted to say.

  25. bootyfish  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    oh man! that guy is pissed!!! and all heated up… and fiery… he’s like a furnace. a fiery furnace. Hey Matthew Friedberger, Looks like someone should have freed your burger a long time ago buddy… take it down a couple notches bro (sucka!)

  26. I was very indifferent about the Fiery Furnaces for a long time. Then, I saw their interview with the old guy Joe from “Breakfast at Sulimay’s” and fell in like with them.

    But after reading a couple accounts of this Radiohead “feud,” I’m gonna pass on their stop in Madison coming up this month. And I’m disappointed enough that I may pull FF off my blog’s year-end list. Not that anybody will notice such a protest, but…

    • You are ridiculous for letting a band’s behavior effect how you feel about the music. Are you honestly that insecure?

      This is honestly why Radiohead fans are ridiculed on the internet so much (I should know, I like em, but some of you guys make me wanna set Kid A on fire).

      • Kevin  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

        Is letting a band’s behavior effect how you feel about their music so much worse than wanting to set a band’s record on fire because of their fans?

      • Jonk  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

        If I disagree with a musician’s opinion, why shouldn’t that affect how I feel about them? And why shouldn’t I consider whether I want to promote said musician in the future on my little splice of web space? It’s not a matter of me being insecure; it’s a matter of Matt Friedberger being a self-important twit.

        • If you let a bands comment affect how you feel about the band music, such as not going to a concert of theirs because of a comment they made, that’s foolish.

          If you really enjoy a bands work you will stick with them regardless of their opinions and comments. The music is the only thing that matters, Go ahead and hate Matt all you want but if you like FF’s music, don’t go protesting them and stop listening to them all together. The Internet is silly, guys.

          The only exception is if a band member/artist anally rapes you’re mother while pouring sugar in you’re gas tank, then you can protest all you want.

          • Jonk  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

            Well I was probably not going to the concert anyway, so this would only seal the deal.

          • Dude, that’s just the way things work sometimes. People make stupid comments and then thousands of other people (on the internet) get rubbed the wrong way and choose to do whatever they feel like doing. Sometimes it might be bashing the band, sometimes it’s not attending their shows or sometimes even not buying their music anymore. As you said, it is the internet. A band as big as Radiohead deserve the respect not only because of what they represent but because of what they’ve accomplished over the past decade and a half. 90% of current bands LOVE RH and yes, we the fans are everywhere but don’t worry… we are harmless. Wherever there’s someone bashing our favorite band, you can bet there will be loyal fans ready to voice their two-cents. In regards to the FF comment, it’s pretty obvious it’s just a shameless attempt at getting free publicity. Simple as that. I’m sure the FF are RH-fans just as much as I’m sure you, me and most everyone here are too. Having said that…. Happy b-day Jonny Greenwood!

  27. Travers  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Apparently a local band where I live supported the Furnaces on a their last tour (of Australia). The guys in the band went up to them at the first gig and said hello. The guys from the Fiery Furnaces just turned their backs on them. Didn’t say a word to them all tour! That level of douchbaggery is hard to fathom.

  28. sugar Tits  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Radiohead Fans are the “new” Pearl Jam Fans- get over it, they dont walk on water, a tad overated, and the Radiohead Live Show is quite weak…just sayin

    • the Ricards  |   Posted on Nov 6th, 2009 0

      what the? radiohead fans are the new pearl jam fans? save your commentary for an access hollywood blog. you are the new infected cunt

      • Yeah Okay  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0


        Because everyone who doesn’t kiss Radiohead’s asses are just bourgeois, ignorant, and materialistic. That’s not an overgeneralization if I ever saw one.

        Also, I don’t know who FF is because I hate that kind of alternative music, but assuming that he’s also a pretentious exclusionist tool by association, it’s probably a tad hypocritical. Whatever. Hopefully the whole scene will soon implode upon itself because of all the self-righteous fools trying to outdo each other in the sanctimony department.

  29. Ryan  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    FF are one of my favorite bands…….well ever. Saying that this does seem like an odd and kind of shitty statement . Knowing Matt’s ways though he may actually be a huge Radiohead fan. He has a way of being intentionally confusing or playing with reporters.

    Oh well. Have met the guy a couple times and he always seemed nice and receptive to his fans.

  30. jay  |   Posted on Nov 5th, 2009 0

    Never heard of this douche until now….

  31. I loved Blueberry Boat and ‘Single Again’ but haven’t heard heard anything good from FF since. They obviously don’t realise they’ve lost it themselves, or they wouldn’t be criticising other artists. The whole rant was pretty pathetic.

  32. The Ricards  |   Posted on Nov 6th, 2009 0

    its official: this guy’s a cunt. “like most creative musicians, matt is not a fan of Radiohead”

    what a pompous, generalizing, self-important cunt who owes all success to his sister’s voice. seriously folks. that broad could make Jet a good band.

  33. Gawd, it’s like who isn’t getting into a scuff with Radiohead. The Cure, Miley Cyrus, Fiery Furnaces, Lily Allen, Sonic Youth…

  34. O.W.A Giveaway  |   Posted on Nov 6th, 2009 0

    Is it fair to say that I don’t like either band? But then, I never cared much for prog rock, so…
    Fiery Furnaces make willfully obscure music that has grown more and more intricately irritating by the year. Radiohead are probably the most over-praised band of the last 20 years. Not a bad group by any measure, but just not worthy of the plaudits that they receieve. What is it about them, exactly, that people find so remarkable? I’m not saying people shouldn’t enjoy their records, but what is it that they actually enjoy? I find them dreary, and monochromatic. Haven’t they essentially made the same record for the last 10 years?
    But, millions of people love(d) Pink Floyd, and I’ll never understand that either.

    • Gob Bluth  |   Posted on Nov 8th, 2009 0

      If you seriously consider the transition from ‘The Bends’ to ‘OK Computer” to ‘Kid A’/'Amnesiac’ a series of essentially the same record, you’ve completely gone mental.

  35. GodBlessRadiohead  |   Posted on Nov 6th, 2009 0

    When you’re as big as Radiohead, people always want to bring you down! God bless, them! And eff the Fiery Fergies, never heard of them!

  36. speakingof  |   Posted on Nov 6th, 2009 0

    i would have loved this comment if it was coming from somebody that mattered. i had the sad misfortune of seeing FF earlier this year when they opened for the fantastic Of Montreal. What a disaster. It was the first time seeing them and after reading about their music I figured “oh good i’ll see what they sound like” and i almost wanted to stab myself. I was embarrassed for them and for everybody there, really the worst live performance I have EVER seen. don’t know if anything about that comment makes sense but i just had to say this for those who don’t know who FF are, you don’t really need to know… now there you go, you can be happy the rest of your life… your welcome

  37. Janina  |   Posted on Nov 6th, 2009 0

    Honestly, the only Radiohead track I know of and can singalong is “Creep”. The other Radiohead related things I know are Jonny Greenwood’s score for TWBB, and his cameo in Goblet of Fire. Maybe I’ll get some more after I get to listen theTwilight soundtrack. Whenever I say that there is an automatic response, “You probably don’t understand them cause you listen to ” __” band. Right! Making me feel small for liking pop music. So, what club do I have to join to finally understand their music? Or do I have to conclude that Radiohead is the musical version of the 4’33″ of John Cage.
    Radiohead fans, you lambast Friedberger and other artists for disagreeing with Radiohead, and also other people for not digging them. If they are so cool, fans need not defend them with a cultish behavior.

    • …OR MAYBE people just think Matt Friederberger was being a douche. Because, you know, he was. He didn’t “disagree” with Radiohead, he ranted about a specific song of theirs in a hypocritical, inflammatory and ignorant fashion. Most of the comments here are critical of Friederberger simply because he acted like an ass, not out of blind devotion to Radiohead – several of the comments even come from people who love FF, dislike Radiohead, or a combination of the two.

    • Also, I know you’ll probably never read this, but what the hell. I’m bored right now anyway.

      I’m sorry you had some bad experiences with overly zealous Radiohead fans… but you throwing all Radiohead fans into the ‘elitist jerk’ category is just as bad. Trust me, we’re not all like that (although I’ll freely admit that some of my fellow fans make me ashamed to admit it in public at times). Anyone who says you don’t “get” Radiohead because you like pop *is* being a jerk though, and they’re wrong. Except for their two experimental/electronic albums, Radiohead’s music is, for the most part, simply a creative (and exceptionally well-executed, imo) take on alternative rock. There’s nothing to “get” more or less than there is with any other band, and not liking or not being familiar with them doesn’t mean a thing.

      If you really do want to give Radiohead’s music a fair shake, their album “The Bends” would be a good starting point if you’re mostly into pop music. (“OK Computer” or “In Rainbows” are good choices too.) If you like it, keep listening… and if you don’t, that’s fine too. See how easy that was? :-P

  38. Shawn  |   Posted on Nov 7th, 2009 0

    you said Radiohead a lot…

    i think this guy is pissed cause he couldn’t write a song about Harry Patch…

  39. kat  |   Posted on Nov 7th, 2009 0

    musical version of the 4’33″…
    itd be nice if you never said that ever again. its like you’re condemning the people who comment here while simultaneously sniffing you’re own farts. pulling a friedberger much?

  40. CE  |   Posted on Nov 8th, 2009 0

    Harry Patch was the last British person alive who saw the butchery of WWI first hand. His death was a very emotional time for people in the UK. The last of the generation who were decimated fighting a pointless war.

    All profits from the Radiohead record were given to veterans charities. It was a big thing over in the UK. In the days after Mr. Patch died the record was played on BBC radio.

  41. Emm Fiery what now?? N since when did daring to take on ‘the best band on the planet’ earn you an instant bulletin tag on every other music blog on the planet? I like the old days, when you’d have to like wear a swastika or strike an elderly woman to earn a news blip, riiight?!? ya knoww? whos with me?!

  42. Jeff  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 0

    Hey we’re a sub-par and ridiculously pretentious band in an overcrowded market and we totally lost all of our (unjustified) buzz years ago, what should we do for publicity??? LET’S TALK SHIT ABOUT RADIOHEAD!!!

    Fiery Furnaces fucking SUCK. go away now.

  43. Rob S.  |   Posted on Nov 9th, 2009 -1

    One pretentious douche criticizes some other pretentious douche. Guys, that’s what indie rock is. It’s a bunch of overprivileged, pretentious assholes getting snarky towards one another. If that wasn’t how indie rock operated then it’d be called Christian rock, and we’d all be dancing along to Owl City.

  44. Stupidest thing about this very, very stupid story is the fact that Harry Partch is only “cool” if you think obscurity is the coolest thing ever. Very few people have any idea who this guy is because his music is “difficult” to listen to and you’re not just gonna stumble across it unless you’re already into experimental academic composers. And the fact that FF guy would throw the name out there and basically say Thom Yorke isn’t cool enough to reference this obscure late-20th century composer only makes him look like the bigger dick.

    Also as a sidenote to this meaningless bullshit: most of Harry Partch’s music is pretty fricking awesome if you’re into that borderline-atonal Morton Feldman/Terry Riley/Lamonte Young sort of thing. Yeah that’s right, I can drop obscure classical references. Also I hate my job. Thanks for listening.

  45. Torc  |   Posted on Nov 10th, 2009 0

    Even if it had been Harry Partch, why assume a band that already sampled (and credited) Paul Lansky wouldn’t honestly enjoy a musical genius like Partch?

  46. since it seems like no one else is saying this i will:
    Fiery Furnaces > Radiohead
    Radiohead are the most over-rated band of all time, they are god awful

    • I want to spit in your face.
      Take you to funky town.

    • Michael  |   Posted on Nov 13th, 2009 0

      Over my dead body.

    • Randomintandom  |   Posted on Nov 16th, 2009 0

      I met Matthew and I can say that he was the nicest and most genuine touring musician I have ever spoken to. He actually made it a point to stand around and talk to anyone who wanted to say hello. The Fiery Furnaces are an incredible band BECAUSE they are inaccessible. I love that people get so disoriented and even pissed-off by listening to Fiery Furnaces. It seems like many folks here don’t consider Radiohead to be pop but any band with that many follower is, sorry to say, mainstream crap! If you like Radiohead, you would definitely not like The Fiery Furnaces and that’s fine with me!

  47. Levon Helm  |   Posted on Nov 11th, 2009 0

    Radiohead get more pussy

  48. this whole argument is a total snorefest: if I like a band’s music, I do not care what the singer of the Fiery Furnaces has to say about Radiohead. Although, admittedly, it is pretty funny.

    Radiohead have the potential to be totally pretentious goons, who quote Chomsky in their liner notes. I think it’s quite OK that people level criticism against them.

  49. as opposed to brazenly and arbitrarily associating yourself with things that you know people consider un-cool? like making an album with your grandmother?

  50. foodoogoo  |   Posted on Nov 14th, 2009 0

    Doesn’t matter if you like Radiohead or not, the guy has made a complete arse of himself. Shouting his mouth off like he has something interesting to say and getting it completely wrong.
    I wouldn’t be showing my face in public for a while if I was him.
    If you are going to publicly attack a band like Radiohead at least get your facts right.
    He has just made himself look like an even bigger idiot than (I suspect) he already is (never heard of him or his band before).

    What an utter embarrassing fail on his part haha…

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