So, bear with us because this can be a bit confusing: UK paper The Guardian reports that Beck has released a new song through his website called "Harry Partch." It's pretty weird and great, as befits an homage to one of the most original semi-obscure genius composers of the 20th century (also, like Mingus, California-bred!).
So, how do the Fiery Furnaces (and Radiohead) fit into the story?
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
According to The Guardian:
On 3 November, the notoriously cantankerous [Matt] Friedberger [of The Fiery Furnaces] criticised Radiohead. That's right - not Beck, Radiohead. Having learned that the Oxford group had recorded a tribute to first world war veteran Harry Patch, Friedberger reportedly misheard "Harry Patch" as "Harry Partch", the late American avant-garde musician. "Fuck you!" he responded to the band. "You brand yourself by brazenly and arbitrarily associating yourself with things that you know people consider cool. That is bogus. That's a put-on. That's a branding technique and Radiohead have their brand that they're popular and intelligent ... How's the song? Is it 48 notes to the octave? What does it have to do with Harry Patch? Oh, my wife says I am being very rude. She doesn't like me insulting Radiohead. She's afraid they will send their lackeys through the computer to sabotage us. But they needn't worry - we are a band that sabotages ourselves."
For bloggers who thrive on indie rivalries, this was fine fodder. While Radiohead did not respond, Friedberger's diatribe blazed across the blogosphere. Eventually, the Fiery Furnaces issued a follow-up statement, stoking the fires even further: "Matt has not heard the Radiohead song about Harry Patch, but if he did, he is sure he wouldn't like it. No doubt Radiohead and their fans can ignore his opinion on this matter and continue with their triumphant artistic interventions. Matt would have much preferred to insult Beck but he is too afraid of Scientologists."
Beck then replied musically, as he should, raising awareness for the undersung Partch and his far-out compositions.
Click here to learn more about the late, great Harry Partch. Thanks for the music lesson, Beck! (And you Fiery Furnaces, from BROOKLYN--keep on sucking it hard!)