Friendly Fires are an English indie rock band, hailing from St. Albans in Hertfordshire. The band is signed to XL Recordings, home of The White Stripes and Vampire Weekend.
The Story: The members of Friendly Fires (Ed Macfarlane, Jack Savidge and Ed Gibson) met at St. Albans School. As teenagers, they formed a band named First Day Back, playing post-hardcore style rock music. This band continued until the members left to attend university.
Ed Macfarlane, the singer of Friendly Fires, made his own electronica, which he released on the revered electronic music labels, Skam (home to Boards of Canada) and Precinct Recordings. Once the members of Friendly Fires had left university, they formed another band - this time inspired by dance music, citing Carl Craig, the Kompakt record label and Prince among their biggest musical influences.
In 2007, Friendly Fires appeared on Channel 4's music programme, Transmission. They were the first unsigned band to appear on the show. When they released their single, 'Paris', it became Single of the Week in both NME and The Guardian.
The following year, the Friendly Fires song 'On Board' was selected to soundtrack TV commercials in North America for Nintendo's Wii Fit. The same song is also played in the commercial for Gran Turismo, the PlayStation 3 game. Their song 'White Diamonds' was played in the background of an episode of Gossip Girl, the US TV series.
Friendly Fires were chosen to appear in the NME Awards Tour 2009. Playing a number of large university venues and 'Academy' venues, the tour also features Florence and the Machine, White Lies and Glasvegas.
Record Releases: Friendly Fires' debut EP was released on People In The Sky Records in November 2006, entitled 'Photobooth EP'.
In June the next year, People In The Sky Records released the 'Cross The Line EP', followed by 'The Remix EP' in October 2007.
Moshi Moshi released 'Paris' in December 2007. The track was later re-released in 2008, when it reached number 13 in the UK Indie Charts.
Friendly Fires debut, self-titled album was released in 2008.
Late Night Tales has been spinning us the finest funky throwback tunes for some years now and the artists the series has offered the opportunity to curate to us over time have always been interesting, surprising, and varied from the likes of The Flaming Lips to Groove Armada and even Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys). As the series reaches its 30th, St Alban's intellectually toe-tapping Friendly Fires have the perfect combo of head, heart, and feet to lead us into our dreams.
While the trio have always nicely fit into the 'band' label their records clearly demonstrate an affinity towards the forces that drive dance and techno as well as current guitar band trends. Their status as one of the great crossover bands of modern times was confirmed upon the release of 2011's Pala which saw their influences from bands like Talking Heads blended with the technical dance of Boards Of Canada and the pristine production standards of modern heavyweight Timbaland. As such then their Late Night Tales outing is packed full of classic disco romps such as Dennis Parker's 'Like An Eagle', the lo-fi modern dub of SBTRKT who offers us the most recognisable track here in the form of 'Hold On' and that's not to forget all the bombastic, out-there pop that's clearly been a massive stimulus in the direction of Friendly Fires' sound.
As it says on the tin, this is a record to be played as your night winds down and, coming in at an impressive 78 minutes, it's an LP worthy of the name. Not to subdue you too early then, the first third of the record focuses on this disco element with the likes of Joe Simon's 'Love Vibration', some Dutch disco from Renee and of course the funky 'Carry On Turn Me On' by Space. It's a great heated start to get the blood pumping when you return post-rave to your cold living room with eight people you don't know who are chewing their cheeks furiously. As the conversation inevitably turns madly theoretical the music too morphs into some of today's finest art-poppers (Bibio - 'Don't Summarise My Summer Eyes') and then into the warm fuzzy blanket of the shoegaze scene and the likes of the Cocteau Twins' haunting pop number, 'Cherry Coloured Funk'. What's so good about compilations like Late Night Tales is it gives lost classics, up and comers, and songs you've simply never heard before the chance to plant their seed in you thanks to a band you already have some sort of trust in.
Continue reading: LateNightTales - Friendly Fires Album Review
The well spoken Sherlock Holmes hunk, Benedict Cumberbatch, is having a rather brilliant week; in two music driven stories, Cumberbatch has collaborated with Herfordshire's preeminent inditronica band Friendly Fire, and will be starring as the Beatles' manager Brian Epstein in the upcoming biopic.
The Friendly Fires collaboration will be appearing on their Late Night Tales compilation album. Late Night Tales is a platform for the world's biggest and best loved bands to share their own great musical loves, by compiling an album entirely of their own choosing. Zero 7, The Cinematic Orchestra and Belle and Sebastian have all already done their own compilations. As a part of the FF's Late Night Tales they requested Cumberatch do a recording for them to appear on the album. On the album he performs a spoken-word piece, "Flat of Angles", by Simon Cleary.
The Brian Epstein biopic is another collaboration, between Cumberbatch and the director for his BBC Sherlock series, Paul McGuigan. If the Sherlock's anything to go by it'll be fantastic! Currently the title is set to be The Fifth Beatle. According to the Hollywood Reporter the film's producers are describing it as the story of "the man who threw the biggest party of the 1960s but ultimately forgot to invite himself."
Continue reading: Benedict Cumberbatch's Week in Music: Friendly Fires and the Beatles