The Fiery Furnaces Go Bowling

A trip to the swanky new Brooklyn Bowl with everyone's favorite art-rock brother-sister act

The Furnaces actually have a whole list of methods for ongoing unconventional music-making. Between turns on the lane, they talk about the "silent record" they're working on: a book of sheet music. "We thought we'd have shows where fans could play the music for us," Matt explains. He's also pumped about their recent "Democ-rock" campaign, in which the band's shows are caucuses to determine what future material will sound like. The two have also cobbled inspiration from scraps of paper found in concertgoers' pockets and written songs based entirely on fans' reviews; most famously, they made an entire record, 2005's Rehearsing My Choir, based on their grandmother's spoken-word storytelling.

Don't be fooled – they're pretty bad (bowlers).
Tina Chou
Don't be fooled – they're pretty bad (bowlers).

When it comes to bowling, the Friedbergers are determined to play it straight, but it's obvious they have no idea what they're doing. Matt wonders if the balls are color-coordinated by size, complains of hand pain, and asks an employee to explain exactly how one bowls a strike. Lanky-armed Eleanor eyes opportunities to pull ahead, but the two stay neck-and-neck pretty much the whole way: It's a classic battle to bowl less badly. Finally, Eleanor rolls a late, clutch spare and sighs with relief despite her low score. "I just want to beat him," she whispers, pointing at her brother. And she does, 112 to 109.

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