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Flaming Fire Flaming Fire

Flaming Fire: When The High Bell Rings
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Flaming Fire • 'When the High Bell Rings' • CD
  Download "High Bell" (4.9MB MP3)
  Download "Satellite" (4.2MB MP3)

Mixing art-damaged beauty and acid-drenched insanity, Flaming Fire's new album conjures a psychedelic rock landscape that is equal parts Aphrodite's Child, The Raincoats and Butthole Surfers. If psych-folk music were written by truckers and cocktail waitresses, this is what it would sound like. "When the High Bell Rings" is American apocalyptic fantasy in all its Bible-crazed, red-state, oxycontin-fueled madness. Featuring past and present members of: Autobody, Pere Ubu, Team USA, American Watercolor Movement, JZ Barrell, Brian Dewan, the Happiest Guys in the World and Barbez.

"Unnverving, arty freaky anthems about mortality and divinity. The avante-garde 'Bat Out of Hell.'" —Douglas Wolk, Village Voice

"Like experiencing your purest visions of heaven and hell while attending Sunday School wasted on glue." —Jennifer Kelly, Splendid

Visit the Flaming Fire Web site.

Flaming Fire on MySpace.

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Flaming Fire has been an NYC cult phenomenon for over six years. The group has been featured on many popular compilations, including the first tracks on both Psych-O-Path Records' celebrated "Space is No Place NYC: Noise From The Underground" (along with songs by Sightings, No-Neck Blues Band and Centuries) and "WFMU's Tunes From Toxic Terrain: WFMU Live From New Jersey " (also featuring music by Gary Wilson, Devendra Banhart and Gogol Bordello). Beginning as a project with Dame Darcy formerly called "Rock Rock Chicken Pox," the group quickly became known for their frenzied, chaotic stage performances and mixture of pop, goth and avant-garde sensibilities. Their last album, "Songs from the Shining Temple" won rave reviews and was the #1 album of summer 2003 on WFMU 90.1 (America's most popular freeform radio station). Both their recent albums — "Songs from the Shining Temple" and "The Celesticide EP" — have sold out of their initial pressings.

"When The High Bell Rings" was produced by Patrick Hambrecht with co-producers Tony Maimone (Pere Ubu), Martin Bisi (Sonic Youth), JZ Barrell (White Zombie) and Zach Layton (Darmstadt). Performers on the album include: Sheila McCarthy (Autobody, Faun Fables), Brian Dewan (They Might Be Giants), John Mathias (Team USA), Danny Tunick (Barbez), Polly Watson (Crimson Sweet), Lauren Weinstein ("Girl Stories" cartoonist), Tony Maimone, Brian Wilson (American Watercolor Movement), Julie Klausner (Free to Be Friends), and Sarah Blust (Heavy Creatures).

>> Praise for 'When the High Bell Rings'

"Well, at least some of the kooks have stuck it out in New York City and they are in Flaming Fire, an awesomely kooky, theatrical band singing songs of biblical plagues and Egyptian sexual practices. Picture the Butthole Surfers, the Residents, the Manson Family, and the B-52s all running amok in a Kenneth Anger film." —Meg Sneed, Vice

"Flaming Fire intonates like a rock band ravaging churchgoers inside of Heaven's Gate's collective mind, and it's oddly awesome. That there's no irony to Patrick Hambrecht's vision surprises at first; after all, so many bands use religion as a whipping boy. Instead, he looks at the Bible (and the past in general) the same way a comic book nerd pours over Watchmen, that is, with thrill and reverence. The result sounds like Butthole Surfers if Butthole Surfers was Ike & Tina Turner was DC Talk was Marilyn Manson. Flaming Fire succeeds because there's nothing forced about Mr. Hambrecht's religious fervor; you really get the feeling this guy is on a mission from God. There's no wink or smirk at the camera, just passion and drive (and maybe half a wink). But this freak show is something quite real, the same kind of stuff big tent revivals and mega churches are made of (except those people would probably see When the High Bell Rings as the devil's work); the odd elements comprise but some of the album's highlights. Flaming Fire's clusterfuck becomes a wonderful conglomeration of genres tied together by a loose theme, much like a church potluck. Flaming Fire stirs bland flavors together and mashes them into divine comfort food." —Mark Karges, Delusions of Adequacy

"With their massed girl-group exuberance and dark, maniacal undertones, they sound like the B-52s locked in a death struggle with Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. You don't know exactly how seriously to take any of this; it's a drunken conga-line that might be snaking its way toward human sacrifice." —Jennifer Kelly, Dusted Magazine

"If you are interested in a band willing to go to the edge and present music that outside the norm, then you should give this one a try." —Mite Mutant, The Chickenfish Speaks

"Not sure what to make of this slice of weirdness. On one hand, When the High Bell Rings, the third album from New Jersey's Flaming Fire, plays like a theatrical, avant-garde rock opera, complete with a multitude of vocalists (male and female) and musicians. Upon repeated spins it comes across simply as an adventurous trip into 60's psychedelia, sort of like a bastard offspring of Arthur Brown, The Go-Go's, Meat Loaf, and Aphrodite's Child." —Pete Pardo, Sea of Tranquility

"'The Stars That Burn' sounds like the Brady Bunch tune handled by a drunken, corrupted Nancy Sinatra. Yes, it's good. Prolonged exposure may well turn you into them but that's hardly a crime." —Mick Mercer, The Mick

>> More Praise for Flaming Fire

"The Brooklyn-based collective Flaming Fire is more like an evangelical church congregation than like a conventional rock group, with its leader, Patrick Hambrecht, in the role of preacher and the other members (including his wife, Kate) as his loyal followers. The group's songs pair deceptively simple Residents-like riffs and occasional bursts of noise with fearsome, Biblical-sounding group chants and call-and-response singing. Most refreshing are Hambrecht's seriousness and fervor. (The band's sense of irony is limited to the darker variety -- 'Kill the Right People,' one refrain goes.)" —The New Yorker

"Excellent New York-area weirdness ... Flaming Fire delivers bent cabaret chaos." —Thurston Moore and Byron Coley, Arthur magazine

"Brooklyn's Flaming Fire is a theatrical rock combo halfway between The Residents and an off-Broadway show, balancing horror-film-creepy singing and keyboard manipulations ... One of the cooler, more inventive bands in town." —Time Out New York

"I think that we are in the presence of a new religion. The main goddess apparently goes by the name of Lauren Weinstein ... Flaming Fire is a band that rivals both the Slits and Crawling Chaos in the utterly weird, totally odd, and disturbingly interesting music ... From loud chants to cacophonous percussion and noises I'm too afraid to attempt to figure out, there's a whole lot of weirdness going on here. And, you know what? I LOVE IT." —Joseph Kyle,

"Flaming Fire is a higgledy-piggledy mash-up of electronica, banjos, and 1980s pop. Art school never sounded so good." —Boston Globe

"[Four out of four stars] Bizarro apocalyptic band, but we love them anyway." —JANE magazine

"Suited to some heavy drinking and dancing ... kind of a B-52s with an anger management problem." —Amy, Collected Sounds

"NYC concertgoers have been lucky enough to have the chance to witness the live spectacle of Brooklyn's FF for the last few years and they're a hard image to forget: cloaked in red togas they turn the stage into a scene out of a Greco-Roman ritual or bizarro Kenneth Anger flick. Despite the weird pagan vibe, it's not as foreboding as you would think; there's pounding rhythms, chanting, noisy electronics, but there's also a great playful air about Flaming Fire and extremely catchy and hummable guy/gal interplay between Patrick Hambrecht, his missus Kate, and third vocalist Lauren Weinstein. The songs are completely inventive, fun 'n dark, as if Beelzebub was about to take over, but decided to sit in and play the Moog for a while. Damn, I would even kinda say FF are sometimes a cross between Psychic TV and Haysi Fantaysee (that's not an insult, honest). Great layers and textures, total theatrics both visually and musically, and it all carries onto their records wonderfully." —Brian Turner, program director, WFMU

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