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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Fahri: Indie-Rock Born of Love and Fire

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Fahri’s back story contains all the indie-rock romance and adventure you could possibly want. Guitarist Sarah Long and guitarist and bass player Miles Murray were both working at different franchises of the Music Recyclery, Murray in the Grand Avenue mall and Long in Gurnee Mills, Ill.

They would talk to each other on the phone, and Murray says Long was a harsh critic of some of his musical tastes, mocking him when he called. The two eventually found common ground in bands like Sonic Youth and Archers of Loaf. The couple has now been married for eight years and playing together in Fahri (pronounced Far-ee) for five.

Drummer Neil Gravander’s first meeting with Long was over flaming curtains. He had attended a show in 2002 at a VFW Hall in Lindenhurst, Ill., which featured Long’s old band, Gein Rock. The band was “heavily influenced by Motorhead” and named after notorious Wisconsin grave robber and human furniture-maker Ed Gein. Part of the band’s performance featured Long breathing fire from the stage. After she accidentally lit the venue’s curtains on fire, Gravander was one of the brave souls who helped stomp the blazes out. Gravander confronted Long, displaying his burned hands.

“I was in a really bad mood that night, so I think I said something to Neil like, ‘Whatever, it’s punk rock, get over it,’” Long says, laughing.

Despite this rough introduction, the two soon became friends, and Gravander is now not only band mates with the couple, but also their roommate. The three practice in the basement of their Riverwest home, amid band equipment and a maze of tangled extension cords.

The band’s namesake is “kind of a joke” and comes from a metalhead friend named Fahri. Murray describes the guy as quite a character. “He had this game he used to play called ‘Fahri punches the world,’ where he would walk around punching everything,” Murray recalls.

Unfortunately for Fahri, the band named after him doesn’t have enough heavy metal for his tastes. Long describes the band sound as “sonic fuzzy pop” and Murray describes the band as “noisy indie rock.” Both Long and Murray provide vocals floating above a wave of distorted sound. Most of the songs feature dual guitars, providing a very high-end sound, but Murray switches to bass for part of their set.

The sound of songs like “Field, Factories, and Workshops” and “Scramshell” combines experimental influences with Sonic Youth-style feedback and upbeat indie elements a la Pavement.

After some self-released cassettes and a self-titled EP with Bionic Recordings, the band will release its first album, a seven-track CD titled Perfect Present, this fall, followed by an East Coast tour.

Fahri plays at the Cactus Club on July 24 with Wereworm and The Pills. The release show for Perfect Present will be Sept. 4 at Club Garibaldi.

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