After more than a decade of making music with her big brother, Matthew, as one-half of Brooklyn indie-pop duo the Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger lights out on her own with Last Summer, her solo debut, due out tomorrow on Merge. Despite Eleanor’s extracurricular activities, the Furnaces aren’t breaking up, and after nine albums, they’re perhaps the most stable and prolific sibling act in indie-rock history.
But they’re not the only ones keeping it in the family. Here are five other bands whose members can’t insult each others’ mothers during heated tour-bus arguments.
This U.K. foursome gets extra points for comprising not one, but two sets of siblings. The Numbers formed in 2002, when Sean and Angela Gannon and Romeo and Michele Stodart were students at London’s Cardinal Wiseman Roman Catholic School. Old beyond their years, the Gannons and Stodarts discovered a knack for writing sunny ’60s-style folk-pop tunes, and by 2005, they’d recorded their self-titled debut. They’ve since released two more albums and are playing a series of festivals this summer.
Everything the White Stripes once pretended to be, White Mystery actually is. Midwestern sis-bro duo Alex and Francis Scott Key White play ferocious, tuneful garage rock, proving that hiring a bass player is as unnecessary as looking outside of one’s bloodline for band mates. The main difference between these Whites and Jack and Meg: The girl is up front. Alex is the group’s shredding, soul-barker star, while Francis holds it down on drums, very nearly claiming the spotlight for himself.
3. The Knife
Exceptionally close siblings sometimes create elaborate fantasy worlds, and while that tends to be a childhood phenomenon, Swedish musicians Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer, AKA the Knife, have kept it going into adulthood. Formed in 1999, the witchy electro-pop duo rarely gives interviews or appears in public without its creepy beaked Venetian masks. While Karin and Olof haven’t released a proper Knife album since 2006′s much-loved Silent Shout, they collaborated last year with Mt. Sims and Planningtorock on Tomorrow, In a Year, an opera based on Charles Darwin.
No stranger to twosomes, Dex Romweber made his name as the singer of the Flat Duo Jets, a band whose stomping garage-a-billy sound made quite an impression on a young Jack White. The Jets called it quits in 1999, and after a number of solo discs, Dex enlisted his drumming sister, Sara, to form his new family band. The pair’s 2009 Ruins of Berlin featured contributions from Neko Case and Exene Cervenka, and in 2010, the Romwebers cut a live album at Jack White’s Third Man Records. A new album, Is That You in the Blue?, arrives later this month.
In Brooklyn, everyone has their own indie band — even folks too young to see PG-13 movies. In 2006, the Tiny Masters — 12-year-old Ivan on guitar and his 10-year-old sister, Ada, on bass — racked up enough MySpace hits to land a deal with the U.K. label Tigertrap. That same year, Newsweek profiled the preteen punk rockers, praising their “brief, bratty songs,” and in 2007, they dropped the full-length Bang Bang Boom Cake. Guests included Nick Zinner and Karen O from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, B-52s frontman Fred Schneider, and former Moldy Peach Kimya Dawson. They returned in 2009 with Skeletons, proving that if nothing else, their band was no one-off cutesy gimmick. With luck, they’ll last long enough to outgrow their name.