When I finally decide to get off the grid, a rowboat just might be all that I need. I would also have to learn basic survival skills, that’s a given. I’d have to learn how to make a campfire, s’mores and ideally how to pitch a tent. I’d also want to not disturb the wildlife. I’m no grizzly man.
Philly-basedFriendship recently announced their signing to Merge Records, and today they are excited to reveal that on July 29, they will release their first album for the label. Titled Love the Stranger, the LP was co-produced by the band and Bradford Krieger. It will be available on CD, LP, and opaque “blue galaxy” Peak Vinyl. Pre-order Love the Stranger here.
Today the band also share the first proper single off the album, “Hank.” Friendship’s Dan Wriggins, a manual laborer and poet, says the single is “a song about when you go to fix something that’s broken and realize the tools you’re supposed to fix it with are also broken.” Form follows function on the mesmerizing outro of the track which buzzes with the sound of a shoddy Craigslist guitar from Woonsocket, RI, getting chainsawed in two. The video for the single was directed by Joe Pera, an American comedian and the star of Joe Pera Talks With You. He shares:
Dan Wriggins sent me the Friendship album and as soon as I finished listening, I asked if I could possibly direct a video for it.
While brainstorming concepts with Dan and Michael Cormier-O’Leary, we came upon the idea of going to Little Cranberry Island in Maine, where Dan has family roots and used to work as a lobster fisherman. We spent a few early spring days on the island going to the bathroom in an outhouse and following the workdays of two of the most interesting people Dan knows there, Henry, a carpenter, and Kaitlyn, an artist.
Editor Grant Farsi helped sort out the 10+ hours of footage me and Michael Kaplan shot, and that’s the story of the video. Me and Friendship are hoping it will get a million views on YouTube and lead to a collaboration with Shakira.
Listen/share “Hank” here and watch the clip here:
EMBED VIDEO: https://youtu.be/oCzEfGOaXH0
Friendship previously shared “Ugly Little Victory” about which Brooklyn Vegan said, “It’s as lovely and tender as you’d expect from this band, and Dan’s plainspoken yet emotive vocals sound as great as ever.”
No strangers to the road and following an April tour as support for Indigo De Souza, Friendship will be heading out again for a string of dates with Tenci. The shows kick off August 2 in Nashville and conclude in Chicago on August 14. Along the way they will stop in DC, New York, and a hometown show at Philadelphia’s Johnny Brenda’s. All dates are listed below. Tickets are on sale Friday.
Love the Stranger moves like a country record skipping in just the right spot, leaving its fellow travelers longing for a place they’ve only visited in their dreams. Guitarist Peter Gill, drummer Michael Cormier-O’Leary, bassist Jon Samuels, and hawkeyed balladeer Dan Wriggins map out the group’s particular, breathtaking landscape and invite the listener to share in its glory.
The record’s images craft a symbolic language of high and low Americana, both evocative and consistently accessible. Spending time with Love the Stranger creates a community—one in which the window between the listener and the music-maker shatters in full, until all that remains are the fragments you decide to pick up together.
Love the Stranger’s production is both familiar and capacious enough for pedal steel, synth strings, airy folk guitar field recordings, and MIDI pad exploration to work in vital harmony. Influenced by Friendship’s punk and indie peers as much as road-star forebears like Lucinda Williams and Lambchop, Wriggins says of the recording sessions: “We all got to stretch out, chase our personal musical fixations, and build on each others’ work. Bradford Krieger, our engineer at Big Nice Studio, has a mind-blowing creative energy and hundreds (thousands?) of instruments.” He recalls further: “I wanted the album to sound like Emmylou Harris and the Hot Band in the ’70s. Pete wanted it to sound like a semi full of spent fuel rods, barreling towards a runaway truck ramp. Jon kept reminding us that the studio is an instrument, and Michael wanted it to sound like the breakdown two-and-a-half minutes into Shuggie Otis’ ‘Strawberry Letter 23.’”
Friendship is probably already your favorite band’s favorite band, a long-revered IYKYK of DIY with a devoted cult following from Wawa to In-N-Out. With Love the Stranger, the Friendship universe only continues to expand and grow more open-hearted, more inviting, with every passing note. It’s a record that locates the listener exactly where the listener is, and wherever that may be, makes a friend out of them, too. All said and done, the age-old maxim of “Mr. Chill” holds true: “You be real with me and I’ll be real with you.”
Love the Stranger tracklisting:
- St. Bonaventure
- What’s the Move
- Blue Canoe
- Chomp Chomp
- No Way
- Alive Twice
- Mr. Chill
- Kum & Go
- Ugly Little Victory
- Smooth Pursuit
Friendship on tour:
May 20 Peterborough, NH – The Thing in the Spring
Aug 02 Nashville, TN – DRKMTTR*
Aug 03 Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre Side State*
Aug 04 Durham, NC – The Pinhook*
Aug 05 Washington, DC – Songbyrd*
Aug 06 Philadelphia, PA – Johnny Brenda’s*
Aug 07 New York NY – TV Eye*
Aug 09 Boston, MA – The Rockwell*
Aug 10 Montreal, QC – Casa del Popolo*
Aug 11 Toronto, ON – The Drake Hotel*
Aug 12 Columbus, OH – Rumba Cafe*
Aug 13 Detroit, MI – The Underground @ DIME*
Aug 14 Chicago, IL – The Hideout*
* w/ Tenci