It’s slinky, it’s moody, it’s political and fierce, and it’s fun — and it doesn’t make excuses for the blasts of pop amidst the punk. No excuse is needed, after all, for friends to make music together. It just so happens that these Filthy Friends have damn fine CVs: Corin Tucker is a vocalist/guitarist in Sleater-Kinney (and before that, Heavens to Betsy), the Olympia, Washington, cornerstone of riot grrrl/punk; and Peter Buck played guitar in a band from Athens, Georgia, that you might know (R.E.M.). Add King Crimson’s Bill Rieflin (drums), Minus 5’s Kurt Bloch (guitar), and Scott McCaughey (bass) (and on tour, drummer Linda Pitmon (The Baseball Project)) — and you’ve got yourself a supergroup that’s surely the envy of other supergroups.
Earlier this week, Filthy Friends played to a sold-out Bell House crowd, the last show of the tour behind debut album Invitation (Kill Rock Stars). The five-piece turned the old Brooklyn warehouse into a paean to the goddesses and gods of rock. Kicking off with the angular “Arrival,” Corin’s biting, defiant delivery — got somethin’ to prove, got somethin’ to say — instantly commanded the room while flashes started firing stage right, with R.E.M. devotees elbowing each other to capture Peter on camera.
The set included the downright sexy “Come Back Shelley” — think T. Rex channeled through the Replacements/Paul Westerberg (Corin and Peter talk about some of the sonic reference points of the album here), and “No Forgotten Son,” written in the aftermath of Trayvon Martin’s murder. If you didn’t already love them enough for their rock ‘n roll goodness, the group is forthright in its critique of the political landscape, contributing the single “Despierta” to the progressive 30 Days, 30 Songs project (The Washington Post cheekily described it as a playlist that Donald Trump hates). The packed house was also treated to a few new songs. Corin dedicated “Emerald Valley” to the Pacific Northwest landscape she calls home, which has been wracked in recent days by devastating wildfires. (But worry not — anthropogenic climate change is just #fakenews and a #Chinesehoax.)
The group’s own material is so delightfully expansive — glam and bluesy and punk rock — that you might forget Filthy Friends formed in 2012 to play Bowie covers. As the band took the stage for a second encore and the opening riff to “Rebel Rebel” rang out, the venue was suddenly illuminated by a constellation of cell phone screens held aloft. It was the perfect ending to the evening.
Article: Vivian Wang