Philly-based Friendship has released a new single, “Alive Twice.” The track is taken from their forthcoming new album Love the Stranger which is set for release on July 29 via Merge Records. Like the LP, today’s single—which is both sparse and gorgeous—was co-produced by the band and Bradford Krieger. Friendship’s Dan Wriggins shares the inspiration for the song title: “The poet Linda Gregg dedicated her book of poetry Too Bright to See to her lover, Jack Gilbert, with an all-caps inscription: ‘IT WAS LIKE BEING ALIVE TWICE.’ The phrase shows up later in her poem ‘The Defeated.’ I wasn’t going to steal it, but I looked it up and found that Gregg had taken the phrase from the Tang Dynasty poet Li Po. I think Eileen Myles talks about it, too.” Of the recording, he says, “This one went through a unique process. I recorded the delayed Wurlitzer line and vocals alone, then left the studio. Michael, Peter, and Jon, who hadn’t heard the song before, went in together and improvised over it with piano, Rhodes, and organ. Finally, we dropped some of the Wurlitzer, creating an extremely cool, roomy effect.” Michael Kaplan shot the video for “Alive Twice.” Wriggins says, “I kept asking Michael if we could work zombies into the video. He said it would cost too much. The Black Angel at Iowa City’s Oakland Cemetery, however, is the site of some pretty creepy legends.”
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.
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.”
Photo Courtesy: Abi Reimold