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Love The Stranger by Friendship


Love The Stranger

***Friendship’s Merge debut, 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. Love the Stranger’s invitation is all the more wondrous because its characters have clearly been hurt before. “I need solitude and I also need you,” Wriggins reckons in “Ugly Little Victory.” Wide awake, vulnerable, and gimmickless, Friendship won’t hesitate to confide in us, or even ask for help when the moment calls, like on the lyrical centerpiece of “Alive Twice”: Between instrumental pit stops at “Kum & Go” and “Quickchek,” local references in Love the Stranger create a catalog of human perception, presented as roadside attractions. From grape jelly residue (“Ramekin”) to the site of a demolished cathedral (“St. Bonaventure”) to King of the Hill quotations (“Smooth Pursuit”), 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. Like its sprawling lyrical references, Love the Stranger’s production is both familiar and capacious enough for pedal steel, synth strings, airy folk guitar field recordings, and MIDI pad...

LP $18.95

07/29/2022 673855079714 

MRG 797 

***Japan's visionary powerviolence calamity. Originally released in 2017 via Sentient Ruin as a cassette and vinyl compilation of two of the band’s previously self-released and out of print CD EPs, "I&II" introduced Friendship to western masses as an unparalleled beacon of audial terrorism with a unique and enigmatic aesthetic of visual minimalism juxtaposed to harrowing sonic maximalism. In its ruinous and incinerating twenty six minutes "I&II" takes the listener on a wild ride deep into the most tortured and embittered states of the human mind, unleashing a blinding and terrorizing audial assault on the senses that has remained untouched as one of the absolute pinnacles of Japanese hardcore in recent years. Blending the bludgeoning ferocity of bands like Hatred Surge, Column of Heaven, Endless Blockade and Iron Lung with crushing slow-downs laced with feedback and static reminiscent of Corrupted, Swans and Godflesh, Friendship have created a quintessential and hyper-evolved hardcore punk calamity that stands high as one of the most visionary and intimidating pieces of sonic extremism that Japan has ever produced.

LP $21.50