Almost two years since they released their last album, Filthy Friends, which features Sleater-Kinney’s Corin Tucker and R.E.M.’s Peter Buck, are returning with another, Emerald Valley. The first track they’re releasing off the album, which is due out May 3rd, is the punkish “Last Chance County.” Tucker sings about feeling stuck and down on her luck as Buck plays urgent riffs over the band’s throbbing rhythms.
“It’s about a teenage girl riding the bus through a depressed Northwest town in the 1980s, a version of myself and the frustration I saw there,” Tucker tells Rolling Stone. “Riding the bus to work, I saw people struggling to make ends meet and make sense of their lives. It’s disheartening that 30 years later, the struggle for working people might be even greater.”
“When I heard the vocal I told her it sounded like a pissed off 14-year-old,” Buck says. “She just raised an eyebrow at me.”
“Yes, I was a pretty pissed off 14-year-old,” Tucker rejoins.
Usually, Buck writes the music for entire songs and Tucker writes her own lyrics and adds vocals and guitar. “Last Chance County” was unusual, though, because she had the chords and what she describes as “the bratty vocal.” The two of them worked out the chorus together.
“There’s no set rules of how we write together,” she says. “I love that Peter is always totally open to trying different ideas.”
The record contains 10 new songs that build upon the sound they came up with on their debut, Invitation. Depending on the song, Tucker sings about topics like the oil industry (“Pipeline”) and gentrification (“One Flew East”). “I love that we can do a song like ‘Pipeline,’ such a real mood piece that holds back the entire time with a sense of restraint that puts the songwriting front and center,” Tucker says.
Ultimately, the record is a tribute to where Tucker grew up. She named it after a nickname for Eugene, Oregon, where she grew up. “It’s a beautiful, green, lush valley filled with hippies, yuppies, loggers, farmers, migrant workers all trying to make a life for themselves,” she says. “We try and paint a picture of that for people.”
“The first record was kind of put together on the fly, using time I booked to do my solo albums,” Buck says. “Once we toured and figured out what we were capable of, we really tried to stretch out.”
The record is available for preorder now, and the “Last Chance County” single will be available tomorrow. The band will tour in support of the album shortly after its release.
Filthy Friends tour dates:
May 9 – Seattle, WA @ Neumos
May 10 – Vancouver, BC @ Rickshaw Theatre
May 11 – Portland, OR @ Mississippi Studios
May 13 – San Francisco, CA @ Swedish American Hall
May 14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Echo
May 17 – Athens, GA @ 40 Watt Club
May 18 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl
May 19 – Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle
May 20 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall
May 21 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s
May 23 – Cambridge, MA @ The Sinclair
May 24 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall of Williamsburg