“It’s gonna fucking rip,” says Dan Wriggins, poet and frontman for Philadelphia Americana-tinged indie rockers Friendship, who will be playing a Record Release Show this coming Saturday, August 6th, at Johnny Brenda’s. The show is part of a co-headlining run the band are currently on with Chicago bedroom-folk outfit Tenci. Last Friday Friendship released their Merge Records debut, Love the Stranger, which was preceded by four singles which have already gotten some love from FLOOD Magzine, Brooklyn Vegan, and The FADER, who called “Hank,” “kindly and earnest music you’re going to fall in love with.” During a recent phone chat Wriggins tells me that the album – which has the band utilizing pedal steel, synth strings, field recordings of folk guitars, and even MIDI pads — definitely had Friendship trying out some new things: “It’s just a lot more open and big. It definitely feels like we messed around a lot more. We were able to experiment more.”
Wriggens also tells me that he feels like the label (home to Waxahatchee, TORRES, and Caribou) run by two members of indie rock legends Superchunk feels like the perfect fit for Friendship: “It has been great so far, it’s a dream, they’ve all been nice. It’s a label run by Mac [McCaughan] and Laura [Balance] and they’re touring musicians first the foremost.” He emphasizes that this is something that he considers to be crucial for people running a label, having previously be signed to Orindal Records, founded and run by Casiotone for the Painfully Alone’s Owen Ashworth.
“We’ve played Johnny Brenda’s a lot and it’s always been great. We love it there. The vibe is conducive to what we like doing,” says Dan, while also admitting that it’s a different kind of setting from what Friendship had grown accustomed to: “Pre-pandemic we did a lot of touring. We’d play friends’ basements all over the country, and we won’t be playing basements much anymore. You lose something – serendipity – that comes with DIY touring.”
At the moment, Dan Wriggins isn’t based in Philly, but he suspects that will change in the near future: “I haven’t lived there for a year, but I’ll probably move back.” (In addition to their Record Release Show, Friendship will return to the City of Brotherly Love and Sisterly Affection on October 1st to open for Ingido De Souza at Union Transfer.) And he tells me that he always felt it was a great place to be a musician (Friendship moved here in 2015 from Yarmouth, Maine.): “It’s always felt like a really supportive community, not competitive, like everyone’s helping each other out… We’ve played a lot of basements and it’s a really good city for that… I’m in West Philly now and there’s lots of stuff to like about this place, lots of good people there.” However, he also tells me that he and his bandmates appreciate many of the non-musical aspects of the city, as well: “We always love Hoagiefest and Siptopia, the SS United States (the old ocean liner falling apart on the Delaware), the trees in West Philly, the place with the good fries in Old City…”
*Get your tickets here.