The Pacific Northwest supergroup, which recently released its first album, plays Friday, Sept. 1, at Bumbershoot.

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In October 1989, future Sleater-Kinney singer/guitarist Corin Tucker was a huge R.E.M. fan and hoped to meet the then-rising alternative rockers when they played Portland. She and a friend managed to secure a preshow interview with opening-act NRBQ, but despite their best efforts, failed to run into R.E.M. backstage.


Filthy Friends

7:40 p.m. Friday, Sept. 1, Seattle Center Mural Amphitheater at Bumbershoot; Friday passes $129, three-day pass $249 (

So understandably she was a bit awe-struck some 23 years later to find herself singing on R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck’s self-titled solo debut album.

“It was definitely like — what?” she recalled, speaking on the phone from her home in Portland. “Is this happening? Why is it happening now, when I’m a 42-year-old mom? It was like the weirdest disconnect. It can be really nerve-racking to be working with someone that you’ve looked up to for so long. But it was great. It’s just funny how life happens.”

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And that was just the first step in a working relationship that’s led to the creation of a new band, Filthy Friends. The band has a sterling Northwest pedigree, its lineup including Scott McCaughey, one of R.E.M.’s touring guitarists, and Kurt Bloch, who played alongside McCaughey in Young Fresh Fellows. King Crimson/touring R.E.M. drummer Bill Rieflin appears on the band’s just-released album, “Invitation” (with Nirvana’s Krist Novoselic playing on a few tracks).

The group makes its Seattle debut at Bumbershoot, with the Baseball Project’s Linda Pitmon on drums.

“I think that it’s rock ’n’ roll, but it’s got a lot of different flavors to it,” Tucker said in describing the band’s music. “It does have this interesting chemistry of people that are good at different things coming together. It’s certainly got an alternative flavor; I think that my sensibilities bring a little bit of a ’90s vibe to it, which is fun. But there’s also songs like ‘Invitation’ where it’s almost real country rock, and it’s really fun to get to sing that and try out this other musical character. The music spans a lot of different genres.”

Filthy Friends has played a few shows since forming in 2012, but with the members’ varying schedules, recording has taken longer. The band’s first track, “Dispierta,” was finally released in October 2016 on the website, which featured songs by musicians opposed to then-candidate Donald Trump. Given that the band’s members have all been affiliated with progressive causes, the song’s political stance was hardly a surprise.

The band next appeared on this year’s “Battle Hymns” benefit compilation, which raised more than $30,000 for Planned Parenthood, the ACLU and climate-change awareness group “Can’t go back/we must move on,” Tucker fiercely declaims in “Love in the Time of Resistance.” “Can’t let the hatred rule in fear.”

“That was an easy thing to be a part of,” said Tucker. “If there’s something that’s a way to connect activism with music, that to me is a no-brainer — like yeah, I want to be a part of that!”

“Invitation” also features “No Forgotten Son,” a taut, edgy number inspired by the death of Trayvon Martin. But not every Filthy Friends song touches on politics. The flip side of the band’s first single was a punchy cover of Roxy Music’s “Editions of You.” And the album track “Windmill,” with its new-wave flavor (“That’s got a little bit of a Television guitar riff at the beginning”), draws on Tucker’s memories of being in Athens, Georgia, as a music-loving teenager, hoping to catch a glimpse of local music luminaries the B-52’s.

For Tucker, Filthy Friends’ strength is that the band’s “strange talents, weird personalities,” can come together and create something unique: “Our weird skill sets, when we combine them, actually make sense.”