The only thing more exciting than the mere existence of a new LP by the always brilliant Philadelphia punks HIRS is the veritable who’s who of feminist and queer icons lending their voices to Friends. Lovers. Favorites.
They include Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Shirley Manson (Garbage), Sadie Switchblade (G.L.O.S.S.), Martin Crudo (Limp Wrist), Alice Bag (The Bags), and Marissa Paternoster (Screaming Females), along with many more. The album will be released April 20th jointly by Get Better Records and SRA Records, and pre-orders are available here.
In an announcement made earlier today by the labels, the album was described as, “… the product of almost four years of hard work between The Collective and their friends, lovers, and favorites who they have invited to join their intentional, ever growing, and never ending collective of anti-authoritarian freaks, queers, outcasts, and weirdos.”
If you’re not familiar with HIRS, they play very loud, very aggressive music. Their lyrics are equally explosive and fiercely political, touching on themes such as queer and trans identity, street harassment, and death and loss. While that might sound bleak – and oftentimes it is – this is not about giving up but rather figuring out a way to fight back.
This will be the first full length by the ridiculously prolific band since expanding past the two piece guitar, vocals, drum machine, and giant wall of amps lineup that defined their sound and image since they began making noise more than seven years ago. The HIRS Collective, as they’re now called, is purposely nebulous in size and has even featured an occasional live drummer: Alex Licktenhour who also runs Get Better Records and the festival of the same name.
Licktenhour characterized the collaboration between DIY and more mainstream musicians as, “… an unheard of concept in the current time of music [and] especially fast blast beat punk music.” That the album is being released by two small local labels is also something they see as important. “I’d like to believe this record is breaking down the social barriers between DIY and the mainstream and is a big ‘fuck you’ to the music industry at large,” they told The Key.
Other bands released by Get Better include Worriers, Sheer Mag, Teenage Halloween, and Thin Lips. SRA is home to Soul Glo, Psychic Teens, Flag of Democracy, and Hound.
In addition to the 20 new songs on Friends. Lovers. Favorites. the release also includes the out-of-print You Can’t Kill Us EP as well as remixes of those five tracks done by Moor Mother, Kilbourne, and others.
The news of this album comes right on the heels of the announcement of a split LP with New Orleans sludge metal superstars Thou. The two bands will be on tour together in April supporting Screaming Females. They play Union Transfer on April 5th. More details on that show can be found here.
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