Say what you will about Filthy Friends, the band fronted by Sleater-Kinney singer/guitarist Corin Tucker and former R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck, but don’t call it a side project.

With Emerald Valley, the band’s second album out Friday (May 3), Buck and Tucker have upped their commitment to the outfit, which also includes bassist Scott McCaughey, guitarist Kurt Bloch and drummer Linda Pitmon, who replaced Bill Rieflin following the release of Invitation, the band’s 2017 debut. The band kicks off a month-long tour on May 9 in Seattle.

“Our plan is for it to be an ongoing real band just like every other band and when we work together, it’s not a side project,” Buck insists, adding that sort of dedication to a group is nothing short of life saving. “It’s what saved my life when I was a kid, saved my life when I was in my forties and saves my life right now.”

Since R.E.M. amicably disbanded in 2011, Buck has been involved in several musical endeavors, including Arthur Buck, an ongoing collaboration with singer-songwriter Joseph Arthur that shares several band members with Filthy Friends, McCaughey’s The Minus Five and other projects.

For Tucker, who remains a member of the ground-breaking trio Sleater-Kinney — which reunited in 2014 following a six-year hiatus — Filthy Friends offers a unique experience. “It’s a really different band for me than Sleater-Kinney and I think that’s good,” she says. “I don’t think it would make me grow if I were in two bands that were really similar.

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