Nashville native Friendship Commanders lean into the darkness


Photo courtesy Austin Griswold.

Grace Bendik

Buick Audra of the Nashville native Friendship Commanders feels the sound of the duo’s sophomore album is one that amplifies the underlying tune of our times. Produced by the famous Steve Albini, their album, BILL, is set to release this October. In it, Audra and her other-half, Jerry Roe, marry a more metal sound with their previously post-punk vibe.

Audra explains this evolution as a natural consequence of our changed political climate and its effects on her as a songwriter.

“We just got heavier. I think that life has felt not great for the past two years since the election. I just sort of leaned into the darkness of how I felt, and that lends itself to almost a more metal record.”

While not all of their songs are explicitly political, (but get ready to blast “Women to the Front” if you’re looking for an impassioned dose of female empowerment) the album’s resounding theme is the importance and complexity of genuine human connection, which can be read on a personal or more community-oriented level.

Their song, “Horrify,” focuses on this theme with its sharp sound and commanding lyrics:

are you horrified?
tell me all about the different life you’re living in this time
and this: are you are horrified?

That question sums up what Audra ultimately hopes listeners take away from BILL in its entirety: a desire for self-reflection and a feeling of hope, however trying the times.

“I want to always be a person that keeps hope alive, for myself and also I want to be part of a community that keeps hope alive,” she says. “In some ways the album felt desperate and earnest because I was in a tough spot when I wrote it, personally, and in the world, but I always, I always have hope, 100 percent of the time.”

Check out the music video for “Horrify” here, and gear up for Friendship Commanders’ unapologetic album available this October 5.