D//E Premiere: Friendship Commanders: Stonechild/Your Reign Is Over

Nashville's Friendship Commanders return from their strong five-song release from earlier this year, Hold On To Yourself, with the two song release, Stonechild/Your Reign Is Over, a pair very dynamic post grunge rockers fueled by the events of 2020, drawing its subjects from real life tragedy. The new songs were recorded at home, and then mixed by Kurt Ballou and mastered by Brad Boatright hence the undeniably brilliant production quality.

The band's guitarist, vocalist and principal songwriter, Buick Audra, pens a very informative statement about the concept and aim of Stonechild, a song about death of Stonechild Chiefstick, a Chippewa  Cree man who was killed last year in Washington state. Part of it reads: "Through a friend of mine who lives on the Port Madison Reservation, I connected to articles in local publications about his death, all of which I read with horror. My brain kept going back to facts of the story: He was murdered by a white police officer . . . At the location where the community was gathered to enjoy the 3rd of July fireworks, at a waterfront park . . . Families with kids were everywhere and witnessed his death . . . And they still held the fireworks after he died. The song was written to acknowledge a life, question a death, and stand in solidarity with a community that has lost someone. We, alongside the people who knew him, demand justice for Stonechild. With this song, I am also asking questions to all of us about how we’re actually moving through this world, injustice all around us, systemic racism normalized and ignored. Are we helping, or are we hurting? 

"Cassy Fowler, who speaks in Lushootseed on the track, does so on behalf of Stonechild’s family. The txwəlšucid (Lushootseed) lyrics were written by txwəlšucid Cassy Fowler (Suquamish), Zalmai Zahir ʔəswəli (Puyallup), and Chris Duenas (Puyallup)."

Musically the song is up to par with the most powerful and vigorous moments in the catalog of Friendship Commanders, ardently performed and all around impenetrable, and together with its solemn theme, it makes straight for an imperative listen. 

Similarly, the radical and politically charged Your Reign Is Over confronts racism, misogyny and the system's injustices head on, and emphasizes on how crucial and imperative is a change which must happen on all levels, while underlining the frustration that comes with the current situation. 

Buick speaks up about the the Tennessee legislature voting to pass the most restrictive abortion ban in the US, done in the middle of the night, away from the public's attention. "As an activist who advocates for bodily autonomy, the fact that our largely white and male Republican super-majority legislature took the extra steps to hinder the rights of so many - the middle of such a vulnerable time - really blew my last fuse," she comments. "There’s no way to dress that action up as anything but deliberately harmful. Such action is rooted in racism, classism, and sexism There’s some junk science in there, too. I haven’t written much this year, but I have written this work to say that this chapter is over. We can no longer allow any of the above to go on. This election needs to flip the state of Tennessee, and also the presidency."

Both songs will be available on all streaming services on Indigenous Peoples Day, Monday, October 12th, 2020, and they stream for the first time ever right below.

Band photo by Jamie Goodsell

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