“… understanding that feeling of what it’s like to come out and live your truth openly, after you felt like you had to hide it for a long time… it’s liberating and wonderful to see and hear (PUF) be able to do that.” – Amythyst Kiah (of Our Native Daughters) via Americana Music Association

“… an incredible coming out album.” – NPR Music

“… a rich, atmospheric sound that’s at once evocative and exuberant ‘ –Twin Vision

CHRYSALIS

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artwork by Madeline Devries / Jody Galadriel Friend

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Public Universal Friend (PUF) is an Indianapolis-based art rock band fronted by the queer goth americana matriarch you’ve been waiting for, Jody Galadriel Friend.

After decade-plus solo career, songwriter Friend released the touchstone coming out album debuting under Public Universal Friend in March 2021, just a month after coming out publically a gay trans woman. Since then, Friend has galvanized her place as a beloved mother figure in the Indianpolis queer music scene with her live band including up to eight members, with performances featured on NPR’s Small Studio Sessions, Cultural Manifesto: one as a feature about prominent trans artists in Indianapolis. They have also earned attention from longtime fan Amythyst Kiah (of Our Native Daughters), Americana Music Association, Secretly Canadian Records, with a feature in Pattern Magazine’s Fall 2021 issue. With performances for Indy Pride, Emmy-Award winning Music in Transit, tours across the midwest and south, and even becoming the first trans-led act to be featured on a global video campaign with Mahogany and OnePlus based out of London in January 2022.

PUF’s upcoming 2023 release Chrysalis is a vindictive queering of songwriter Jody Galadriel Friend’s native Appalachian sound, laced with the bold romance and profound grief of southern gothic deconstruction. The record became a platform to reclaim the sound in a way that is particular to queer artists raised in the south, even digging at that certain Appalachian religiosity with the lead single Jesus Pt. 1, answering the culture of bigoted religiosity casting queer people as herself as “an abomination” to which Friend leans in and nearly whispers, “then I guess I’ll see you all in hell.” Along with the likes of a cappella opening track Mama, In Your Arms, the epic Brave, and the oldest song on the record War, written when Friend was only 19, Chrysalis gives credence to a range of emotionalism found only in the pursuit of love, authenticity, and integration that only Jody of Public Universal Friend can deliver.

photo by Sarah Jehoiada de Rueda

Public Universal Friend’s 2021 record Perennials signifies Friend’s progression of an earthy brand of indie rock songwriting, whose sonic roots cite post-punk and 90s emo with echoes of Appalachian roots and spiritual music. Friend’s lyrical themes have historically gravitated toward the value of emotive honesty and speaking truth in power, embodied through a profoundly unique perspective of identity, faith, and gender expansive existence. These poetic incantations foster an inclusive live environment of authentic engagement, all for the sake of exploring the overarching theme of finding out who we really are and the beauty of living within it.

photo by Fred Miller

Since the beginning, the intent has been steadied on embracing the narrative of collective identity as one of diversity, through the language of chords, rhythm, and poetry. From the meditative to the ferocious, the Friend disarms audiences with a humanization unique to the nature of personal storytelling.

The hope is that the music might provide a platform of catharsis and advocacy, integral to embracing the beauty in all of us. 

The solo work began in 2008 when Jody began writing, recording, producing, and releasing her first eight albums and EPs, captured with an 8-track recorder and a couple of microphones in a variety of unconventional locations and atmospheric spaces. These early recordings were accompanied by a revolving door of fellow musicians, only entering an established studio with their ninth release in 2016. With an uncompromisingly independent DIY production sensibility, the Friend communicates a sonic quality that is tangible, rooted, and as present as possible.

The live sound has ceaselessly grown and adapted with time, all while preserving the heart behind older material and fearlessly venturing into new sonic territory. All the while the enduring themes of hope and grace stand alongside, delivering explicit poetic excerpts in vulnerability and understated potency. The integrity of the Friend’s music is like a bouquet of lively liminal flavor, dictating the timelessness of their discography, whose flavors of natural earthliness and the occasionally extraterrestrial connect us back fearlessly to our human nature and its potential for beauty and vastness.

photo by Fred Miller

The 2017 release “Lower, Permission” encapsulates the narrative of first challenging the basis of dichotomized gendered culture, the importance of critical thinking, and the addressing of those constructs and their relationship to faith. Through such means we receive a raw vulnerbility, leading the wild dance into recognizing the gift of our collective uniqueness and dignity. Gender non-conformity has long been a subject in Jody’s life and the upcoming release “Perennials” gives voice to those intimate details expressing what it looks like to be decisively more public about elements of identity. You might think of it as a coming out record, the “now what?” answer to Lower, Permission.

With a vitality and youth in this new season of performance, we as listeners now experience the sounds and energies being exclaimed in a space full with the dignity and worth of each beautiful existence we bring to the table. With a voice so long in the making, the newest material is forever surprising, uplifting, and meeting us where we are, speaking truth in power over every space the music may occupy.

photo by Fred Miller

PRESS

NPR Music: Celebrating Pride by WFYI – June 2022

Pattern Magazine: Mahogany Session feature – January 2022

NPR Music: Small Studio Session by WFYI- July 2021

Interview: NUVO Magazine by Seth Johnson – June 2021

NPR Tiny Desk Submission – June 2021

Article: INDPLS.org – May 2021

Interview: NUVO Magazine by Nick Reading – April 2021

Interview: New Noise Magazine – March 2021

Podcast: OrigINs presented by Headlong Media February 2021

Interview: MusicOTFuture (UK) February 2021

Interview: Girls at the Rock ShowsJanuary 2021

Interview: Musical Family Tree on 99.1 WQRT FMDecember 2020