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Q-Music: Hot LGBTQ artists for cold temps

By Gregg Shapiro

“Mono” (Giant), the title of queer, hip hop-influenced singer/songwriter K.Flay’s new album has a frightening significance. Due to a health crisis,she has lost hearing in her right ear. In other words, she no longer hearsin stereo. She addresses the subjectin album opener “Are You Serious?,”a song in which she captures thetrauma of the experience, and yetshe proves herself to be a survivor,making an album in the aftermath ofthis massive change in her personal and professional life. Not an easy listen, but well worth the time, K.Flayalternates between lashing out andtaking her lashes on songs including

“Hustler,” “Punisher,” “Carsick,” “In America,” “Irish Goodbye,” “Chaos Is Love,” and “Yes I’m Serious.” If

you’re a fan of queer singer/songwriter Caroline Rose, you’lllikely dig K.Flay, too. [K.Flay performs on March 15 + 16 atChop Shop.]

Queer, DC-based musician Rye Thomas of Soft Punch says his music is “For thequeer and the damaged and the eternally curious.” Like K.Flay’s “Mono,” Soft Punch’s album “AboveWater” ( following a debilitatingillness. The baker’s dozen

songs, including “Here ComesThe Chorus,” “Now’s The Time,” “An Astronaut,” “Semaphore,” “Here/Now,” and “Fine,” are the very definition of sophisticated bedroom

pop, intimate and incandescent.Soft Punch also packs a punch onthe harder rocking song “My Head.”

In its lush and distinctive way,the music of the coolest Icelandicband Sigur Rós (led by openlyqueer Jónsi) has always felt orchestral. Therefore, when you hear “Átta” (BMG), the band’s first album

in 10 (!) years, on which it performswith the London Contemporary Orchestra (under the direction of

conductor Robert Ames), it sounds perfectly natural. “Átta,” available in

a double LP set (meant to be spun at 45 RPM), is as gorgeous a musical statement as the cover art (a Pride banner set ablaze) is unsettling.Songs such as “Blóðberg,” “Gold,”“Mór,” “Andrá,” and “Fall,” do offer akind of musical comfort in these difficult times.

Mouths of Babes is a notable queer duo. Comprised of Ingrid Elizabeth (of Coyote Grace fame)

and Ty Greenstein (of Girlymanrenown), the couple brings years ofmusical experience to this new project as you can hear on the newalbum “World BrandNew” (

A seamless blending of Ingrid’s Americana-oriented style with Ty’s pop-influenced sound, Mouths of

Babes might be the most compelling queer duo since the Indigo Girls. The message of making the “world brandnew” runs throughout the album, from the title track to politically meaningful numbers including “One For Me” and the dazzling “My Country.” “Jubilee” is the perfect name for the joyful, Cajun-fueled tune at the center of the album.Mouth of Babes’ cover of Holly Near’s “I Am Willing” (featuring VickiRandle) is simply stunning.

Ragana is also a queer female duo (Maria and Nicole, who divide their time between Olympia,Washington, and the Bay Area), buton the polar opposite end of the spectrum from

Mouths of Babes. Purveyors of pitch-black metal, Ragana serves up visceral metal sludge

accompanied by vocalchord bloodying shrieks. That said, the title cut of itsnew album “Desolation

Flowers” (The Flenser), is described as “a hymn ofgratitude for queer and trans ancestors, known or

unknown, by blood or affinity, whose joy and survival make our lives possible, and whose memory inspires and helps us resist the tide of increasingly visible hatred and oppression.” How’s

that for a statement? As Miss Jean Brodie herself said, “For those that like that sort of thing, that is the

sort of thing they like.”


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