|Wiz Kilo, one of the queer artists that flourished in 2014 (photo: Tristan Harris)|
Wiz Kilo. This singer/songwriter/producer/dancer was born in Syria. His family immigrated to Canada when he was 5 years old. By 18 he was part of a Canadian boy band called 2Much, where he was given the name "Wiz" -- his real name is Wissam. Kilo released a couple of solo EPs, but his first full-length album didn't arrive until 2014. Jungle Disco is an excellent electro/hip hop/R&B recording that he wrote, recorded, engineered and mixed himself. Visit his website here.
|Wiz Kilo (photo: Tristan Harris)|
Stereogamous. This Australian duo, DJs Paul McDermott and Jonny Seymour (AKA Paul Mac and Seymour Butz) have remixed or collaborated with a long list of artists -- Kylie Minogue, George Michael, Sia, The Presets and LCD Soundsystem, to name a few. According to their Facebook page, their particular genre of music is "bath house." It's also been described as "music for making out" and "horizontal dance music." I'm especially fond of Jonny Seymour's philosophy: "Age should be no barrier to the pleasures of dance music. The sense of freedom it brings shouldn't be limited to the young." You can find a stream of their mixes and collaborations here.
|Left to right: Paul McDermott, Shaun J Wright (a recent collaborator) & Jonny Seymour|
Bright Light Bright Light. That's Welsh, London-based electropop artist Rod Thomas. The Guardian summed up his 2014 album, Life is Easy, like this: "... combines euphoric melodies, lavish electronics and unabashed pop in a way that showcases his songwriting skills." He's not particularly cool, but he's hard to resist.
|Bright Light Bright Light, AKA Rod Thomas (photo: Adrian Tuazon McCheyne)|
Against Me! This rousing punk band's been around since 1997, fronted by vocalist/guitarist Tom Gabel. Having dealt with gender dysphoria (feeling strongly that you are not the gender you physically appear to be) since childhood, Gabel came out as transgender in 2012, then transitioned to Laura Jane Grace. Against Me! released their first album with Grace as lead singer in January 2014. Entitled Transgender Dysphoria Blues, many critics hailed it as one of the year's best. It kicks ass.
|Left to right: Inge Johansson, James Bowman, Laura Jane Grace & Atom Willard|
If you'd care to see an earlier incarnation of Against Me! with Tom Gabel, go here.
Check out Volume 1 in this series here -- it features Magic Mouth, The 2 Bears, Conchita Wurst and Mary Lambert.
Volume 2 is here, featuring Hercules & Love Affair with John Grant, Angel Haze, MRF (Mike Flanagan) and Logan Lynn.