Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Sound of Queer Music 2015, Vol. 4

Volume four in a five-part, end-of-year series celebrating artists and bands that fucked with the heteronormative cultural bias in 2015.

Jack Colwell. Upon the release of his first EP -- Only When Flooded Could I Let Go -- Rolling Stone praised this Aussie singer/songwriter as "passionate and unfettered." Colwell had this to say: "The EP is part coming-of-age and part dealing with my sexuality in a changing political and social landscape, learning how to navigate my way through that as a young person. They're introspective songs with a narrative, and I'd hope that some people might hear them and take comfort in the fact that they're not alone. I was a pretty manic person in the past, but I'm a lot more devil-may-care these days. "

Jack Colwell
Song & Video: "Don't Cry Those Tears." Just an excellent dark-but-playful, sensuous, dreamy pop tune. The video is a rather awesome (and possibly NSFW) pastiche of those overheated '80s videos from the early days of MTV. Colwell has a spectacularly campy nervous breakdown in a gay bathhouse surrounded by attractive men. Tears do flow and everything is exaggerated to amusing effect.

Ezra Furman.  
He's Jewish, publicly identifies as queer and genderfluid, and quite good with raw, twisty lyrics and unexpected arrangements. He released his third solo album, Perpetual Motion People, in 2015. MOJO magazine had this to say: "A yowling, nervy, sickeningly eloquent blend of Jonathan Richman, Woody Allen and Armistead Maupin, Furman delivers high-speed drama full of bristling riffs and frazzled joie de vivre."

Ezra Furman
Song & Video: "Lousy Connection." It's doo-wop, saxophone, piano chords and a mighty fine hook inventively delivered by Furman and his band, The Boyfriends -- all of whom appear in the admirably silly video with a lot of eggs and some fried chicken. FYI, The Boyfriends are: Jorgen Jorgensen (bass), Ben Joseph (keyboards, guitar), Sam Durkes (drums) and saxophonist Tim Sandusky.

Will Young. He was the 2001 winner of Pop Idol, the British television music competition that spawned American Idol in the States. With heartthrob written all over him, Young released four number one UK albums and sold over 10 million records. And came out -- a public revelation that didn't derail his career. Instead, his aggressive overachiever personality led to an eventual breakdown in 2012. He re-emerged in 2015 with a new album , 85% Proof -- available as an import from Amazon -- that's a wonderfully expansive, eclectic recording that sweeps through musical genres and personal vulnerability.

Will Young (photo: Tom van Schelven)
Song & Video: "Thank You." It's a sensational take on heartbreak, featuring Young's evocative voice and a female choir. Shot at London's Porchester Baths, the video features choreography by the award-winning Paris-based dance duo I COULD NEVER BE A DANCER. It's a provocative, gripping amplification of the song.

Wanna see more in this series? Volume is here, volume two is here and volume three is here

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