Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Sound of Queer Music, Vol. 10

Celebrating artists and bands that fuck with the heteronormative cultural bias...

Who Is Fancy. No typo -- there's not supposed to be a question mark. But to answer the question, Who Is Fancy happens to be twentysomething Arkansas native Jake Hagood. This cute cub released a break-up anthem in early 2015 along with three music videos, each featuring someone other than Hagood lip-syncing the song -- a Justin Bieber type, a full-figured black woman and a mixed race transgender model. In April, Who Is Fancy revealed his identity on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It turned out to be a pretty successful strategy -- the song's a hit and the videos have accrued millions of YouTube views. Hagood plans to continue recording as Who Is Fancy. Want more? There's a good interview here.

Who is Fancy (photo: Stephen Schofield & Sarah Barlow)
Song & Video: "Goodbye." Gimmicks aside, Jake Hagood is a fine singer and this is expertly crafted pop reninforced by a simple but genuinely compelling video concept.

Want to see the alternate versions of this video? Version 2 is here and version 3 is here.

James Panther. This Portland-based musician (and astrologer) describes his sound as "a stylistic hybrid between soul and alternative rock, but in a piano singer-songwriter format." He's enthusiastically queer, anti-consumerism and pro-spirituality. It all comes together beautifully. Wanna know more? There's an interview with Panther here.

James Panther, taking tree-hugging to a new level
Song & Video: "Desirable." The song is about getting over that toxic personal relationship so many of us have with our own bodies. It's honest, empowering, enchanting pop. The video, funded by a Kickstarter campaign, is gorgeously shot and features Panther and what he calls "a gaggle of beautiful woodland creatures."

Panteros666 & Woodkid. That's multi-talented French producer Victor Watel and video director and singer-songwriter Yoann Lemoine. It's a collaboration made in electronic dance music heaven.

Woodkid AKA Yoann Lemoine (left) & Panteros666 AKA Victor Watel 
Song & Video: "Clear." Deep, atmospheric house featuring cool, confident vocals by Woodkid. The video finds a blue-haired Panteros666 serenely observing some developments in a futuristic alternate universe with amorous other-worldly beings, a big beating heart and some nifty unidentified flying objects. 

Did you miss any of the first nine volumes of queer music? Just follow the links below...
volume 1, volume 2, volume 3, volume 4, volume 5, volume 6, volume 7, volume 8 & volume 9

Or check out this quartet of 2014 year-end compilations: volume 1, volume 2, volume 3 & volume 4

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Queerlicue #5

Queerlicue* noun, kwir~li~kyoo

1. like a curlicue, but with a queer flourish
2. something amusingly odd, strikingly unconventional or accidentally fabulous

* Yeah, I made up that word.


Galantis. Among the many things I am grateful for in this life, Swedish pop music is right up there in the Top Ten. I can listen to ABBA or Robyn anytime. I'm currently crushing hard on Galantis,  two electronic dance music masters -- Christian "Bloodshy" Karlsson and Linus "Style of Eye" Eklow -- that united to produce an album together. The result, Pharmacy, is a throbbing, energetic breakout hit. For more, their website is here.

Galantis: Christian Karlsson (left) & Linus Eklow
If you're going to record an unapologetically nonsensical retro-disco song like "Peanut Butter Jelly," you better give it an amazing video. Like this:

DJ Rozroz. According to the description on his YouTube channel, he's a "filmmaker, editor, musician currently concentrating on making mashups to ease the late night blues." In other words, he takes two wildly disparate songs and turns them into one. He's done it over 90 times since 2013. My favorite? His mashup of Michael Jackson's "Bad" with "Mr. Sandman," the enduring tune recorded by The Chordettes in 1954.

The Chordettes, one of the most popular all-female vocal groups of the 1950s and early '60s
The mashup -- "Mr. Bad Sandman" -- is brilliant on it's own, but the accompanying video is equally sublime.  

You can listen to all the DJ Rozroz mashups here.

Traffic Signs & Jake the Rapper. They're actually German electronic producer Steve Bug and Bronx-born-but-Berlin-based rapper Jacob Dove Basker.

Jacob Dove Basker AKA Jake the Rapper
Collaborating for the first time, they've produced "Cookie Jar," an absurdly infectious electronic dance treat entirely suitable for a trippy, surreal video treatment. That's provided by multidisciplinary art and film director team Ben&Julia. I could describe this, but words would not do it justice. All you need to know is that Jake the Rapper dances while inviting you to "put your hand in the cookie jar." And there's 3D belly animation. 

You can find this version of "Cookie Jar," as well as several sweet remixes, on iTunes. 

Thursday, September 3, 2015

The Sound of Queer Music, Vol. 9

Celebrating artists and bands that fuck with the heteronormative cultural bias...

PRAYERS. Formed in 2013, this San Diego cholo-goth duo is Leafar Seyer (backwards stage name for Rafael Reyes) and Dave Parley. What is cholo-goth? "Cholo" has various meanings, typically referring to Hispanic males. Embracing goth,  Seyer and Parley integrate the harsh realities of gang and street life with throbbing beats and swirling synthesizers. And it works. For more about this duo, there's a good LA Weekly article here. All their music is on iTunes.

PRAYERS: Leafar Seyer (left) & Dave Parley. Photo: Natasha Atfandilians
Song & Video: "West End Girls." In 1986, the Pet Shop Boys took "West End Girls" -- their hip hop influenced synthpop classic -- to the top of the charts in the U.S, Canada and all across Europe. Seyer and Parley have aggressively and impressively reimagined the song. Chances are you'll either love it or hate it. I love it, and that's saying a lot since the Pet Shop Boys are my all-time favorite band. What did the Pet Shop Boys think? See for yourself:

The video is a super-stylized, slo-mo black and white affair, filled with an eclectic cast of characters just chilling in a graveyard.

This Hamburg based duo consists of vocalist/producer Scott Huntington (from Australia) and producer/engineer Dustin Ibrahimoglu (from Germany). The sound is synth-pop with a nice little edge. Their 2015 EP -- Secret -- is available on iTunes.

Scott Huntington
Song & Video: "Secret." It's a groove that invites you to grind. The simple, engrossing video is a snapshot of infidelity that plays out in reverse and delivers an unexpected twist.

AB Soto.  He's a Mexican-American who grew up in East Los Angeles with colliding passions for music, fashion and dance. His sound -- an amalgam of rap, house and dance -- is frequently influenced by his Latin heritage, but he sums up his work as performance art. In May, 2015, he told The Huffington Post: "I'm playing around with costumes. I'm playing around with masculinity, femininity. I'm playing around with styles of music that, you know, in the past have only been for straight people or a specific race -- whether it's rap, whether it's house, whether it's salsa." You can read the entire profile/interview here. His music is available on iTunes. Check out his YouTube channel here.

AB Soto
AB Soto 
Song & Video: "Cha Cha Bitch." It's a boisterous dance floor invitation. And the video is a glittery little spectacle to behold.