Jameson’s BIG GAY INDIE MIXTAPE, vol. 1

11 Apr

Here it is, folks! I’ve spent the past couple weeks compiling fourteen of my favorite recent tracks by queer indie artists and am finally ready to spread all the gay love. I’ve posted links to legal downloads of as many of the songs as possible, and links to hear or stream the others. If you like something you hear, I obviously urge you to support the artist by buying the record, but am sure you can find other creative ways of obtaining them if you so choose.

1. Boy Lilikoi—Jonsi. The compulsively-listenable first single off the Sigur Ros frontman’s debut solo album Go, “Boy Lilikoi” is a cinematic, feel-good power anthem that sounds a little like Sigur Ros on ecstasy. The entire album is fantastic and features the sweeping orchestral arrangements of Nico Muhly (who has also worked with Antony and the Johnsons and Grizzly Bear), percussion parts by master Samuli Kosmin, and the instrumental talents of Jonsi’s partner, Alex Somers, who is also a co-producer. Really, I can’t recommend Go enough. Listen to “Boy Lilikoi,” fall in love, and then go buy the album! (Or stream the whole album on his website first.)

2. You’ve Changed—Sia. My favorite bisexual Australian diva (no, not Missy Higgins) is back with her third full-length album, We Are Born, and sounding real happy about it. Already her highest-charting single in Australia to date, “You’ve Changed,” hearkens back to her early 2000 success as a dance/R&B artist in Europe. And as much I’ve loved her more melancholy and angsty work, the new single’s infectious disco-groove and feisty, finger-wagging attitude make me wish she’d reconnected to her nightclub roots a little sooner. Download it here.

3. Lewis Takes Off His Shirt—Owen Pallett (formerly known as Final Fantasy). This track’s title is so good, I’m tempted to let it speak for itself (though I obviously don’t have the self restraint). Sounding a bit like Andrew Bird, Imogen Heap, and Jonsi thrown into a blender along with a full orchestra, this Canadian violinist seems to really have found his musical stride with his third album, Heartland, which dropped this January. The second single, “Lewis Takes Off His Shirt,” is, as the name suggests, pure sex. Listen here.

4. You Don’t Like Rock’n’RollHunx and His Punx. Some of you might recognize Hunx as the face attached to the peen-microphone in Girls’ NSFW video for “Lust for Life,” or as a former member of the band Gravy Train. For those of you who don’t, little introduction is needed—Hunx is kitschy, flamboyant, and unabashed, not to mention cute (what more could you ask for in a gay indie rocker?) Making music that has been described as “gay garage-rock” and “bubblegum-punk,” he’s easily one of my favorite up-and-coming indie artists, gay or straight. On “You Don’t Like Rock’n’Roll,” the lastest single off his debut album Gay Singles, he bemoans a lover who can’t keep up with his taste in music: “What the heck is wrong with you/I think you sniff too much glue/You don’t like rock’n’roll/and I don’t like you.” Watch the hilarious, BDSM-themed video below:

5. City Lights (Days Go By)—Bob Mould. I know I might get some flack for including this song, so I’ll be the first to admit it’s cheesy—really cheesy. But if you can look past the totally un-ironic production, there’s a catchy hook and some great songwriting in “City Lights (Days Go By),” off the legendary Bob Mould’s 2009 effort, Life and Times. Mould rose to underground fame in 1980’s as a member of Husker Du, arguably the most influential post-hardcore band of all time, went on to form the band Sugar in the ‘90’s (the decade that also marked his coming out of the closet), and has also enjoyed a prolific thirty-year solo career. His more recent work may not have the grit of his Husker Du days, but before you let the shiny guitar intro turn you off this track, just remember that Bob Mould was cool before we were even born. Download it here.

6. Ho’s Revenge—Menya. NYU’s own indie-pop trio serves up sugary melodies and digitized beats with plenty of sass to spare. “Ho’s Revenge” is a parody-cover of 3OH!3’s “Don’t Trust me,” which turns the tables on the original singer and has the band’s ladies singing classic lines like “she’d rather be with me/‘cause I’ve got bigger balls” and “Shush boys/Shut your lips/Think before you speak/and don’t talk with your dick.” Download their entire EP The Sleepover Series (vol. 1) for free here!

7. Best Friend—The Drums. The Drums’ care-free, sand-and-surf attitude brings us back to the 1950’s, when even straight men wore tiny bathing suits and beefcake magazines were the closest thing to gay porn most teenagers could get their hands on (oh how times have changed). While the subject matter of their latest single, “Best Friend,” is heavy, the sound is as light and upbeat as ever. Watch the video to see lead singer Jonathan Pierce strut his stuff like only a ‘mo could:

8. Lust for Life—Girls. While Christopher Owens, front man of the all-male band Girls, claims to be “unlabelable,” he seems to me like one of those sex-drugs-and-rock’n’roll kind of guys who’d make out with you at the party, but wouldn’t go home with you when it ended. Whatever my suspicions, however, from the moment he sings the opening line on this 2009 break-out hit from Album, you can’t deny that “Lust for Life” is a pretty gay song: “Oh, I wish I had a boyfriend/I wish I had a loving man in my life.” The single is also famed, as I mentioned earlier, for its NSFW music video, featuring a very naked Hunx along with his boyfriend. According to band member Chet “JR” White, there is an even more explicit version out there, which has yet to be released. Gay porn with an indie rock soundtrack, anyone? Listen here.

9. My Denial in Argle—Woodpigeon. This Woodpigeon favorite has appeared once before on BLoGT, but here it is again in case you missed it the first time! One of the poppier numbers off the masterpiece that is January’s Die Stadt Muzikanten, this song, with its exuberant guitar riffs and a chorus that’s made for singing along, is as tight as…well, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination. It was an immediate favorite in my apartment, and as my roommate and I have observed, who but a gay indie rocker could write a killer pop song revolving around a sweater print? Download it here.

10. Dirty Night Clowns—Chris Garneau. I’ve been a fan of Garneau since his 2006 debut Music for Tourists, which was essentially a collection of melancholy piano-based ballads, and was really pleased to see this Brooklyn-based artist’s music take a wonky, more adventurous turn in last July’s El Radio. “Dirty Night Clowns” may be the stand-out track, a strange little chamber-pop number with something of a Lady GaGa attitude: “Pick me up/hose me down,” Garneau sings in the opening line, “I’m sorry, boys/about the dirty night clowns.” Listen here.

11. Community—Mirah and Spectratone International. This mellow little number is a collaboration between lesbian alt-girl Mirah and Lori Goldston and Kyle Hanson of Spectratone International. Part of a 2007 multimedia performance chartered by the Portland Contemporary Art, “Community” is one-twelfth of “an insect-inspired song cycle” written to accompany twelve short animated films by Britta Johnson. And even though this song is about a community of arthropods, I think the lyrics can be beautifully applied to our own LGBT one: “We’re individuals in a community/140 million years we’ve been this way/With wisdom and ingenuity/we outwit so much larger adversaries/We symbolize this treasured prize/buried deep within the human psyche.” Download it here.

12. Nijewel—Polka Dot Dot Dot. These three modern-day minstrels first blipped on my radar when they played the GayBiGayGay event at 2009’s SXSW music festival. Their second full-length album, Syzygy, was released earlier this year and offers sweet, mellow tracks that fans of Brett Dennen and the Weepies are sure to love. From the opening strains of ukelele, “Nijewel” will charm the pants right off you—and hopefully, right off your next date as well. Download it here.

13. Who Are You New York?—Rufus Wainwright. From gay icon Rufus Wainwright’s upcoming album All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu, out on Decca April 20, comes this subdued preview single. A melodic love song to our fine city, “Who Are You New York?” finds the songwriter stripped down to voice and piano, having abandoned the lush baroque-pop orchestrations that made him famous. While some (including myself) might miss the drama of his earlier work, Wainwright sounds entirely himself here and I’m nevertheless excited for the new album, which, in addition to nine new original songs, also features musical interpretations of three of Shakespeare’s sonnets. Download it here.

14. Nessun Dorma—Antony Hegarty and the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra. Proving once again that with a voice like that you can sing pretty much anything, genderqueer Anthony Hegarty of Antony and the Johnsons fame has now taken on Puccini. “Nessun Dorma,” from Turandot, is one of opera’s most famous tenor arias and has been performed and recorded by Pavarotti and Aretha Franklin alike. In this live recording, Hegarty interprets the song with his signature warble, backed by the Roma Sinfonietta Orchestra, who play Puccini’s original arrangement. The effect is breathtaking. Download it here.

Well, there it is; I hope you enjoy. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for vol. 2, and remember to support these fantastic artists by buying their music and going to their shows!

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