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14 June, 2024

As the end of the 2023-2024 school year approaches, so does LGBTQ Pride Month! KCSB’s Music Department wanted to highlight some wonderful Queer musicians to celebrate and uplift these artists. This is just a small portion of all of the work that LGBTQ artists contribute, we hope that these picks inspire you to discover more Queer artists.


  • “Backseat Girl” – Jane Remover

Jane Remover pioneered the genre “dariacore,” a subgenre of Hyperpop that can be characterized by pitched up samples from popular media, jersey club influences, and lots of breakbeats. She’s a Jersey native and came out publicly as trans in 2022. Jane’s been producing music since 2011, many of her projects were released under various pseudonyms. You can trace the change in her style over the years – from dubstep, to trap, to digicore, to forming her own genre.

  • “Old Money Bitch” – Underscores

Underscores is the project of April Harper Grey, a trans Philipina artist from San Francisco. The album this song was on, Wallsocket, was my add of the month this past November, but I can’t help but continue to highlight her work. This album is so intricate and thought out, Grey created an entire world around this fake town. Some background on Grey –  she went to an all-boys catholic school for 9 years, had a minecraft youtube, and was a jazz band geek in highschool. When she was 13 she started releasing music on soundcloud and has continued to make music ever since.

  • “I Couldn’t Say It To Your Face” – Arthur Russell

Arthur Russell was a cellist and composer whose work cannot be overstated. He has spanned genres – country, disco, avant-garde, minimalist, art pop – and has many unreleased works, partially due to his perfectionism. Russell moved to New York where he worked with and briefly dated Allen Ginsberg and became very involved in the avant-garde movement of the 1970s, working as the music director of the Kitchen for a while. He passed away in 1992 due to AIDS related illness, though his partner Tom Lee has been working to release Russell’s works in a manner that Russell would approve.

  • “Baby” – Gal Costa

Gal Costa was one of the greatest Bossa Nova artists in the genre, and she happens to be bisexual! Her self titled album is so experimental and noisy while retaining that classic summery tropicalia sound. She passed away in 2022, and when my mom found out, she called me and asked me to play this song on my radio show. Though she’s no longer around, Costa’s legacy will live on through her music forever.


  • “If You Don’t Want To Fuck (F*** Off) – Jayne County

Jayne County is a trans legend who was most active in the 1970s early punk scene. She played regularly at Max’s Kansas City, a club located in NYC which was frequented by bands like The Velvet Underground and New York Dolls. This song has particularly abrasive lyrics in which County is unapologetically solidifying her sexuality. County also ran in Andy Warhol’s avant-garde circles and was featured in several of his projects. In my opinion, County is extremely overlooked in the history of punk, and certainly deserves more recognition for her contributions to the trans pride movement. 

The title “Angry Atthis” is a reference to the name of one of Sappho’s lovers. In the linked interview with Feldman, you can hear that she wrote this song after having been kicked out of college, and the rising tensions surrounding gay bars in New York City. She debuted this song one month before the Stonewall Riots. In the lyrics, she writes about her frustration with not being able to hold her lover’s hand in public. She appropriates the slur “queer” and, decries the myths that LGBTQ+ individuals are “after [people’s] children [and] wives].” This song and Feldman as an artist represent the larger movement which came to be called WOmen’s Music, which was founded “specifically to highlight the work of often queer women musicians, [and] negotiated lesbian identity through a more pastoral sound,” which was rooted deeply in folk ideologies (Sasha Geffen, Glitter Up The Dark…”)

  • “Little Plastic Castle” – Ani DiFranco

Ani DiFranco is an amazing musician and lyricist who is and has always been unwaveringly DIY. She released the record that this song is from on her label, Righteous Babe Records, which never ever sold out to a major and remained independent. She has since won a Grammy and garnered a loyal audience. Her music is characterized by influences of folk, hip hop, ska, and jazz. This song specifically talks about the trouble of two lesbian lovers who are meeting for coffee in public. As such, she is dealing with the issues of self-identity as they relate to sexuality in the public eye. 

  • “Trail of Broken Hearts” – k.d. lang 

k.d. lang is a lesbian artist I deeply admire for her appropriation of the genre of country, which is widely regarded as one of the most conservative. While sonically, her music stays true to the traditional sound of country- sitting comfortably with contemporaries such as Townes Van Zandt and Roy Orbison- what is clearly subversive about lang’s artistry is her overtly “unfeminine” presentation. Lang faced criticism and backlash from conservative country audiences for the music she put out and the way she looked, even before coming out as lesbian. Now, it is clear that her commitment and love for the genre triumphed over the prejudice and bigotry she had to face. 

  • “Eudaemonia” – Them Are Us Too 

The story of Them Are Us Two is undoubtedly a tragic one, which means that we should even more intentionally create a space to celebrate them and their contributions to the genre of shoegaze/darkwave. This duo was composed of Kennedy Ashlyn and Cash Askew, Askew identified as transgender. Tragically, Askew passed away in the 2016 Ghost Ship fire, which occurred when a DIY venue in Oakland set on fire during a show, and took the lives of 36 people. The songs on the album this song comes from were released posthumously by Ashlyn, as the duo had planned to record them before the fire. At the forefront of this song you can hear synthesizers heavily featured interlaying over each other, the drums are also prominently mixed and drenched with reverb. 

  • “Screaming” – Bronski Beat

Lately I have been obsessively listening to Bronski Beat’s album, Age of Consent. I came to this album after listening to “Smalltown Boy” their most popular song, which has been trending on social media as of late due to it’s alluring classic New Wave beat. That song is undoubtedly an anthem for the LGBTQ+ community of the 1980s. However, I really believe that the rest of the album doesn’t get enough credit. I think this song, “Screaming” does an amazing job of detailing the struggle that many queer individuals face trying to reconcile their family life with the desire to be free. 


  • “Pocket PC” – Lola’s Pocket PC

Lola’s Pocket PC is the side project of non-binary artist Sputnik hailing from Sweden, more well known for their work with the Weatherday moniker. This song, as well as the project it’s off of, is much poppier than their other work. Pulsing, psychedelic synths accompany tight drum machine work to create the perfect tune to dance to. 

    • “Smoke and Mirrors” – The Magnetic Fields

    I absolutely adore Stephen Merritt’s work. Openly gay and best known for playing in The Magnetic Fields, Merritt sings to a gender-ambiguous subject in many of his love songs. Those familiar with The Magnetic Fields likely know the lengthy album 69 Love Songs, but their lesser known work is not to be ignored. Get Lost is a favorite of mine, and “Smoke and Mirrors” is an amazing example of what to expect on this album. Merritt’s subdued vocals pair beautifully with the bouncing synths to make a sweet, melancholic pop song. 

    • “Olsen olsen” – Sigur Rós

    Sigur Rós is an Icelandic post-rock band, featuring lead vocals from openly gay musician Jónsi. This track comes from their 1999 album Ágætis byrjun, and is a lush and soothing listen. Incredibly relaxing, perfect for winding down after a long day. 

    • “Apistat Commander” – Xiu Xiu

    Jamie Stewart is the bisexual frontman of experimental band Xiu Xiu, formed in the Bay Area and currently based in Berlin, Germany. This song is wonderfully noisy and cathartic, glitchy synthesizers mesh with industrial percussion and provide a perfect background for Stewart’s anxious and dramatic vocals. 

    • “dlp 1.1” – William Basinski

    This project has an incredible story and I strongly recommend researching further, but I’ll briefly summarize here. The Disintegration Loops were accidentally created by gay ambient musician William Basinski as he attempted to digitize a bunch of his old tape loops. Basinski discovered his tape was being destroyed by the digital recorder, slowly crumbling and falling apart. This created the effect of increasing noise and distortion as the loop progressed. The tape’s digitization coincided with the 9/11 attacks, and Basinski viewed the wreckage in Manhattan as the tape played out. It’s a lengthy but amazing listening experience, I strongly recommend. 



    • “Aeterum” – Portrait of Tracy

    Portraits of Tracy (she/they) is a groundbreaking artist redefining hyper music with her self-taught, experimental approach. Specifically, “Found!” is an upbeat hyper-pop sound that transcends you into a euphoric state of mind with her use of harmonization and intense percussion. Her music reflects her journey as a Black, queer teen and her path to self-acceptance as transgender. 

    • “Tirolirole” – Bruno Berle

    Bruno Berle is a Brazilian artist based in São Paulo who combines acoustic guitar to bring a sense of peace to the listener. Bruno Berle’s latest single, “Tirolirole,” features calming rhythms and Berle’s soft, lilting vocals, creating a gentle ambiance. “Tirolirole” evokes wholesome memories, while the lyrics and melody are gentle.  

    • “BLUE” – Hope Tala

    Hope Tala is a singer who brings R&B melodies and poetic lyrics to her music. “Blue” by Hope Tala is a captivating blend of R&B and bossa nova that showcases her smooth vocals and mellow guitar melody. Tala’s lyrics explore themes of heartache and reflection. As a queer artist, Hope Tala’s music serves as a reminder of the beauty and complexity of LGBTQ+ experiences.  

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