The LGBTQ+ spectrum is incredibly diverse – hence the 5+ letters in the acronym – but you wouldn’t know it looking at most playlists and articles about queer artists. It is white, cisgender gay men who dominate these lists, and are elevated in the queer community. Years & Years, Troye Sivan, and Sam Smith are all talented artists who deserve attention, but they do not stand alone. Occasionally a little bit of diversity gets slipped into things, in the form of Frank Ocean or ‘lesbian Jesus’ Hayley Kiyoko. It is extremely rare that any trans musicians are mentioned – and yet, they’re here, they’re queer, and they’re making great art. They deserve to be heard, and you deserve to hear them.
Stephanie Knipe, aka Adult Mom, began making music in their bedroom – and this became Adult Mom. Their music is tender and intimate, as the title of 2017 album Soft Spots suggests. These are sounds which belong to indie movies – to scenes of heartbreak and hazy romantic montages. Adult Mom is introspectiveness and simplicity at its finest.
Against Me! truly embody what punk is truly about, and – amongst punk’s big names – they’re currently in the minority. From songs about transitioning and queer relationships to war and terrorism, this is a band willing to tackle what matters. Their most recent albums are more personal than ever, yet are also the most fiercely and necessarily political of the band’s releases to date. Against Me! are leading a revolution, one which – thankfully – many are following.
Nervus are probably the most exciting up-and-coming band in the UK right now, both on record and in a live setting. At a show, you can find Paul Etienne (keys) dad-dancing his heart out, and Em Foster (vocals, songwriter) inviting kids up on stage to rock out with the band. Listening to the songs through your headphones is a different experience, but equally life-affirming. Also, they have merch that says ‘no gods, no binaries’ so they win.
Screaming Toenail are another band with incredible merch – with slogans such as ‘the future is queer’ and ‘femme supremacy’, it’s impossible not to immediately love them (unless you’re a bigot?). Many of their songs speak to ideas linked to Afrofuturism and breaking down the binary, and are just really, really good. You should listen to and support them. Go do it. Now.
The Spook School
The Spook School are a Glaswegian four-piece with quietly anthemic tunes, moving between anger, awe, confusion, self-affirmation, and more. They’re a band who have effortlessly created a community around them – the way that they present themselves and their music is incredibly seductive to the queer eye. The band released their 3rd album, Could It Be Different, at the beginning of 2018. They describe this release as “at its heart […] a celebration of the community we’ve found […] through playing music”.
Photo Credit: Amy Harris