Now that Beyonce has managed to defy all odds and tricked gay people into being interested in country music, it’s important that we know our cultural history within the genre. Unfortunately due to the conservative politics of country music’s mainstream markets, country singers have only started coming out of the closet as recently as 2010. As slow as the progress might seem, none of it would be possible without Patrick Haggerty, aka Lavender Country, who blazed the trail back in the 1970s. Haggerty recorded Lavender Country’s self-titled album in 1973, thereby becoming the first openly gay country star.
Lavender Country sold all one thousand copies of the record that were issued, but then more or less vanished from popular culture. Patrick, a whip-smart Marxist, ran a couple of relatively successful political campaigns, but could never get a career off the ground. He eventually returned to country music and began to make a living off of singing “old songs to old people,” namely performing country classics in retirement homes.
Thanks to Youtube, one of Lavender Country’s most powerful and lyrically compelling songs, “Cryin’ These Cocksucking Tears,” has since garnered a resurgence of attention to the band. The record label Paradise of Bachelors reissued the album in 2014 which in turn led to more press coverage, a tour, and now a short documentary about Patrick’s life. “These Cocksucking Tears” was part of a short film festival featured at Nitehawk in New York City. …
I fell for Tinashe when I saw the Boss music video. I mean, this girl was eighteen, wrote a vicious song, taught herself to produce her own music, then self-directed its video. The vision and its execution left an impression. In one red-light setting, with a bright curly lion’s mane of hair, she sidles against an oversized county fair teddy bear, croons up over its head, then playfully decapitates it. And rips out its stuffing. It’s wild. Since then, she’s stayed focused, continually maturing her style.
Tinashe is twenty-three now and no longer needs the heels or hair or glam to prove that she’s grown. Nightride, released last Friday at midnight, is not child’s play. She came for every wig on this bi-coastal mess we call America. Released with a music video statement of purpose, Nightride is the accompaniment and precursor to Joyride, her upcoming sophomore album.
Her position relative to popular music in late 2016 is somewhere between Frank Ocean and Ariana Grande. Like Frank, Tinashe’s been roiling in music industry purgatory, her sophomore album suffering massive delays, her label increasingly hapless at managing her career. Both Nightride and Blonde are dark and pained, isolated (Nightride has zero features), but animated by the singer’s devotional faith in love and self-ownership. Both albums suit these suddenly darker days especially well. Like Ariana’s interstellar pop, Tinashe’s vocals pair dense production with an agile and winking sensibility. But Tinashe’s a more genuinely dangerous woman who belts out a bit more sparingly. …
We interviewed Roisin Murphy for the last issue of GAYLETTER Magazine. I got to speak with her over the phone, which was an absolute thrill, considering what a fan I am of her music. I was equally excited to learn that she is performing in NYC this week, but then bummed when I learned that tickets are sold out. As a consolation we should all head to C’mon Everybody on Saturday night. DJs Sean Hanna and Tad Haes will be spinning their “favorite Roisin songs” all night long in celebration of Roisin’s return to New York City after 8 years. There’s no guarantee that she’ll show up, but it would be a lovely surprise if she did. For all of you who are unfamiliar with the Irish singer/songwriter we suggest you pick up a copy of issue 5 of our magazine and learn some more about the talented Ms Murphy. She’s a great talker. Or you could just google her, google also works.
Amber Martin is a dear friend to GAYLETTER. We have written about her performances at Joe’s Pub and with Nath Ann Carrera as part of Witch Camp. Amber even performed as Reba McEntire at one of our Pride Balls. She is immensely talented and super sweet. She reached out to us recently to inform us about the release of her new album, A.M. Gold, at Joe’s Pub this Thursday night (October 6). The album features “special guests Jake Shears and Kate Bornstein, as well as NYC players Claudia Chopek, Nath Ann Carrera, Paul Leschen and Brett Every. Also, two of the songs will be featured in John Cameron Mitchell’s forthcoming movie, How To Talk To Girls At Parties, with Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. (“Bermuda” and “Bright Lights, Long Shadows”)". Thursday night is your first chance to hear the new album. Considering the talented people involved in it, I’m sure it’ll be a night filled with famous faces and unforgettable performances. Amber never disappoints!
I have been a fan of hip-hop since I was in high school listening to Talib Kweli, Mos Def and Common. I was never a fan of most mainstream rap as it was too hyper-masculine and often homophobic. The genre is still very masculine, sexist and mildly homophobic, but things are changing. One rapper who is leading that change is Young Thug. He is a pretty mainstream rapper, he's also subverting the genre in some wonderful ways. For one thing he is very gender fluid. On the cover of his latest album he is photographed wearing a dress by indie designer Alessandro Trincone. (Tricone lived in Japan which is why a lot of of his clothes are inspired by origami). In a recent interview to Billboard Young Thug talked more about his love of women’s clothes “When I was 12, my feet were so small I wore my sisters’ glitter shoes,” he recalled. “My dad would whoop me: ‘You’re not going to school now, you’ll embarrass us!’ But I never gave a f**k what people think… When it comes to swag there’s no gender involved.” He also said that he plans to wear a dress to his wedding, saying “there will be two brides.” This is all admirable, but not enough of a reason to listen to an artist’s music. Thankfully Young Thug’s latest album is really, really good. I’ve had it on repeat for the last few days. Stand out tracks include Wyclef Jean, Kanye West, and Swizz Beatz (many of the tracks are named after musicians.) Go off Jeffery!
THESWIMMINGPOOLS love letter to LA
The latest music video ‘Living It Up’ from THESWIMMINGPOOLS opens in a parking garage, both members of the group approaching an older BMW in their finest looks. It seems that the large hats are a trend in music video, Young Thug wore a large scale umbrella hat on his album cover… but that doesn’t mean this one is less gaggy! I was happy to see it done in a black and white manor, especially with the main musical-hook of ‘Living It Up’ crescendoing as the video opens. The ominous and sexy tone sets in quick and envelopes you swiftly.
One of the members, Christophe, told us that ‘Living It Up’ is “a love letter to Los Angeles.” In the video, the duo carries on Hollywood Blvd leaving tourists and spectators camera-clad and smiling. Everyone is happy! The duo seem to be having a great time, as do their audience, and the lyrics match the mood with the celebratory message — “You’ve got good hair / good skin / good luck / you’re living it up.” The song is very LA, in all of it’s plasticized glory that is a joke to some but a serious lifestyle to others. THESWIMMINGPOOLS are unapologetic about the city of Angels — it clearly makes them feel fucking good, attractive and like they can achieve all of their aspirations. I’m positive they’re not alone. People never want to leave California… perhaps because they, too, are living it up! Life’s too short to be pessimistic. Focus on the days your hair looks good as hell. …
The band's originally scrapped track gets a well-received release
The first thing I do when I get to the GAYLETTER office is (after wiping a lot of sweat off my face) sit down and open Facebook like the good millennial I suppose I am. It’s always exciting to realize I have been awake for four hours and the morning’s news might as well be something that happened two weeks ago. So much happens when I am getting my beauty sleep! It’s really fascinating how time works. So cray-cray, right? There is always something new, exciting and stupid to read on Facebook. Yesterday was a little different though.
As Frank Ocean continues to teach us, disgruntled fans are not the look. Releasing new music is vital to taming your fandom. PWR BTTM knows how to treat their fans better than any other band. Liv Bruce and Ben Hopkins have had quite the year. We were thrilled to publish them in Issue 4 of GAYLETTER, and since featuring them in the mag, they’ve been written about by NPR, MTV, Pitchfork, and countless other major sources, all while on a major tour supporting the indie-emo fave, Pity Sex. Both members have extreme passion for inclusivity and spend the necessary time snapping photos with their glitter-clad fans after shows. They have an active (often politically charged) social media presence that keeps their fans engaged, interested and above all else, heard by the duo. Most importantly, they made sure every venue they played provided gender neutral restrooms for those attending their shows. …
Last week, Tom, Abi & myself went to check out the OAK SS17 presentation. We liked the clothes — a cute, very New York, and wearable direction for the brand — but the model casting was fucking correct. Abi told me to go up and get in the models faces for our GAYLETTER Snapchat (add us, queen! @gayletter) because I was gagging five feet away, so I guess he figured I had an excuse to be thirsty in their personal space.
While we were carrying and reading the fashion queens post-presentation, the models came out in the street clothes and we might have enjoyed that moment even more, considering they all got to serve it in their personal style, and needless to say, they came through. One boy stuck out in particular, because while everyone was sanctioned off in small circles, sipping their vodka tonics, he was throwing it… for his phone! I’m always in awe of kids who can give public performance for Internet content. I mean, he was lip-synching for his life… alone… against a blank wall, but he added so much color to the black and white room.
This boy turned out to be Mister Wallace, the Chicago-born, Brooklyn-based rapper. His single, ‘It Girl,‘ premiered on the FADER today, and it captured all of that energy and personality we saw at the presentation. ‘It Girl,’ off his debut EP ‘FAGGOT‘ is vibrant and full of envy-worthy looks. There must be like, five or six different looks in this video, each one more gaggable, but my favorite is the cotton, long-sleeve leotard with the cropped white coat to match. …
Front man Olly Alexander gets heated in complex feelings
In one of my first dance classes, the instructor told us never to open our mouths when the choreography called for a head cast back or something of the sort. I still hear her snarling, “mouths open are ugly!” Olly Alexander, in Years & Years new music video for ‘Worship,’ completely disregards this formality. Instead, he throws his head and his mouth wide open, bringing it within inches of another man’s, in the suggestive latest music video from the electronic trio.
Worship, off of the band’s 2016 album Communion, is light on the surface, but the lyrics and video reveal a love rooted in a dark place (literally, “Gotta keep my lips shut / I’ll do what you tell me to / Cause in darkness I follow you”) that functions below. The video, taking place in a grimey parking lot and parking garage sheds light on these darker moments hidden in the song.
Throughout the video, Olly is on some kind of kick. He seems vengeful; trying to bring some form of justice to himself while an older man sits motionless in a car before him. However, he also seems horny… Olly thwarts several hot guys (the one with the mustache drove me nuts with that trade look) away from him and instead, manipulates their direction to what I assume to be the oppressive-daddy character in the car. Whether Olly is seeking vengeance or a good fuck might be not so important. Both sex and retribution are indiscernible here, mostly because, like any kind of worship, these feelings operate on the fine line between a sickness and a healing. …