First Out: New Music From Julien Baker, Carlie Hanson, Slayyyter and More

Julien Baker
Alysse Gafkjen

Julien Baker

In need of a Friday pick-me-up? Look no further than First Out! Billboard Pride's weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.

From Julien Baker's mesmerizing new single to Carlie Hanson's new emo-inspired EP, check out some of our favorite new releases from this week.

Julien Baker, "Faith Healer"

Much like the rest of the world, Julien Baker is looking for some relief during these trying times. "Faith Healer," the new lead single off of the singer's upcoming album Little Oblivions, takes a stoic look at the "cognitive dissonance" of substance abuse and other unhealthy forms of escapism, where the singer asks for help — even if the help isn't real — from anyone willing to offer it.

"There are so many channels and behaviors that we use to placate discomfort unhealthily which exist outside the formal definition of addiction," Baker said of the song in a statement. " I (and so many other people) are willing to believe whomever -- a political pundit, a preacher, a drug dealer, an energy healer -- when they promise healing, and how that willingness, however genuine, might actually impede healing."

Carlie Hanson, DestroyDestroyDestroyDestroy

From the moment you press play on Carlie Hanson's new EP DestroyDestroyDestroyDestroyyou know that you're in for some angst. From the album cover (featuring Hanson, a trashed room, and a chainsaw) to songs like "Fires" (with undeniably emo lyrics, "When it all goes good, then I go setting fires"), the 20-year old rising star brandishes her feelings of anxiety and loneliness as musical weapons.

The lyrics cut deep, the melodies implant themselves in your mind, and her delivery will leave you wondering why you've been sleeping on Carlie Hanson until now.

Slayyyter, "Self Destruct"

On her return singe "Self Destruct," experimental pop singer Slayyyter is ready to take control. "Self Destruct," produced by and featuring Wuki, sees Slayyyter going full succubus on her latest romantic interest; namely, she's going to kill them if she doesn't get what she wants.

The harsh beats mix perfectly with the artist's nearly-screamed verses, as she lets her lover know "I will f---in' kill you if you try to talk to me/ Test me, I'll burn you up to the third f---ing degree." Moral of the story — don't mess with Slayyyter.

Chaz Cardigan, Holograma

Rising alt-pop sensation Chaz Cardigan knows how to cut right to the chase. On Holograma, the singer's new EP, Cardigan wastes no time in laying out exactly what's on his mind. His lyrics tackle just about everything, including missed connections ("Losing Touch"), self-sabotage ("Kamikaze"), loneliness (the aptly-named "Jesus Christ, I'm Lonely") and even breaking out of mental heath spirals ("Everything's Wrong"). Add to that his phenomenal production and invigorating melodies, and you're left with the 25-year-old artist's best work yet.

Dodie, "Cool Girl"

"Men always say that as the defining compliment, don’t they? She’s a cool girl." That's how Amy Dunne, the antagonist at the center of Gillian Flynn's wildly popular novel Gone Girl, starts off her scathing diary entry on the misogynistic expectations of men. It's that speech that helped singer-songwriter Dodie express her frustration with these expectations on her new song, "Cool Girl."

The track (which the singer teased as a demo back in April) sees Dodie wondering aloud why she's following the rules of the "cool girl" — being "chill," never getting upset, being unlike  "other girls" — when she has every right to feel angry at the way her lover is treating her. "How much of a tongue can I bite until we notice blood?" she asks aloud. "Spit to the left, carry on, just smile and say you're good."

Arlo Parks, "Green Eyes"

With the world collectively going through some hardship as of late, Arlo Parks would like to offer some much-needed relief. The singer's new song, "Green Eyes" (off of her forthcoming debut album Collapsed in Sunbeams), gives a quiet, contemplative reflection on self-worth — and her stunning, breathy vocals are accompanied by none other than bedroom pop sensation Clairo on backing vocals and guitar. "This is a song about self-discovery, self-acceptance and adolescence," Parks said in a statement of her new single. "It is supposed to uplift and comfort those going through hard times."

Abisha, "Time Alone"

Even in a pandemic, taking some time for yourself is an important step toward better mental health. That's Abisha's message on her latest single "Time Alone," a pop confessional where the singer gets real about the importance of self-care. Over hypnotic guitars and fluctuating synths, Abisha establishes what she's feeling and concludes that she's going to need some time to heal.

"I wrote the song about needing to escape and have a minute to myself when I’m struggling with feeling down or overwhelmed," she said of the track in a statement. "I wanted to make the song uplifting in order to normalize it and make people feel like it’s okay to feel like that sometimes, we all do. It’s okay to take some time out, bury yourself in your covers and just zone out and breath."

Antiboy, "Paradise"

For Antiboy's new animated "Paradise" video, 3D artist Sam Hains (the brother of the late Harry Hains, the artist behind Antiboy) wanted to give a visually stunning look at the toxicity of substance abuse. Throughout the new track, the viewer takes a visually-arresting journey through a digitally rendered dreamscape that quickly transforms into something more threatening, as Hains' voice cautions the listener against falling for the glamour. "Paradise, it gets me high," he sings. "Paradise, it’s all a lie."

"There was this metaphor of these virtual worlds and how reality itself is a dream or a simulation and that the virtual world is an interesting way of exploring reality and that there’s something not quite right about it," Sam Hains said of the overlap between his and his brother's work. "That was something that I was definitely exploring in my work and then Harry was also doing that too in the Glitch in Paradise pilot that he wrote. I think it was really curious that we were both kind of interested in that sort of idea.”

Yvie Oddly, Drag Trap

RuPaul's Drag Race season 11 winner Yvie Oddly is eager to stay weird. Her new album Drag Trap taps into the chaotic, creative energy that won her $100,000, and builds even further upon it. Oddly flexes her skills as a rapper (especially on album standout "Watermelon Bubblegum") while keeping up her insane visual aesthetic with videos for her singles "Hype" and "Drag Trap."

"My inspiration for Drag Trap comes from all sorts of places," the queen said in a statement. "When Season 11 aired and my life changed drastically I began writing raps to help me navigate my emotions. So the songs range from the pressures of fame, to my health, sex, and being a queer Black American ... and just everything I needed to get off my chest."

G Flip, "You & I" 

After giving fans an LGBTQ love anthem in "You & I," Australian artist G Flip decided that she needed to show that exactly what she meant. The song's official video sees G Flip flipping between vignettes of different queer romances, as she sings about a pure love that makes you only want to be with your significant other.

"'You & I' is a love anthem I wrote about my former queer relationship, so I wanted this portrayed in the visual," she said of the video. "The song is about having that one person that you love so much that the whole world around you disappears.”

Fleece, "Upside Down"

With their new single "Upside Down," Montreal-based band Fleece offers a Motown-esque love song for the LGBTQ community. Filled with horns, funky keyboards, driving basslines and some truly stellar vocals courtesy of frontman Matt Rogers, "Upside Down" sees the band plainly stating that "If two men just ain’t right / Then I’m living in a world that’s upside down."

“Moments like these used to bring on feelings of shame and confusion. I guess because I was still feeling weird about being gay,” Rogers said in a statement about the new single. “But now I’m comfy in my skin and take moments like these as a little jolt of espresso to keep me chugging along. There’s nothing like the feeling of mutual attraction.”

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