It’s October, which means spooky season has finally arrived! What better way to celebrate than with some new tunes from your favorite queer artists? Billboard Pride is here to help with First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
From Halsey’s surprise birthday release to Mxmtoon’s stunning new EP, check out some of our favorite new releases this week:
Halsey, “I’m Not Mad”
Typically, on your birthday, you receive gifts from others — but for her birthday earlier this week, pop superstar Halsey instead decided to give a gift to her fans. Alongside her nostalgia-filled music video for “929,” the “Without Me” singer unveiled a deluxe version of her latest record Manic, where Halsey gave fans two bonus tracks alongside a few acoustic versions and remixes. Of the two songs, “I’m Not Mad” stands out as an excellent addition to the album, with a haunting beat and distorted guitar aesthetic, as Halsey sends one final kiss-off to her ex. “I still wish you nothing but the best/ I know that you’re still self-obsessed,” she sings on the chorus. “I hear the wicked get no rest/ But when you do, I hope you dream of me.”
In 2020, Mxmtoon decided that her fans deserve more music. After releasing a critically-acclaimed EP in April, Dawn, the singer put together her latest project Dusk, a dark reflection of her previous project, this time focusing more on the sense of sadness that the world is still collectively feeling in 2020. With some of her sharpest songwriting to date (and an excellent collaboration with pop icon Carly Rae Jepsen), Mxmtoon combines strings, synths and her ukulele-pop origins for a complex, fleshed-out record, with songs like the introverted anthem “Wallflower” standing out as incisive looks at modern loneliness.
Queen + Adam Lambert, Live Around the World
There’s long been speculation about whether or not Queen + Adam Lambert would ever record a studio album together. We may still not know the answer, but the group offered fans the next best thing today — a comprehensive live album with some of their best-ever performances from their last decade of working together. With massive singles like “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” along with fan-favorites like “I Want to Break Free” and ‘Don’t Stop Me Now,” the album combines years’ worth of live performances into one stunning package, sure to please both Queen’s and Adam Lambert’s respective (and combined) fanbases.
Softee, Keep On
If you’re a fan of the brooding synth-pop of artists like Clairo or Beabadobee, then Nina Grollman, a.k.a. DIY pop artist Softee, ought to be in your queue. With her debut album Keep On, the singer boasts a sound that defies genre, landing somewhere between indie rock and hyperpop, making her own lane for herself. Whether it’s on the subdued slow jam “Crush,” or on the twinkling pop gem “Venus in Scorpio,” Softee is proving exactly why she deserves your attention.
Zoë Moss, “The Goddess”
On “The Goddess,” up-and-coming pop singer Zoë Moss is ready to bow down to women everywhere. The self-described “experimental chamber-pop record” sees Moss mixing classic pop production with winding vocoders and strained guitars for an ethereal look at a deep attraction. Add in her stellar vocals, and you’ve got an excellent addition to your next playlist. “‘The Goddess” is an ode to the divine feminine,” she said of the track in a release. “This song is about curiosity in all its forms, being playful and living in the moment.”
Shilpa Ray, “Heteronormative Horses–t Blues”
Tired of straight mediocrity? So is Shilpa Ray. That’s why she wrote “Heteronormative Horses–t Blues,” a classic country blues song overflowing with modern imagery and an indictment of our heteronormative society’s treatment of those deemed to be “different” than the standard. “Straight culture is in dire need of a reform/defund/abolishment discussion,” she said in a statement released with the song. “I wrote this song from my experiences of being stuck in an abusive relationship during my mid-to-late 20s, only to come to the realization that the non-abusive ones weren’t that much better in terms of power dynamics and conforming gender roles.”
Savage Ga$p, “Pumpkins Scream in the Dead of Night (Remix)[ft. Freddie Dredd]”
If you’re looking for a spooky single to get you ready for Halloween, then look no further than TikTok sensation Savage Ga$p’s new remix. Turning up the heat on his viral hit “Pumpkins Scream in the Dead of Night,” his new remix adds an extra layer of ghostly vibes to the song, courtesy of fellow TikTok star Freddie Dredd. Plus, the song also comes with an on-theme animated video, just to help get you hyped up for a spooky season.
G Flip, “You and I”
Rising Australin pop singer G Flip has a brand new anthem that the world needs to hear. “You and I” puts a focus on the star’s subtle vocal stylings, as she doubles down on insightful lyrics cutting into the heart of queer love. “You & I is a LGBTQIA+ love anthem,” she said in a press release. “It’s about being able to look at someone and the whole world just becomes background noise to your epic love story and it feels like it’s only you and that other person standing on the planet. It’s a highlight reel of beautiful moments to me.”
The More, “Brave and Bold”
On their latest single, Brooklyn’s own rising alt-pop duo The More want to make sure you remember them for being “Brave and Bold.” The atmospheric, guitar-laced song is a masterclass in timing, as the pair slowly turn up the heat with increasingly experimental production and staggering sonics, until eventually you find yourself listening to a cacophony of fuzzed-out white noise that still sends shivers down your spine. If their second single is any indication, then The More certainly have much more in store — and we can’t wait to hear what that entails.