Needless to say, 2021 is already off to a wild (and nerve-racking) start — so there’s no better time to take a break and listen to some new, queer music than now! Billboard Pride is here to help with First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
From Maggie Lindemann’s gothic new video to Vagabon’s country-twinged cover with Courtney Barnett, check out just a few of our favorite releases from this week below.
Maggie Lindemann, “Knife Under My Pillow”
There is perhaps no better moniker for Maggie Lindemann’s vibe in her new music video than a description shared with me by a fellow Billboard staffer: “She looks like a punk Selena Gomez.” The video almost plays exactly to that theme: Lindemann continues her track record of excellent emo-infused pop tracks with catchy hooks, killer guitars and gothic lyrics, with some truly gnarly visuals to match. From her Lydia Deetz-inspired look to some of her best vocals to date, Lindemann shines bright — or rather glows in the dark — on “Knife Under My Pillow.”
Vagabon & Courtney Barnett, “Reason to Believe”
At first glance, a collaboration like indie electro-pop singer Vagabon and alt-rock artist Courtney Barnett doesn’t seem like it would work. But the pair’s team-up on a cover of Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe” (which has been covered by stars like Rod Stewart, The Carpenters and more) ends up being a stunning, simple, folksy duet that was practically made to soothe an anxious spirit. The simple guitar melody allows the pair’s soft vocals to wash over you like a wave of relief — a feeling we all desperately need right now.
Marina, “Man’s World (MUNA Remix)”
Queer pop trio MUNA are simply not stopping their remix train, this time taking on Marina’s stunning feminist anthem “Man’s World.” Bringing the song’s slow-building production to new heights, MUNA infuse a healthy dose of electro-pop into the poignant single, giving the track a new edge that makes it sound like it ought to be blaring out of the speakers at a club (post-pandemic, of course). The fiery new production only gives Marina’s words more heft, as she wails out “I don’t wanna live in a man’s world anymore.”
Barry Gibb & Brandi Carlile, “Run to Me”
No one had “Barry Gibb and Brandi Carlile teaming up to make a folk cover of a Bee Gees deep-cut” on their 2021 bingo card — but it’s still something that we’ve been treated to already this year. As a part of Gibb’s new album featuring massive stars joining him to cover a few of his favorite Gibb Brothers songs, “Run to Me” featuring Carlile stands head and shoulders above the rest. The track stays true to the originals’ folk roots, while also allowing Carlile to once again show off how immense and inescapable her voice truly is.
Virgil Abloh & Serpentwithfeet, “Delicate Limbs”
Off-White founder, Louis Vuitton artistic director and DJ Virgil Abloh wanted to make an artistic statement about the nature of love, and found a perfect collaborator to do it with in baroque pop artist Serpentwithfeet. “Delicate Limbs,” the new collaboration between the pair, sees Abloh pairing his pared-down, interstellar production with Serpentwithfeet’s ethereal vocals, making for a musical concoction that will wend its way up your spine and send shivers back down. Pair the track with it’s fantasy-inspired music video, and you are in for a much-needed trip outside of current events.
NEO 10Y, “Shortcut to World Peace”
In 2021, we all are begging for some respite in the wake of a terrible 2020. NEO 10Y is doing their best to manifest that calm with their new song for a new year, “Shortcut to World Peace.” The track follows in the stead of the artist’s recent releases, combining an otherworldly production quality with their scintillating vocals, as they cry out “Everyone’s got what they need/ A world with love and kindness/ And now I think that we’re so close/ To being one, in silence.” For those looking to expand on the song’s experience, the singer is also offering a limited-edition CD, with this and 10 other recent singles over on their website.