As we inch closer towards the winter season, take some time to update your seasonal playlists with some new tracks 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.
The first official single off of his long-awaited upcoming debut album Heterosexuality, “Cisgender” sees Shamir cutting the systems in place around him down to size, and claiming his identity as overtly as possible. The growling alt-pop track lets Shamir’s twinkling vocals rest atop a bed of grinding guitars and relentless drums, as he declares once and for all that he’s tired of being bound by the heteronormative ties that bind us. “I’m not cisgender/ I’m not binary, trans,” he wails. “I don’t wanna be a girl/ I don’t wanna be a man/ I’m just existing on this god forsaken land/ And you can take it or leave it or you can just stay back.”
Trixie Mattel, “Hello Hello”
It seems natural that a drag superstar like Trixie Mattel would be able to transform her sound just as easily as she transforms into her hyper-stylized alter-ego. After switching up her tried-and-true country format with last year’s beach-rock LP Barbara, Mattel is now back with “Hello Hello,” a full-fledged garage rock anthem ready to be blared at top volume from your nearest speaker. The fuzzy guitars and simple rhythm section might remind you of pioneers like The Strokes or The White Stripes, but Mattel makes sure to stamp the music with her own musical flourish, creating yet another example as to why the Drag Race star is quickly becoming the biggest drag name in the music industry.
Alt-pop singer-songwriter Claud has a lot to celebrate as of late — joining Phoebe Bridgers’ label roster, announcing their new headlining tour and much more. But on the introspective “Tommy,” Claud’s not in the mood for celebrating. Instead, the up-and-coming indie artist finds themselves singing about a new relationship in which they can’t help but feel like they’re not living up to the unfair standard an ex has set for them. With plaintive production and echoing vocal distortions, Claud paints a vivid portrait of what it means to be with someone while feeling as though you’re miles apart.
Donna Missal, “(To Me) Your Face Is Love”
Typically known for her stripped-down approach to songwriting and production, indie star Donna Missal is back, and this time she’s got a brand new sound. “(To Me) Your Face Is Love” finds Missal working with U.K. producer Sega Bodega to make a glitching, alt-pop confessional, in which the rising singer distorts her voice, drops in some dance beats, and makes a beeline for a moody dancefloor, as she extolls the virtuous qualities of her partner.
“It’s a love letter. I was dancing around alone a lot during this time, wanting to be around people, I wanted to make what I could dance to,” Missal said of the new single in a statement. “I was very inspired by the change in environment after so much time stationary, a time of anxiety and longing.”
Courtney Barnett, Things Take Time, Take Time
Indie icon Courtney Barnett isn’t here for the splendor — she’s interested in finding the beautiful in everyday things. This is, at least, the ethos of her latest album, Things Take Time, Take Time, a stoic collection of moody reflections on the smaller goings-on in a world of chaos. Barnett’s songwriting remains sharp as ever, whether she’s singing about the deterioration of interpersonal relationships (“Rae Street”) or just being smitten in her relationship (“If I Don’t Hear From You Tonight”). The uniting factor is simply the sort of quiet solitude Barnett emphasizes, on this fabulous album where she embraces her role as the observer.
Flowerkid, Everyone Has a Breaking Point
Australian triple-threat Flowerkid (known off-stage as 20-year-old Flynn Sant) wants you to see what it means to grow up in the world today. Everyone Has A Breaking Point, the singer-songwriter-producer’s debut EP, creates a coming-of-age legend not just for the up-and-coming talent, but for a generation of people who’ve felt overlooked and misunderstood. Brimming with anxiety, drama and top-tier song construction, Breaking Point paints an at times bleak, but more accurately comprehensive portrait of a trans kid coming to terms with himself, his identity and the circumstances surrounding him — with brutally honest lyrics, and some expert-level production skills.