I believe it was Hans Christian Anderson who famously mused that “where words fail, music speaks” — and Lord knows the last few weeks of Australian politics have left me and countless others in our beloved community lost for words. This is precisely why I thought I’d take the opportunity to sift through the queerest playlists on the inter-web, serving up an eclectic list of LGBTIQ+ bands and musicians who inspire listeners to keep on keeping on.
1. Mykki Blanco
Describing herself as both transgender and multi-gender, Mykki Blanco has been labelled one of rap’s most promising artists — and for good reason. Not only has she proven to be an important voice through her investigative journalism, she’s collaborated with prolific queer filmmaker Matt Lambert to create this eight-minute masterpiece which tackles race, sexuality, and gender all at once.
“Being queer and female-identified only shapes our songwriting process in the way that we write based on experiences, and we share the experience of being queer females,” MUNA’s Katie Gavin explains of her group’s creative process. Indeed, Gavin, along with fellow bandmates Naomi McPherson and Josette Maskin, value their queer identity alongside their musical credibility — and it really shows.
4. Brendan Maclean
Australia’s very own uncensored queer trailblazer, Brendan Maclean is the deep-fried Mars Bar to Troye Sivan’s one scoop of vanilla ice-cream. He won a Berlin MTV Award earlier this year for his polarising House of Air music video, which had tongues wagging and housewives clasping at their pearls. He’s also a vocal LGBTIQ+ activist and remains impressively unafraid of tweeting his thoughts on Australian politics.
5. Adult Mom
6. Perfume Genius
9. Angel Haze
11. Ariela Jacobs
This Aussie songstress is on the rise, with an impressive back-catalogue of smile-stupidly-on-the-train folksy pop songs, some of which she’s generously leant to a number of Australian marriage equality campaigns. Try to see her live before she hits the big time — you’ll thank me.
12. Troye Sivan
13. Years & Years
15. Zebra Katz
17. Conchita Wurst
18. Sam Smith
This man doesn’t really need an introduction, so I won’t give him one. He’s currently in the studio, presumedly working through a fresh batch of heartbreaks. Still, he’s to be commended for bringing refusing to let his sexuality hinder his mainstream brand — and proving that queer musicians can be marketed to both teenagers and mothers everywhere.
20. Liam Gale & The Ponytails
If you’re into the local gig scene you may’ve stumbled upon the dulcet tones of the gorgeously bearded Liam Gale. He’s currently hard at work on his new album, which is due out later this year. You can keep tabs on him here.
21. Bec Sandridge
If you haven’t danced drunkenly in your bedroom to Sydney gal Bec Sandridge’s new single "You’re A Fucking Joke", well, just do it. It’s like a queer-indie version of Kelly Clarkson’s "Since You’ve Been Gone" — a bop-along break-up anthem that’ll be sure to strike a cathartic chord during the postal survey.
22. Cakes Da Killa
23. Frank Ocean
25. Against Me!
Fronted by trans vocalist Laura Jane Grace, punk rock band Against Me! has made no apologies for exploring the struggles of gender dysphoria through their music, with their sixth studio album being titled Transgender Dysphoria Blues. Check it out.
26. Lyon Hart
27. Who Is Fancy
28. Hurray for the Riff Raff
This bluesy American band is queer AF with queer-identifying singer-songwriter Alynda Lee Segarra fronting the vocals and trans fiddler Yosi contributing to the group’s much-loved folksy sound.
Despite not speaking publicly about his sexuality all that much, which TBH is totally fair enough, Kindness AKA British singer Adam Bainbridge has already collaborated with queer icon Robyn (“Who Do You Love”), which automatically earns him a spot on our list.
Queer guitarists Saara Untracht-Oakner and Glenn Van Dyke are flying the queer-flags high and proud on the rock scene, serving up some seriously nostalgic 90’s realness.