In need of some new tunes from your favorite queer artists? We’ve got you covered; Billboard Pride is proud to present the latest edition of First Out, our weekly roundup of some of the best new music releases from LGBTQ artists.
From Kim Petras’s “Unholy” follow-up to Christine and the Queens’ long-awaited new album, check out just a few of our favorite releases from this week below:
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Christine and the Queens Presents Redcar, Redcar Les Adorables Étoiles (Prologue)
Christine and the Queens is dead — long live Redcar. On the new project from the enigmatic French performer, Chris establishes a brand new persona and a brand new musical world that he’s ready to play in for the forseeable future. Redcar Les Adorable Étoiles (translated to mean “Redcar the Adorable Stars”) bears the kind of sonic flourishes fans of Christine and the Queens have come to love; namely, chunky synth patterns and lyrical themes of romantic yearning. But the performance of the songs (almost entirely sung in Chris’s native French) marks a new level of pure theatricality for the star, as Chris births an entire musical universe out of the longing feeling suffusing this album. If Redcar does nothing else (trust us, it will do plenty), it will assuredly make you interested to know more about the mysterious performer at its center.
Perfume Genius, Live at Electric Lady
Avant-pop auteur Perfume Genius is something of an innovator when it comes to live performance — even amidst the pandemic, Mike Hadreas found a way to create a one-of-a-kind concert-going experience that fans gleefully tuned into. But for those who were unable to, no need to fret — the performer’s new Live at Electric Lady EP offers just a taste of what his live show can sound like. Delivering haunting versions of tracks off of his two latest albums, Hadreas spares no instrumentation — pianos, drums, guitars, horns, violins, everything is right there with him as he offers up raw vocal performances to the audience at home. If you stick around long enough, you’ll get to hear the highlight, as Hadreas offers up an otherworldly rendition of Radiohead’s “4 Minute Warning,” translating the relatively sparse In Rainbows-era bonus cut into a serotonin-boosting symphony.
Kim Petras, “If Jesus Was A Rockstar”
It’s been a good year to be Kim Petras; along with debuting her slinky EP Slut Pop, she went No. 1 on the Hot 100 thanks to an assist on Sam Smith’s “Unholy,” becoming the first transgender solo artist to do so. Now, with her latest single, the singer is ready to bask in that spotlight just a little bit longer. On “If Jesus Was A Rockstar,” Kim keeps the the tongue-in-cheek humor that’s pervaded much of her past releases intact as she poses the titular question and delivers some soft-rock-adjacent melodies to keep the theme of the song intact.
Brockhampton, “The Ending”
As Brockhampton’s final album The Family inches closer and closer, the group is leaving nothing unsaid. On “The Ending,” the latest single off the album (due out next week), Kevin Abstract actually takes fans all the way back to the start of the group, reminiscing on days spent with his fellow bandmates before they “made it.” The soulful, looping interpolation of Willie Hutch’s “Let Me Be the One” adds a sense of melancholic nostalgia as Abstract, once again going solo on the new Brockhampton track, addresses how the band changed — money, fame and a fervid fanbase all come up as examples of the collective’s decision to call it quits. It’s a moving portrayal of a person grieving in real time with the ending of an era.
Chelsea Cutler, “Men on the Moon”
With her latest single, singer-songwriter Chelsea Cutler is leaning into her folkier side to nail the feeling of longing. “Men on the Moon” charts a path from isolation to anger, as Cutler contends with life after romance — her skills with a pen remain as first-class as ever, with lines like “It’s only war if there’s a winner” cutting straight to the crux of her pain. Her voice, meanwhile, sounds better than ever, especially as she flexes her higher range on the haunting chorus. If you’re looking to get misty-eyed this afternoon, press play on “Men on the Moon.”
The Blessed Madonna, “Serotonin Moonbeams”
Despite being 30+ years old, Suzane Vega’s classic track “Tom’s Diner” always manages to find new ways to reintegrate itself into modern pop music. The latest track to employ the song’s iconic melody also happens to be the return of a much-beloved dance icon. The Blessed Madonna’s first solo track in 5 years, “Serotonin Moonbeams” effortlessly lifts the hook’s phrasing and seamlessly weaves it into an expression of pure house euphoria. It’s the kind of sound that has made Blessed Madonna one of the most sought-after DJs currently making music, and it’s no wonder why — even with just one listen to “Moonbeams,” you’ll be hitting the replay button in no time.
Bronze Avery, “Softshell”
Bronze Avery certainly knows how to save the best for last — the final single off of his new album Softmetal (due out next week), “Softshell” is Avery’s best work in years. Melding the earworm pop that got him noticed early on with a slinking R&B-meets-singer-songwriter sensibility, the new song sounds like something fresh in Avery’s sonic universe. Add onto that the supreme songwriting, wherein Avery reconciles with a bitter end to a relationship, and you have a stellar song from a pop artist more folks ought to know about.