The Hidden Cameras
(Evil Evil/Motor Music)
Sounds like: Joel Gibb’s one of the coolest and smartest queer musicians on the face of this earth; his first in five years is the best outstretched EP of the year (snaps).
Free association: It’s true—he’s heavily quoted calling his music “gay church folk.”
For fans of: Perfume Genius x Pet Shop Boys + Xiu Xiu, Sufjan when he comes out, art gays.
Transgender Dysphoria Blues
Sounds like: Even if queerness and emo aren’t welcome in your punk music, Laura Jane Grace is a hero of in-your-face resiliency in an overtly masculine world.
Free association: A punk rock world in which gender transformations are welcome!
For fans of: Refused + Hot Water Music, Hedwig and the Angry Inch x Rise Against, Kinsey acceptance.
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything
Sounds like: The seventh from the constantly-morphing cousin of Godspeed You! You Black Emperor delivers bigtime on their dark, rich dirges of controlled chaos.
Free association: They take themselves a little less seriously than GY!BE, so they’re better.
For fans of: Nirvana/Deerhoof/Minutemen x Spiritualized, Explosions in the Sky, 10-minute tracks.
Held in Splendor
Sounds like: One of the most refreshing bands of the 2010s delivers the promising sophomore that they had in ‘em, a beautifully weird n’ trippy opus of psych rock.
Free association: Sometimes it feels more ‘70s than the predecessors they clearly admire.
For fans of: Byrds/Mamas & Papas x Espers + Mirah w/ Islands, San Francisco, ponchos and LSD.
Sounds like: Neige, aka Stephane Paul, goes more delicate and shoegazey than before, drifting lazily and beautifully further away from dark, black metal.
Free association: The Frenchness makes it all seem a lot less threatening. Merci, monsieur.
For fans of: Deafheaven x Air, My Bloody Valentine tempered with Young Prisms, ambient metal.