It's a well-established fact that North Texas is abundant with talent coming from all different walks of life. And it's no question that some of the artists currently in the local spotlight are LGBTQ. To some, this might not be a big deal, but we are in Texas after all, where marriage licenses are still being denied despite same-sex marriages being the law of the land.
The truth is, the queer community has been an influential force in Texas music for generations. So, we decided to put together a quick list of acts that are doing their part to make this state a little brighter. And while they might not represent the local music community or the LGBTQ community as a whole, we think it's important to shine light on these artists to show what Texas culture is really about. So, without further ado, here are five local LGBTQ bands that you should check out.
Dezi 5 is the self-proclaimed “black Freddie Mercury of Dallas.” A product of Deep Ellum, his music is inspired by house, pop, R&B, soul and new jack swing. He's been performing across the country for years, but it's only recently that he's been seeing more attention in the music industry. His latest hit single “Lose Control” is a truly magical tune, with an infectious beat and hypnotic lyrics to boot. It's the kind of song you want to play when you want to go out to dance your butt off on a date with that special someone. At his live shows, Dezi uses his outstanding dance moves and futuristic fashion sense to give the crowd something to really groove with. Later this year, he'll be releasing his album Crucifixion on the Dance Floor on Art Peña's new Vice Palace label.
For fans of: Lady Gaga, Diplo, Elton John, Grace Jones and Queen
A project of Julie McMendrick and Andrew Chauffer, Vulgar Fashion is a duo of musical force that has graced the local venues of DFW-Denton for several years now. Chauffer's heavy walled mix of intense synth vibrations and McKendrick's wails and cries create a truly dark yet strangely comforting atmosphere. Their sound is a pulling gravitational force of emotions, wrapped in a shroud of fuzzed out beats. With songs like “Pact With the Devil” and “Krystal Tears,” the unbroken passion in their music really descends into darkness while at the same time maintaining some kind of a fun club vibe. Even though they've been playing the same core set of songs, each one is great in its own right. They haven't played many shows recently but you can still catch them playing their live sets from time to time.
For fans of: Dark wave, night yachts, the Devil
“Psyhdelic goth” is the sound that spouses Heather and Lars Larsen use to describe their lo fi bedroom project Wiving. Rightfully so, they play a role in shaping the musical landscape of Denton. Lars once played in the epic industrialesque group, the Undoing of David Wright, who were a big deal about a decade ago. Heather's calming croons behind Lars' retro beats have a real New Order meets Type O Negative kind of feel. And with songs like “Secret Garden” and “Borg Queen,” the musical couple really give off a real goth vibe to justify this. While they currently don't have any official releases, you can check out the songs on their Soundcloud, where the description writes that they will “kidnap you, take all your shit and throw you in a moss covered cell in an ancient forest dungeon.” What more could you ask for?
For fans of: Joy Division, New Order, Goth culture, dungeons
While they don't exactly fit the “queer” stereotype, Bukkake Moms definitely have songs about being queer. They've been playing around DFW for about four years now and have put out several releases. The music, if you want to call it that, is heavy no- wave noise-punk notched up to 11. Their latest album, The Chronic, is a testament to their noisy, no wave-inspired sound. It follows a slew of other releases, including the Gay Caves EP and my personal favorite, Philophical Pervsion that contains “Into Bears,” a real queer anthem in its own right. Their live shows are really something else, as frontman Reece McClean has a kind of fragile but brilliant persona backed by the blatantly loud combination of double guitars, two basses and keen drum work played by Beth Dodds. They're really an integral part of Denton music today. And while the band has changed dramatically over the years, it's good to know that this band keeps frattin' hard.
For fans of: DNA, Mars, Contortions, Primus, blatant and loud perversion
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Pearl Earl really are one of the most fun local bands to look out for this summer. Their Karaoke Superstar EP already appeared on our list of Best Dallas-Forth Worth Albums of 2015, and deservedly so. Their righteous psychedelic rock set them apart from other bands of their type by the brilliance of Ariel Hartley's shimmering guitars, Stefanie Lazcano's driving bass and Bailey Chapman's precise drumming. The title track for the EP is the kind of song that gets stuck in your head after listening to it just once over. It's '60s-style rock that isn't too polished but still has a humph to it. Groovy. Other songs like “Head Up” and “Sunluck” are as enigmatic as they are bubbly, not to mention uplifting if you're in the mood to go on a magic carpet ride in the mind.
For fans of: 13th Floor Elevators, Shonen Knife, the Sonics, anything from the Nuggets compilations