Thursday, June 19, 2008

queercore galore

This is a mirror of a post I did in my fandom journal. (Only now, with pictures!) Whole lotta queercore. If you grab anything, please comment. Thanks.


I had this post written two weeks ago, but I kept dragging my feet on actually uploading the music. So! Here it is! Finally!

Queer punk, aka queercore, aka homocore:

This post owes a big debt to Pansy Division (and the links on their website), the Outpunk label and compilation LP, Spitshine Records, Heartcore Records and the book Homocore by David Ciminelli and Ken Knox, all of which/whom introduced me to most of this music. Also, much gratitude for Wiki's entries on queercore and the various artists here.

And now, the music.


Pansy Division: There's a good chance you're already familiar with Pansy Division. They're probably one of the most visible queercore bands. (Opening for Green Day back in the '90s didn't hurt.)

Pansy Division started out playing funny punk songs about fucking. Low-brow, goofy, rough-edged, crass, and sweetly catchy. Their songs can sound kinda similar, but I honestly can't bring myself to care. They're one of my favorite bands.

- I'm Gonna Be A Slut
- Horny In The Morning - Sometimes I like to say Pansy Division song titles in either a Bertie Wooster or a Jeeves voice. ...What? I make my own fun.
- Flower - I like this cover better than the Liz Phair original.

Later, they decided to do some all-out pop tunes:

- When He Comes Home - Upbeat guitar-pop where the singer's basically saying, "Hey, dude, you cheated with me, but come clean to your boyfriend and tell him what's up." If this song weren't gay, it'd be on the radio.
- No Protection - Disco about safe sex.
- Scared To Death - Witty cowpunk. Great lyrics.
- He Whipped My Ass In Tennis, Then I Fucked His Ass In Bed (Radio Edit) - More raucous cowpunk. I actually think it's funnier censored, so that's the version I'm offering here.

All of those songs come from their album Total Entertainment!, which is full of gooey pop melodies and fun, witty lyrics. The guys really developed lyrically as they went along. (Okay, some of you might think a band that starts out with songs like "Horny In The Morning" has nowhere to go but up, but... um... shut up. That's my witty retort. You can't go wrong with "Horny In The Morning," man.) [$$]


The Outnumbered - Jon Ginoli's band before he formed Pansy Division. Not queercore as far as I can tell, but included for the curious. More mellow than Pansy Division and with less humor.

- You Need A Babysitter - God, I hope this doesn't describe my post-graduation life.
- I Feel So Sorry Now [$$]

Team Dresch and Tribe 8 were two important lesbian queercore bands, and two of the most visible from the queercore movement. While I generally consider any punk band that sings primarily about queer issues to be queercore, the actual "movement," such as it was, seemed to be a burst of bands that formed in Olympia, around the same time (and place) as riot grrrl*.

Now, both these bands aren't really my thing, sound-wise. But you might like them.


Team Dresch - Very '90s indie-rock/punk. Soft/loud dynamics, floaty girl vocals and melodies laid over heavy guitars. (I clearly know jack-all about music, so that's my best attempt at explaining it.) Not as slick as Pansy Division, but most people aren't going to punk and indie for slick, so.

- She's Crushing My Mind - The soft/loud dynamic thing in full force, here.
- Hand Grenade - A little more hooky and melodic.
- Song For Anne Bannon - Hey, that girl's looking at my butt! / Wait, is that a girl or a boy or what? Also, they rhyme "intimidation" with "lesbian experimentation." :D

*(Off-topic digression: It blows my mind, the interconnectedness of these musical movements that, in some ways, vary wildly in sound. Queercore was intertwined with riot grrrl was intertwined with twee was intertwined with grunge and punk and DC hardcore. Kathleen Hannah knew Ian McKaye and Kurt Cobain, Kurt Cobain dated Tobi Vail and had a K Records tattoo, apparently... As a good friend of mine says, "mind = blown." I mean, when I think "Nirvana," I don't think "twee." Generally. It's weird. And kind of cool. The two Washingtons, skipping through indie-rock hand-in-hand. Or something.)

After Team Dresch split up:

Davies Vs. Dresch - Donna Dresch formed this band. (She also created Chainsaw Records.)
- My Friend Is My Hairstylist - The floaty vocals over the heavy guitars, but a little more intense, speedy and slick.

- Jody Bleyle formed Family Outing, for whom I can find no website and no songs and no nothin'...

- The Butchies - formed by Kaia Wilson.


Similar in sound to Team Dresch, but also a bit slicker. I'm still undecided on The Butchies as a whole, but I love these two songs:

- Trouble - Driving, mostly-upbeat rock with a dark undercurrent and a catchy, alt-rock hookiness.
- Your Love - The Butchies transform Outfield's '80s pop hit into a softly sung, restrained ballad with a quiet power. If you love this kinda thing, then here you go. If you hate this kind of thing, I know exactly how you feel, and I'm telling you: download it anyway. Alternaprom slowdance song of your dreams.

Before The Butchies, Kaia did a solo album as Kaia, and before Team Dresch, she was in a band called Adickded. And if I had any songs from either of those projects, I'd give them to you. Kaia also co-created Mr. Lady Records, which is a label all you Le Tigre fans are probably familiar with.

[if you like team dresch et. al., give 'em some money]


Tribe 8 - Dirty, rough, unabashed punk. This stuff is fast and loud and it's not pop. I generally like my punk more melodic, so it's not totally my thing. But they were important to queercore, they've got a cheeky, raunchy sense of humor, and apparently, at shows, they used to have straight guys fellate the frontwoman's dildo. That alone gets props from me. So, if you like L7, or if you prefer your punk peanut butter unmarred by gooey pop chocolate, here's some Tribe 8.

- Butch In The Streets
- Manipulate
- Wrong Bathroom - About how, if you're gender-non-conforming, sometimes you can't even take a piss in peace. Love the horns.
- Prison Blues - Exactly what the title says. Totally different sound from the previous song. The lead singer's rough vocals enhance the mood. [$$]

I didn't have any Tribe 8 before making this post, but knew I'd be remiss if I didn't include them. So I leapt into Soulseek... and one of the people sharing them had them in a playlist called, "The Revolution Is My Fuckbuddy." FTW, soulseeker. FTW.

And now, onto bands that haven't got quite the same amount of attention (in my experience):


Extra Fancy - One of the bands that got closest to the mainstream (they signed to Atlantic) before getting dropped and shunted into obscurity. Frontman Brian Grillo was the only gay member, and he didn't really embrace the queercore label, but the songs dealt with queer themes and issues. More rock than punk.

- Imitating Angels - Cover of a song by The Nymphs. Driving, intense, dark-sounding -- no idea why it wasn't all over '90s modern rock radio. Oh yeah, homophobia, probably. The Nymphs' Inger Lorre sings back-up, as does Exene Cervenka of X, and she sounds fantastic.

- Sinnerman - Traditional song given the rock/punk treatment.

- The Nymphs' original version of "Imitating Angels," in case you're curious.)

Brian Grillo's since gone solo and does acoustic stuff: Democracy [$$ // $$]

Best Revenge - Jangly, rough-around-the-edges punk with poppier melodies than the above stuff, and boy-girl dueling vocals.
- Sacrifice - There are some powerful lyrics hiding in this excellent, upbeat little punk song: No, I won't be the one / to make you more human / and I won't be a martyr for your hate or a victim of your gun ... No, I won't be the one / you leave tied to the fence / And I won't be the headline / on your page of news events.
- Used To Be
- 15 (live) [$$]

Best Revenge's Ryan Revenge also made two other bands, The Exit Plan and Terrazzo, both of which played Best Revenge-esque rough, poppy punk. Might appeal if you like Go Betty Go and The Soviettes:

The Exit Plan
- Channel Zero - My favorite song out of the Best Revenge-spin-off bands offered here.
Political Shakeup

- Off You Go - Second favorite.
- Sneak Attack
- Stand My Ground [$$]

Crowns On 45 - Past Tense - More indie than punk. Female-fronted. Might like if you're into Dead Girls And Other Stories, Coach Said Not To and... I don't know. [$$]

Winterbrief - Days Outdoors II - Electronic, not punk, but they're on a queercore label. Amateurish but fun and catchy. [$$]

Iamloved - Never Forget - Best Revenge-esque. Not my thing, exactly, but you might like it. [$$]

Skinjobs - Burn Your Rainbow - Slick, poppy punk/alt-rock with fun "woo-woo"s in the background. The anthem for Gay Shame? [$$]

Kevin Cahoon & The Ghetto Cowboy - Kevin Cahoon, to my knowledge, is a Broadway actor; I'm pretty sure he's played Frank N. Furter, Hedwig, and one of the hyenas in The Lion King, and probably a lot more.
- Doll - I fucking love this song. Pure pop punk, anthemic chorus. The fact that this isn't all over the radio is a crime. I found this song via LOGO's music videos. He's a gay artist that says the word "fag" in the song, in a reclaiming sense. And LOGO censored it out. WTF, LOGO?! [$$]

Maris The Great And The Faggots Of Death - Yes, this band is real. Think GWAR. Only, with drag queens. Fucking ridiculous. I kind of love that they exist, even though the music is not exactly something I play a lot.
- Fuck You If You Don't Like Rock 'N Roll - They rhyme "down on your knees" with "pull out your wee-wees."
- All The Cutest Boys Are At The Hardcore Shows [site]

Gayrilla Biscuits - Now, I don't listen to a lot of hardcore. So maybe these guys are secret geniuses and I just don't know it. But I have them filed in a folder labeled "hilariously bad queercore" and I had to share. Apparently, they're doing sort of a Weird Al, Only Gay treatment to hardcore songs. (Which, you know, yay! Hardcore's just not my style.)
- Be Gay
- Spray It On My Face - ...on second listen, these guys actually aren't that bad.
- I Can't Believe You're Not Gay - These are all apparently from an album called, Hung Queens Can Suck It. <3

Limp Wrist - another band in the "hilariously bad" folder. As I refresh my memory by listening to them now, I think that, unlike Gayrilla Biscuits, they really do deserve to be there. BUT, FOR YOUR EDIFICATION:
- You Ain't That Fierce - Theme for people tired of Christian Siriano?
- I Love Hardcore Boys / I Love - So far, none of these songs crack the minute mark. You can't say it's not punk, baby.
- Recruiting Time - Best title ever?

Mukilteo Fairies - Featured one of the dudes from And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead. This site (which looks awesome, btw) describes them as grindcore -- fast, loud, super-short, with male shrieking -- and I actually kind of hate 'em more than Limp Wrist, if such a thing is possible. But if you are mad for Jason Reece, here is some Mukilteo love. Tell your friends.
- Oly Latent Boys
- Closet Check
- Crush Crusher - Boys Fuck Rock Stars
- Heavy Into Brett
- Boyfffriend - Why so many mp3s of a band I can't stand? Because apparently this shit is rare. Seriously, go grab your friends into And You Will Know Us By... I don't want this all to go to waste. I'm deleting these after I upload.
- Who's Been Fornicating In My Bed
- Taken Advantage
- Four-Letter Love - See what happens when one of your members ends up in a hip art-rock band? I plaster a shitload of your old band's songs up here, even though I find them unlistenable, on the off-chance this will please a random hipster. (Either that, or I'm just OCD.) C'MON, GUYS FROM LIMP WRIST. JUST MAKE A HIP ART-ROCK BAND. THIS, TOO, CAN HAPPEN FOR YOU!


Now, after music I hate -- music I love.


The Open Mouths - These Brits appeared on the scene recently, made only one LP (which is out of print), a split-7", and then broke up. Making me very, very sad, because I love them to bits and pieces.

Think Pansy Division, but mid-tempo pop/rock/new wave instead of punk. Catchy tunes. Smart lyrics. Good, solid pop songs. I love them so much. Come back, Open Mouths!

- Sex Change Regrets - Exactly what it says it's about.
- False Positive - Biting lyrics about a guy's lost weekend.
- Frisco - The Pansy Division-gone-pop-i-est of them all. Sad, pretty, mid-tempo jangly ballad with a great hook to it.
- Razzle Dazzle - Another solid pop song. I go back and forth on whether or not this song's got some biphobia going on, which, if so, is not cool... but like I said, I'm not sure, so draw your own conclusions. [myspace]

The lead singer has since formed a new band called Metro Boulout Disco, an electronic outfit. MySpace is here.

Outpunk Dance Party - Outpunk Records - 1995

An out-of-print compilation put out by the now-defunct Outpunk Records. Normally, I don't share albums in their entirety which is pretty goddamned hypocritical of me but since it's no longer available legally, here you go. I love this album. It's rough. It's amateurish. It's weird. But when I was falling into a zombie-like stupor at my temp job, this snapped me out of it right quick. And it's fun.

1. Intro
2. Mukilteo Fairies - Queer Enough For You (.m4a) - The only Mukilteo song I like. It lives in my Alarm Clock application with the rest of my hardcore.
3. Power Snatch - Booty Go
4. Sister George - Handle Bar
5. Double Zero - Pacer (.m4a) - I'm not into screaming. And I'm not into S/M. But somehow, I love the hell out of this punk song that's essentially just lesbians screaming about S/M, spanking and genderfuck roleplay. Dark and not melodic, but weirdly catchy.
6. Swine King - All Broke Down
7. CWA - Chickenhawk (.m4a) - Goofy lesbian sex rap.
8. Pansy Division - I Can't Sleep - Classic punk Pansy Division.
9. Hyperdrive Kittens - Rock 'N Roll Drag Queen (.m4a) - Sweet, jangly, rockabilly-tinged tune. One of my favorites.
10. Jolt - Rise
11. Sta Prest - Nelly Strut / Suspiria - This is some weird shit. (Yep, that song title's a reference to the film. Or so I assume.)
12. Tribe 8 - Oversize Ego - Halfway through, this morphs into a cover of Devo's "Girl You Want," and then back into the original song.

And here's CWA's other song, Only Straight Girls Wear Dresses - more goofy, explicit lesbian sex rap about not judging a book by its cover.

BTW: I have been trying to find other stuff by the Hyperdrive Kittens with very little luck. (I found one other song off one of the "All Kindsa Girls" compilation, but a girl was doing lead vocals, so I don't know if it's the same band or not.) So, if you've got any and you wanna share, please let me know.

And, since I'm gonna be uploading for the rest of my life anyway:

Queer country:

Mark Wiegle - These Lips Of Mine (Made For Suckin' You) - Leatherdaddy crooning about blowjobs.

Devin & The Straights - Fantastic country group. Just so, so solid. Highly recommended.
- Why Don't You Be A Man - Up-tempo break-up ditty.
- Used To Being - Mid-tempo break-up ditty. Are we sensing a theme? Great voice, great lyrics.
- Boys Behind Me - Another fast one. Devin is mining that relationship angst. Okay, guys, I'm shite at describing music in general, and even shittier at describing country music, plus I'm low on sleep. Just take my word for it.

I don't listen to a lot of hip-hop, but there is queer hip-hop out there. While I don't have very much, I can point you to some resources.

Scream Club - Love 'em. Great voices, fun lyrics, pretty vocals on the hook.
- And You Belong

Deep Dickollective - I Am - Just good.

Sugar Truck Recordings
Gay Hip
Phat Family
Out Hip Hop blog
Tori Fixx
Miss Money
God-des and She - Have liked what I've heard.



cris said...

Incredibly awesome post.
thank you!!

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