By Christopher Treacy
Greetings! This may be my first week at the helm of the CQ Roundup, but it’s not my first rodeo putting together a column like this. When I started writing about music, queerness was often implied but not explicitly stated in most artist submissions, throwing an extra layer of work into the process of trying to highlight our own communities in our own publications. I always felt it shouldn’t be so challenging.
In that light, it’s a thrill to be able to cut through all that noise and have a plethora of submissions to choose from, talent oozing from every corner. This week features music from Australia, Boston, Nashville and beyond. We’ve got some infectious synth-pop, a troubadour-style demo, and a new kids tune about an awesome gay babysitter. We’ve got it all! Enjoy.
Song of the Week: “Princess Mike” – The Roughhousers
[Ed. – We’re delighted to offer our readers a sneak peek at the official music video for this song – watch this space tomorrow for a Q&A with Grey DeLisle, the mind behind The Roughhousers.]
He’s a shining bubble full of glitter and a mandolin player since the age of 7? Princess Mike sounds as irresistible as the song that bears his name, brought to us by the duo of Grey DeLisle and Edward Clendening, a.k.a., The Roughhousers.
Imagined as a children’s song with a delightful, reverb-soaked, vintage country vibe, DeLisle and Clendening expertly craft a new queer hero surely to be loved by progressive parents and their kiddos. The forthcoming Roughhousers full length is all original ‘kids songs… for adults’ and features an impressive house band: Deke Dickerson (Ecco-Fonics), Carl Sonny Leyland (Big Sandy and The Fly Rite Boys), Murry Hammond (Old 97’s), and DJ Bonebrake (Founding Member of X and The Knitters)
(For the record, DeLisle is also a mighty successful voice actress—her epic list of past credits includes long runs on “Rugrats,” and “Johnny Bravo,” and a current gig on “The Simpsons”… and that barely scratches the surface. Additionally, she’s recorded a number of albums under her own name, including a loving tribute to June Carter Cash.)
“Fall Apart World” – Mary Gauthier
“I’ve got my love beside me, and I am finally home,” Gauthier declares in this, the lead track from her forthcoming album, Dark Enough to See the Stars, out June 3 via Thirty Tigers. Co-written with Ben Glover, the new single finds Gauthier in love. The ensuing gratitude is unmistakable, especially for those familiar with her body of work, which tends to revolve around difficult truths and humankind’s dark underbelly. This Gauthier, however, exudes joy for finding love in dark times, from the warm organ and piano intro to the harmony-driven chorus, she’s at her most playful. It’s a revelation.
“Heart Beats Quicker” – Little Wise
With it’s hard to resist shimmering melody set against an ethereal wash of synths and a driving, new wave-y beat, Australia’s Sophie Klein takes a step away from the folksy Americana of past releases with her new single, written with fellow queer songstress Larissa Tandy. The song celebrates the exhilaration—and inherent anxiety—of new motherhood, something both songwriters had in common when they set out to write together. Of the new song, Klein says, ““Sometimes our hearts beat too fast. We worry. We have fears. We overthink things. But our hearts, they keep on beating – and we keep on living. Sometimes we struggle, but that’s part of life.” The struggle seldom sounds quite this infectious.
“Delta Dawn” – Zack Joseph
In celebration of the 50th anniversary (this week!) of Tanya Tucker’s classic, “Delta Dawn,” Nashville-based country crooner Zack Joseph has released this cover, which he recorded at Spirit Haus, a house concert venue that he presides over. Joseph’s version is faithful to the original while spiking it with an early-rock feel thanks to his band’s use of upright bass and cracking electric guitar punctuations. There’s nothing not to like about this.
Jessye DeSilva – “10,000 Things”
Never one to shy away from uncomfortable truths, Boston-based DeSilva rallies against the noise in their head on this new mental health anthem off Landscapes, a new full length album out this week. Propelled by a brush-drummed rhythm, the song sweeps us up in its melodic twirl as DeSilva reveals their ongoing struggle with negative self-talk, something to which most of us can relate. This song was also their Tiny Desk entry for 2022.
Jackie Strano – “Queen of Amador County“
A veteran of both the American and Canadian punk/alternative scenes of yore, Jackie Strano is a versatile artist. A singer-songwriter with a butch tender/tough aura that functions just as well in front of an electric band as it does in a solo acoustic setting, Strano has been working on new music throughout the pandemic. To tide us over, they recently released a four track demo from their early aughties time spent in California, recorded in the basement of a historical south Berkeley house where the Black Panthers HQ was once located. “Queen of Amador County” is classic troubadour-style storytelling and keeps Strano’s earthy pipes front and center.
Got new music? Submit it to CQ.
Christopher Treacy has been writing about music and the music industry for 20 years. He’s contributed to The Boston Phoenix, The Boston Herald, Nashville Scene, and Berklee College of Music’s quarterly journal, as well as myriad LGBTQ+ outlets including the Edge Media Network, Between the Lines/Pride Source, Bay Windows and In Newsweekly. He lives in Buffalo, NY.