By Christopher Treacy
If you’re reading this, you survived Thansgiving. Maybe you even had a good time! Well, how about them apples? It’s that time again… time for new queer tunes, that is. We’ve got all CQ Roundup newcomers this week, which is always a cool claim to make and evidence that the avalanche of talented artists in our communities is nowhere near slowing down. Enjoy!
Song of The Week: Brent Snyder – “Rhinestones & Regret”
Snyder taps right into a classic country vein on this one and the queer blood be flowin’. Channeling the vintage sounds of elder crooners like Patsy Cline and George Jones, Snyder’s ode to the Nashville Sound of a bygone era is truly music to our ears. Set against a steel-and-strings ballad produced by Kristian Veech, Snyder sings of giving in to his baser instincts and paying the ensuing emotional toll. “I’m all set with rhinestones and regret,” he tells us, struggling to get on the other side of “…the vices that take me away,” “feeding something that won’t go away.” The song beautifully frames that disquieting contrast between the things that are going well in your life and the things that aren’t, always bubbling just below the carefully constructed surface. Can the others see? A more perfect queer country 3:25 is seldom found, and we’re following it up with a Q&A that’ll run tomorrow.
FONTINE – “Homemaker”
Nobody needs to fill the roles that society tells them to. Because our romantic relationships don’t resemble heteronormative ones on the most basic levels, queer folks have always subverted nuclear family models. But the roles of breadwinner and homemaker persist, and they’re ingrained in our consciousness—you might even say they’re part of our DNA. But that doesn’t mean that they’re comfortable for us. For better or worse, many of us tend toward a freer spirit. We fought for marriage equality out of principle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean all of us are cut out for picket fences and keeping kitchen. To that end, Winnepeg-based FONTINE wrote the understated, indie-pop song “Homemaker” when they realized, “…I found myself becoming someone who I never really wanted to be, but I didn’t realize it until I really took a close look at everything from an outside perspective. And I guess the song is really about that, being stuck and losing yourself in something because it is comfortable and easy, realizing you are missing the part of you that is most important.”
With a folksy vocal line that coils and trills in all the best ways, “Homemaker” is the lead single from FONTINE’s upcoming 2023 EP, Yarrow Lover, co-produced with Kris Ulrich and mixed by Boy Golden.
William Maus – “My Body”
Short and sweet, Maus’s new single is two-and-a-half minutes of gorgeous acoustic soul set to a lyric about self acceptance and standing up to insecurity brought on by how we relate, sexually, to others. And to ourselves. “Can I be pretty?” he muses, looking for words to describe himself. Taken from his upcoming debut EP Who You’re Talking With (out December 9), Maus explains that the song, “…is the confrontation of never being able to compare to a woman. Growing up surrounded and inspired by strong women, I always struggled to identify with the men around me. Admitting the truth to myself is different than admitting it to everyone else around me.” Based out of New York but originally from Minnesota, this twenty year old newcomer will surely turn heads with his disarmingly honest songwriting. More to come.
Chelsea Silva – “Hades Has a Daughter”
“You punch me down, into the ground/I didn’t pick myself up for it to start again…”
Australian singer-songwriter Chelsea Silva’s debut single is a declaration of sorts—a cautionary tale that reminds us never to underestimate people and to avoid imposing restrictions on others based on our own, internalized limitations. Wreaking havoc, we damage people and create monsters… in the end, we become their prey. Emerging from an underworld, over which father Hades presides, Silva arrives in character, enveloped by an electronic pulse; more organic elements file into the forefront as the song progresses, creating a odd, southern gothic stew with a modern twist.
“There are people in this world that have the drive and ability to exile us,” Silva explains. “They do this by encouraging us to believe that these labels of identity do not exist in the eyes of society. This song is my unique way of saying to other LGBTQIA+ people that you are heard, you are seen, you are valid and you are allowed to exist.”
Peter Stone – “Cogs/Twigs”
“Cogs/Twigs” is a two-sided single, formatted like a 7″ record. Former Rare Occasions’ guitarist Peter Stone creates indie-folk that’s hushed… until it isn’t. Both tracks alternate between vague, impressionist stokes, slowly taking a more discernible shape and eventually bursting open. Suddenly, everything’s in a much tighter focus for a few seconds, nodding to the garage rock that their former band remains known for. Stone uses strikingly personal images to illustrate feelings of uncertainty in their relationships, creating analogies to elements of the natural world as they question and explore how they relate to other people. There’s a structure here, but it’s loose, not unlike the music of Sigur Ros. If the standard verse/chorus format seems limiting to you, check out what Stone is getting up to here.
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’s the Managing Editor for CQ and lives in Waitsfield, VT.