Portland is a music town, so while 2012 saw a plethora of amazing LGBT-fronted albums across the nation, we are lucky enough to be able to give you a “best of” from a smaller local pool. So here are the top five album releases of the year (leaving a little wiggle room for honorable mention) from people you might run into at the grocery store.
For the number 5 spot we’re giving a three-way tie to some EPs that are promising listens in anticipation of 2013 LPs.
5. Mattachine Social – Nice is the New Punk Rock
These post-punk electronic band members were some of Just Out’s first interviewees and they are as engaging speaking as they are on stage. With an eclectic lineup and colorful fashions, Mattachine Social plays music that is fun while still having feeling and style.
Magic Mouth – Believer
New indie darlings Magic Mouth have also been featured in these pages. Having just returned from a tour with world famous Stumptownies, The Gossip, the crowd seemed to love their steamy male vocals with raucous rock background as much as the headliners (who are, perhaps, Magic Mouth’s R&B influencers). Lead vocalist Stephan’s soulful tenor blends perfectly with intense drums and strings on their introductory EP to create a new gay gospel.
Boy Funk – Keep Portland Queered
Down and dirty hip-hop funk pop has plenty of color both visually and lyrically. He puts on a fun and sexy show that only makes you feel a little uncomfortable (in a good way) just like his first recently release video for “Pop It on the Porch” which may just be the next dirty sexy Portland anthem.
4. Logan Lynn – Tramp Stamps & Birthmarks
His danceable beats with upbeat tunes have landed him praise such as “the new Golden boy of electro-pop.” To me, the darker lyrics behind these quality gay club anthems give dance floor debauchery a message and meaning.
3. Damon Boucher – Superfag
It’s amazing the kind of raw rap energy that can come out of this unassuming skinny white dude. Ok, so maybe it’s the dark beats behind him in contrast with just some straight up spitting, but it works for me. Portland queers are all about new combinations, unexpected juxtapositions, and brilliantly original cultural recipes, and Boucher works that chemistry well.
2. Corin Tucker Band – Kill My Blues
Sleater-Kinney veteran Corin Tucker’s new project released its first album two years ago. The self-dubbed mom rock was a far cry from Tucker’s roots and a little too tame for my taste. But this year the rock is back, grown up as it may be. Their new collaborative process has also made for a soothingly Pacific Northwest sound reminiscent of a 90s heyday.
1. Gossip – A Joyful Noise
I have to admit that I am a fan, but only because every single record of the Gossip’s since 2006’s Standing in the Way of Control has knocked it out of the park. This year’s Joyful Noise is no different. When I heard “Perfect World” last spring, Beth Ditto’s sultry voice remained as powerful as it has ever been with a slightly more electronic edge to her usual rock background. The synthesis worked. From the whimsical “Get a Job” to the inspirational “Move in the Right Direction,” The Gossip remains every bit the badass rock’n’rollers as they ever were while continuing to grow.
Honorable mention: Reynosa (7”)
It may only have two songs, but the record single released this fall from Reynosa is a welcome departure from the typical Northwest indie fare. With a queer punk take on Cumbia and a combination of other Latin styles, the trio of ladies have a great ear for how to take traditional songs, like the 1960s Peruvian cumbia/Chicha song “Cariñito,” and make them contemporary and fun to listen to. Expect a lot from these cowgirls in 2013.
About Alley Hector
Alley Hector is proud to be a Q, a PDXer and Just Out's Editor-in-Chief.