Jewel and Thereafter

Are you sitting down? Jewel’s Atlantic Records debut album Pieces of You was released almost 20 years ago. That’s 18 years before 2019 Grammy queen Kacey Musgraves’ trio of major-label triumphs, and a good ten years before Musgraves’ fellow 2019 Grammy-recipient (and Jewel’s fellow yodeler) Brandi Carlile’s debut album. So, how does the 12-times platinum Pieces of You (Craft Recordings), newly (and officially) released as a 180-gram double LP (officially, because Atlantic released a similar vinyl set in the 1990s) with five non-CD bonus tracks, hold up? Better than you might expect. Released in 1995, when the music world was […]

Every Day is Halloween

Forty years after John Carpenter redefined the slasher film with the original “Halloween,” that movie’s lead character Laurie (Jamie Lee Curtis) returns to take care of some unfinished business in the 2018 version of Halloween(Universal / Blumhouse), the 11th in the series, now available on Blu-ray / DVD / Digital. Under the care of Dr. Sartain (Haluk Bilginer), in a locked ward at Smith’s Grove rehab facility, “pure evil” notorious masked killer Michael Myers, who hasn’t uttered a word in 40 years, is about to be transferred to a different facility. Taking full advantage of the interest of investigative podcasters […]

Health & Happiness

We may only be a few months into the new year, but it’s safe to say that Health (FatCat) by gay singer/songwriter C Duncan will find a place on my 2019 best-of list at the end of the year. At turns gorgeous (the title track, “Care” and “He Came from the Sun”), undeniably danceable (“Pulses & Rain,” “Impossible”), irresistibly retro (“Stuck Here with You” and “Somebody Else’s Home”) and sometimes all three at once (“Talk Talk Talk” and “Holiday Home”), Health is music that is good for you. I spoke with Duncan about the album shortly before its March 2019 […]

Bohemian Rhapsodic

Rest assured that from the first moment we see Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek with prosthetic teeth) onscreen in the Oscar-nominated Bohemian Rhapsody, on the morning of Queen’s 1985 Live Aid reunion performance, he is undeniably gay. This was during Mercury’s clone-look era, complete with mustache, short and neat haircut, studded leather armband and tight, faded jeans. Gay, gay, gay. Anything you might have heard about Mercury’s gayness being whitewashed is bollocks. While there are certain charming elements that indicate how committed the filmmakers were to make this movie – the Queen-style guitar used in the 20th Century Fox intro, for […]

Origin Story

If ever there was a modern gay renaissance man, it’s John Cameron Mitchell. The actor/writer/filmmaker probably first crossed most of our radar when Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which he co-wrote with gay musician Stephen Trask, first opened off-Broadway in 1998, featuring Mitchell in the lead role. The 2001 movie version, starring and directed by Mitchell earned him both a Best Director prize at Sundance and a Golden Globe Award nomination. Other films directed by Mitchell include Shortbus (2006) and Rabbit Hole (2010), which starred Nicole Kidman and marked the feature film debut of Miles Teller. Now, more than 20 […]

Bob Mould Wants to Sunshine Rock

For fans of gay indie rock legend Bob Mould, whose solo albums have borne titles such as Black Sheets of Rain and Beauty & Ruin, the name of his latest, Sunshine Rock (Merge), might come as something of a surprise. But it’s a completely fitting moniker, especially since the sun rises in the names of four of the record’s songs. Sonically, the album is also more radiant, a deliberate shift on the part of the man also known for his previous bands Hüsker Dü and Sugar. But fear not, there is still plenty of loud, crackling guitar on Sunshine Rock. […]

Oh, What a (Queer) Year

 When it comes to LGBTQ music, the present, as well as the past and future, are female. Since the very early days of popular queer music, the women have been the ones to take the lead. While that definitely holds true for 2018, male artists are definitely making certain that they are being heard. 1) Nostalgia Kills (Pinko), Jill Sobule’s first album in four years is another masterpiece and one that deserves the largest audience possible. Living up to its title, the record is a reminder that the past is always with us and it’s up to us what we […]

Cover Stories

The concept of singer/songwriters revisiting their work in new and different settings is not an original one. Some of the most interesting include Joni Mitchell’s Travelogue, Cyndi Lauper’s The Body Acoustic, and, more recently, the Indigo Girls’ Live with the University of Colorado Symphony Orchestra. On In the Blue Light (Legacy), a new studio album that marks Paul Simon’s return to the Sony Music family of labels, the legendary artist offers “fresh perspectives” on ten of his favorite songs. That’s an important distinction, because if you were expecting to hear some of your favorites, you’ll have to look elsetwhere. Simon […]

Really Retro

Hello 1968! It’s nice to hear from you again. Coming as it did after 1967’s ambitious (and symphonic) Days of Future Past, the Moody Blues’s 1968 album In Search of the Lost Chord (Deram / UMC), reissued in an expanded 50th anniversary edition, had a lot resting on its shoulders. A thoroughly psychedelic affair – check out “Legend of a Mind” with its Timothy Leary name-check – it’s a departure in more ways than one. Regardless, the album was accessible even if you weren’t partaking in mind-altering substances. “Ride My See-Saw” is one of the band’s most popular songs, and […]

Sound Tracking

 If you make plans to go to see a movie in early November 2018, you’ll have your pick of several titles featuring queer characters, including Yen Tan’s brilliant and devastating 1985 and Melissa McCarthy playing gay in Can You Ever Forgive Me. The overt queerness of A Star is Born is either the most calculated move in recent memory or a love letter to gay fans. Yes, Judy Garland and Barbra Streisand are beloved by the LGBTQ community (and Garland’s A Star is Born was directed by a gay man), but the new version, directed and co-written by Bradley Cooper […]