Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 12 / 22 March 2018

Grizzly sounds


Print this Page
Send to a Friend
Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on MySpace!

There may be some Grizzly Bear fans who will struggle with the more accessible (read: commercial) sound of Painted Ruins (RCA/Grizzly Bear Music), and that's to be expected. Ever since openly gay frontman Ed Droste released the first Grizzly Bear album Horn of Plenty as a solo artist before being joined by band members Daniel Rossen, Christopher Bear and Chris Taylor, there has been an ongoing evolution of sound from lo-fi to chamber pop and even inclusion in TV ads, giving the band some of its greatest exposure. In a way, it makes sense that Grizzly Bear's first album for a major label would have a more wide-reaching musical appeal, even if the lyrics remain somewhat obscure. "Mourning Sound," "Three Rings," "Aquarian" and "Neighbors" could easily earn Grizzly Bear an even larger following.

You may be familiar with LP as a performer of her own songs on albums including 2001's Heart Shaped Scar, 2004's Suburban Sprawl and Alcohol, or 2014's Forever for Now . Or you may recognize her as Laura Pergolizzi, songwriter for other artists including Christina Aguilera and Rihanna. Either way, you don't want to miss her fourth full-length album Lost on You (Vagrant/BMG). Aside from opening with "Muddy Waters," featured in the devastating season four finale of Orange Is the New Black, it's easy to understand why LP chose to record these songs herself rather than share them with others. She raises the roof with the stomping "No Witness," explores her inner dance diva on "When We're High" and "Up Against Me," cuts deep on the emotional "Switchblade," and deserves to have her own hits with songs including "Death Valley," "Strange" and "Other People."

To this day, there are at least two musical genres, jazz and hip-hop, in which LGBTQ artists are still well in the minority. To be fair, that is changing rapidly thanks to artists such as Gary Burton, Patricia Barber, Lea DeLaria and Andy Bey in jazz, and Frank Ocean, Thee Satisfaction and Big Freedia in hip-hop.

We can now add out performer Tyler, the Creator to the queer rapper roster, especially due to the frankness of his buzzworthy new album Scum Fuck Flower Boy (Columbia). The most cited line, "I been kissing white boys since 2004" from "I Ain't Got Time!," is especially notable given that just a few years ago, Tyler was considered homophobic due to the number of slurs he spat on his 2011 debut disc Goblin . Similarly, "Garden Shed," with its references to "hiding" and a "garden shed for the garcons, and feelings that I was guarding," is making an unexpected but welcome statement. Of course, time will tell how the hip-hop world will respond and the impact it will have on Tyler's future creations.

Gay pianist and composer Fred Hersch's new album has the fitting title Open Book (Palmetto), as it's being released at the same time as his memoir Good Things Happen Slowly. Four of the seven tracks feature Hersch's piano interpretations of the Benny Golson classic "Whisper Not," Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Zingaro," Thelonious Monk's "Eronel," and even Billy Joel's "And So It Goes," which rounds out the disc. The original compositions include "The Orb," "Plainsong" and the album's epic centerpiece, "Through the Forest," which clocks in at almost 20 minutes.

Follow The Bay Area Reporter
facebook logo
facebook logo
Newsletter logo
Newsletter logo
ISSUU logo