2008 Year in Review: Music

 
 

Hip-hop trio-turned-duo, Yo Majesty, released their
highly-anticipated Domino Records debut, Futuristically
Speaking: Never Be Afraid
in October. Lesbian Christian MCs Jwl B and
Shunda K brought both aspects of their lives to their brand of club-rap on
tracks like "Get Down on the Floor" and "Party Hardy."

Yo Majesty’s Jwl B and Shunda K

Photo credit: Karl Walter/Getty Images

Their performances at CMJ and on tour were lauded as
must-sees by critics, including The New York Times, whose acknowledgment of
them being gay was just a sidenote to their incredible talent at making an
audience laugh, dance and respect them, all at the same time.

As of late 2008, Jwl B and Shunda K continue to tour
together, but also work on separate projects, noting that they have creative
differences and might not be together for another album.

New and out on the
scene

Another group whose gayness has taken a considerable back
seat to their talent is Hercules and Love Affair.

Members Andy Butler and Kim Ann Foxman are both out, and
guest contributor Antony Hegarty is transgender. The band’s self-titled debut
album was hailed by critics as the best dance album of 2008, and the singles
"Blind" and "You Belong" reached peak positions on charts
in the UK, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Sweden, Norway and Ireland. It peaked at
number five on the Top Electronic Albums.

Leisha Hailey‘s long-awaited return to music came in the
form of Uh Huh Her, her duo with musician Camila Grey. The group’s debut, Common Reaction, was delayed release for
several months, as Leisha told AfterEllen.com, because of the unexpected buzz
the band was receiving.

The label, Nettwerk Records, decided to give it a bigger
promotional push in the summer of 2008. Common
Reaction
debuted at No. 9 on the Heatseakers chart.

Uh Huh Her embarked on two separate tours and released two
videos for singles "Not a Love Song" and "Explode."

Tegan and Sara tour-mates An Horse released their debut
album, Rearrange Beds, and also lent
their track, "Postcards" to Mercedes-Benz CLC-Class for use in
a commercial this year. Sara Quin served as their A&R rep, and out
frontwoman Kate Cooper and bandmate Damon Cox signed with mom & pop music
in the U.S.

One of the year’s biggest indie phenomenons was
Baltimore-based noise band, Ponytail. Out singer Molly Siegel lead the art rock
quartet in receiving attention from nationwide music fans who loved her Yoko
Ono-esque style of singing/screaming into the microphone.

Ponytail’s 2008 album, Ice
Cream Spiritual
, was only 33 minutes in length but the single,
"Celebrate the Body Electric," was 7 minutes long.

Molly Siegel (far left) with Ponytail band mates

Band photo credit: Frank Morgan

Pitchforkmedia.com rated the album 8.4 out of 10, and said
of Siegel’s spastic vocals: "Listening to her, I think of John Cage’s
quote about poetry taken to its logical extreme: She has nothing to say and she
is saying it. Loudly. And with a sense of joy that’s nothing short of
infectious."

Other groups with lesbian members that released albums in
2008 were Sick of Sarah, New Bloods, Bound Stems, and The Organ.

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