2007 Year in Review: Music

Thankfully, many new acts came onto the scene including Girl in a Coma, discovered by Joan Jett and signed to her label, Blackheart Records. The rock trio released a hit video for "Road to Home" starring Amanda LePore from their debut album, Both Before I’m Gone, and were invited to open for Morrissey on his winter tour.

In April, Montreal-based electro group Lesbians on Ecstasy released their first album since 2004’s cover of famous lesbian anthems, Giggles in the Dark. We Know You Know featured a cover of Betty’s L Word theme song. Lesbians on Ecstasy performed at the Michigan Womyn’s Music Festival and toured internationally throughout the year.

Lesbians on Ecstasy

L Word actress and former Murmurs band member Leisha Hailey made a return to the music business this year with a new partner in crime, Camila Grey, to form Uh Huh Her. A keyboard/bass duo that shares vocal responsibilities, Uh Huh Her released their debut EP I See Red in July and started playing on both coasts.

Another new band with former members of influential lesbian groups is Ex-Members, comprised of ex-Butchies and Team Dresch drummer Melissa York and ex-Gerty vocalist Shirlé Hale. They released their debut EP exclusively online in the fall.

In the electro and indie scenes, lesbians staked their claim just as much as gay male and straight artists, and they were endorsed by them as well. They played main stages of festivals such as Siren Nation in Portland, Ore., Ladyfest Chicago, and Queer Fest Midwest and were critically judged based on their music rather than their sexuality by reviewers and fans alike.

Putting the Dykes on the Mic in Hip-Hop

Despite the fact that mainstream hip-hop is still largely straight, while the emerging homo-hop scene is mostly male-dominated, several lesbian MCs did release new albums featuring explicitly gay content this year.

Interracial queer couple Bunny Rabbit and Black Cracker released a hip-hop album, Lovers and Crypts, in February on indie label Voo-doo Eros (run by CocoRosie’s gay half, Bianca Casady). Hanifah Walidah remained a favorite artist on Logo, and also launched a vlog with her girlfriend, Olive Demetrius, titled U People. She is currently working on her film project of the same name, which will feature a soundtrack of songs made by women artists and DJs.

Queer hip-hop staple JenRO released her album My Window at the tail end of the year. The San Francisco-based rapper released the song "Thug Girl,” which is sure to be a hit in 2008. With her strong gay themes and tough exterior, JenRO raps with conviction: "You know you looking for a thug girl."

Seattle-based MC duo Team Gina released their debut album, Gina Gina Revolution, on Crunk’s Not Dead Records. Their video for “ButchFemme” was a YouTube favorite, as the ladies rapped about being femmes looking for butch girlfriends to court them. They went on a national tour in support of the release, including a stop in Atlanta to play at the gay arts festival, MondoHomo.

The biggest newsmaker in hip-hop and homo-hop alike this year was Yo Majesty, a duo from Tampa Bay, Fla. After playing a rousing set at South by Southwest and getting more press than most bands on major labels could hope for, Yo Majesty were hailed as the new Salt N Pepa by critics from Pitchfork to LA Weekly to Time Out London. Songs like "Kryptonite Pussy" got them signed to Domino Records this summer, home to Franz Ferdinand and Artic Monkeys.

Yo Majesty

Mainstream Inclusion

As in every other form of media, lesbians and bisexual women were a part of the music industry’s bigger picture, being featured in mainstream videos such as Dragonette’s "I Get Around," Shiny Toy Gun’s "Le Disko," Valeria’s "Girl I Told Ya," EndEverAfter’s "Baby Baby Baby" and Queen of the Stone Age’s "3’s & 7’s."

While the women in these videos exist purely as a fantasy for mostly male viewers, the inclusion of lesbian types in the videos show women together as a normal rather than secretive lifestyle. When well-known bands utilize same-sex relationships in their media, it’s a rather odd endorsement, but an endorsement nonetheless. If the lesbian characters survive unharmed and end up looking just as good in the end as they did in the video’s beginning, the mention can’t hurt.

Or, perhaps these straight artists are just gay friendly, like pop star Hilary Duff, who made mention of all the "lovely ladies logged on" to AfterEllen.com in a good will-generating video greeting earlier this year.

In 2008, look for new albums from Yo Majesty and The Dresden Dolls’ out vocalist Amanda Palmer to be big hits. Sarah Bettens will release her album Shine in the United States. The Gossip have a live album and DVD release planned and a new CD to be released by the end of the year.

Surely the artists who have made a name for themselves in both the mainstream and LGBT community will continue to be fixtures in pop culture, but there’s also room for new artists to promote themselves and prosper. Bands like Girl in a Coma and New York City’s Boyskout look to be even more promising acts in the indie world’s future. Certainly the face of the lesbian or bisexual musician has changed, and is no longer definitely that of a singer/songwriter and her acoustic guitar.

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