Looking for new music? This exclusive AE playlist features two of the best songs from ten artists who haven’t gotten nearly the attention they deserve. While some of these musicians do not identify as lesbians per se, they are undoubtedly women-loving-women who DEFINITELY got into music in part to woo the ladies. Which names are unfamiliar to you on this list? Tell us who you like!
British duo Cash+David is fronted by singer and guitarist Liz Lawrence (who is launching an exciting solo career of her own). As one of electro-pop’s best kept secrets, Cash+David layers shockingly sweet lyrics over funky-fresh beats. When You’re Lonely is a *Certified Bop* and my most listened to song of 2018. In “Adore,” she sings “I adore the shape, the sight, the sound of you […] I want more than just the outer shell of you.” Their music videos feature longboarding babes, which seems pretty gay to me. But wait! In this interview, she calls out her girlfriend.
Three-woman girl group MUNA is confident in their poppy, autotune-tinged sound. Big breakups, big crushes, big WTFs— MUNA is the lesbian soundtrack of our messy lives. “In My Way” is a love song to your tried-and-true hookup. She’s that special person you may not be in love with, but still love deeply. “I’m your girl even when I’m not your girl…. Even if it doesn’t all go my way.” Mainstream artists should take notes—MUNA effortlessly delivers on indulgent radio pop but injects unexpected drops, layered melodies, and poetic lyrics.
British, beanie-wearing Shura is a pop queen. Short of stature but towering in sick guitar riffs, Shura delivers on atmospheric R&B excellence. On her previous album she seemed to shy away from explicitly mentioning being gay, but on her newly dropped forevher, she can’t seem to shout her lady love loud enough. Proud of ya, sis. I can’t decide which I like more, her music or her hilarious, dorky interviews.
Known primarily as the singer of The Internet, Syd’s solo music gives you the hot and heavy R&B jams you deserve. Whether in the club or the bedroom, you’re gonna want to celebrate the sweetie in your life. “Body,” a fairly stripped down track, is intensely intimate and beautifully constructed. Sexual tension embodied, its mounting drumline flutters like a heartbeat while Syd croons sweetly in your ear.
After a video calling out Kanye on his bullshit went viral, 22-year-old hip hop artist CHIKA has taken off. With accolades (and follows) from major celebrities, her Instagram page is bumpin’ with original content—CHIKA wants to bring the genre back to its roots, rapping about real issues and things that matter. After only a year of dedication since dropping out of college, she has only a couple songs on Spotify, but they’re polished and smooth right out of the gate. She doesn’t mention liking women much, but says her music is “queer since she’s queer.” Plus, she transformed an Ed Sheeran song to be about Pride.
Blazed beats take us through the life of the modern woman. Rapping soulfully in Watercolor Roses, Ness gives us some firmly feminst lyrics, “I do it for my momma’s momma’s momma. I do it for my daughter’s daughter’s daughter.” Then, clocking in at a tight 2:12 (and basically being one long metaphor for pussy), Gucciprada slaps HARD. At the time of this writing, it has only 5,000 plays (400 of which are mine). It’s hard for me to understand how someone so talented is still so unknown, so let’s give our girl some love.
Bedroom pop sensation Claud (formerly Toast) sings a lot about sexual orientation. While Claud technically identifies as non-binary, Wish You Were Gay is a song we can all relate to. We’ve all had that straight best friend we daydream of being more with. In an interview, Claud talks about being a role model, saying “I have a small platform, but it’s bigger than most, and I feel really fortunate because I think as a queer person I have a lot to say, and there’s a lot of people who need to hear it.”
Art School Girlfriend
When asked to describe her music in the form of a Tinder bio, UK’s Polly Mackey responded, “slow and electronic with overtones of longing and undertones of gay.” Without a doubt, her trance-like melodies pull listeners achingly forward, like an unstoppable magnetic chemistry. In “Diving,” I appreciate the explicitness to name the sex of her crush “Do you want me? Does she want me?” No beating around the bush there.
Rituals of Mine
LA-based Rituals of Mine is a direct musical descendant of Terra Lopez’ original project Sister Crayon formed over 10 years ago. Downtempo R&B meets 90’s trip hop, this is the kind of haunting, contemplative yet aggressive music you play at 2am when thinking about your exes. Lopez’ song BURST has been described as, “a direct metaphor for defeating the obstacles as a queer woman of color in the industry.”
Romy Madley Croft of The xx
The xx’s sweeping instrumental song “Intro” has a whopping 300 million plays, but we’re here for singer and guitarist Romy, who rocks the goth-country look so well it hurts. On The xx’s most recent album, she has several truly tender songs. In Brave For You, with a shaking voice, she sings about losing her parents, while Test Me is an anthem of fighting with those you love the most—in this case bandmates—and coming out the other side. The first half of the song is carried almost entirely by her voice, and then breaks down into a lush cacophony of guitar wails and reverb voices. I get chills each time.