Queercore was a punk slap in the face to the conservative mainstream music of the '80s. Now, the genre is a movement that is far from slowing down.
Phoenix is filled with important LGBTQ bands, but homophobia (as well as transphobia, racism, sexism, and other -isms) still permeate the community. The mere existence of queercore music in these scenes is powerful, and their music offers representation and a safer space for the LGBTQ performers and fans.
These groups are far from the only queercore outfits in the Valley, but here are a few of our favorites.
Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries
Originally from Fresno, California, Fatty Cakes and the Puff Pastries are a Cottonwood-based indie-pop outfit with a femme punk sound that's reminiscent of the B-52s and Le Tigre with a lyrical focus on body positivity.
"When I started Fatty Cakes as a solo project, it was a lot about taking back," says lead singer Amber Fargano. "Taking back my fat identity, taking back a lonely childhood, taking back my queer identity as a young, lost, fat femme."
Street Burrito is a relatively new artist, but the folk-punk performer sees her work as something that doesn't necessarily fit the definitions of what queercore music is.
"I don’t think being queer automatically turns your art into queercore, but it’s certainly a good first step," says frontwoman Alice Jacques. "I came out as a trans woman earlier this year, but before that, I was (or at least appeared to be) a man singing about men I’ve dated, which made me feel like the songs could accurately be described as queercore. Now that I’ve come out, I've accidentally made my songs 'straight.' To me, queercore is generally about the identity politics of being queer as well as a critique on how society views the queer community."
Lovechild of Melancholy
Lovechild of Melancholy are the kind of melodic garage punk band that focuses on lyrical reflections on queerness, and they strive to radiate the culture at their performances.
“A lot of our music is written without an explicitly queer ‘theme’ in mind,” says frontwoman Amelia Cian Seer. “As artists, we're able to give a voice to the hardships and stress of being a queer individual, even when our songs are about more specific personal experiences.”
We have to bring up The Pübes, who have played in the Valley for years. The trio sound like Sleater-Kinney with muddier guitars and a little stand-up comedy thrown into their sets.
"The Pübes are a release of lady magic," guitarist Baretta Lynn told us a few years back. "Some people go to the gym or run a marathon, some people collect stamps, and we drink beer and write songs about cameltoe. It’s our workout."
Boycott's album Pansy is described by the band as "genre-bending and unapologetically queer tunes." They merge queercore concepts with party-ready funk that is very, very difficult not to move to. Their upcoming single "Don't Wear Dresses" will be released via Spotify shortly.
"I feel like the Phoenix scene is becoming more inclusive," says vocalist Kaleb Hargous. "It's definitely going to take more time, but with every step in my gorgeous shiny dress, I feel like I'm helping those that will come after and are here now ready to share their story."
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