LGBTQ Artists' Vinyl LPs to Check Out

Sammy Rae & The Friends perform on March 1 at Miami Beach Bandshell. Photo via Sammy Rae Music, Facebook.

In a year when the abundance of music by LGBTQ artists is needed more than ever, the following vinyl LPs are sure to please almost everyone on your shopping list for any time of the year.

When it comes to Sufjan Stevens, and his recent, official coming out, you could say the signs were there all along. I mean, what straight man could possibly write a song about serial killer John Wayne Gacy and his victims, and make it as gorgeous and chill-inducing as “John Wayne Gacy, Jr.” (from 2005’s “Illinois”)? Would a straight man have been able to create a song as sensitive as “Mystery of Love,” Stevens’ Oscar-nominated tune from the gay film “Call Me By Your Name?” Additionally, the theatricality and the costuming (have you seen those wings?) of his live performances were among the least subtle hints. So, Stevens’ coming out in October 2023, at the time of the release of his masterwork “Javelin” (Asthmatic Kitty), featuring the dedication to his late partner Evans Richardson (who died in April), feels less like a surprise, and more like a confirmation. As for the music, it’s everything we’ve come to expect from Stevens, and more. From the alternately exquisite and jarring opener “Goodbye Evergreen,” to the lush choral vocals on “A Running Start” and the potential hit single pop of “Will Anybody Ever Love Me?,” Stevens continues to merge queerness and faith. It’s a daring move, considering the way the worship community continues to relentlessly pummel us, but it obviously works for him. Other worthwhile moments can be heard on “So You Are Tired,” “My Red Little Fox,” and “Shit Talk.” Additionally, the 48-page book of Stevens’ artwork and essays is not to be missed.

There are many people who can’t live without live albums. Remember, Peter Frampton’s “Frampton Comes Alive” is one of the best-selling albums of all time. When you hear the crowd’s reaction on “Follow Me Like The Moon,” the opening track on the double LP “Live: The If It All Goes South Tour” ( by Sammy Rae & The Friends, it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement. Led by queer singer/songwriter and first-rate belter Sammy Rae, the band draws on a wide range of influences over the course of the 13 tracks (as well as the five bonus tracks available via QR code). Most notable (and queerest of all) is the song “Jackie Onassis” (not to be confused with the Human Sexual Response song of the same name), which Sammy Rae describes as “a love song to all young women.”

Sammy Rae & The Friends perform on March 1 at Miami Beach Bandshell.

From the same fertile ground that gave us R.E.M., Pylon, Let’s Active, Swimming Pool Q’s, Oh-OK, and, of course, the B-52’s, Athens, GA’s Love Tractor was part of that bumper crop. Unlike the aforementioned bands, Love Tractor made its name mainly by performing instrumental rock, with an Athens accent. To commemorate the 40th anniversary of 1983’s “Around The Bend” (Propellor Sound/DB Recs), the album has been remastered and reissued on limited edition orange and white swirl vinyl, making it the musical equivalent of a Dreamsicle. Led by out gay member Mark Cline, Love Tractor put an easily recognizable, jangly Athens spin on its sound, something that comes through strongly on “Highland Sweetheart,” “Pretty,” “Cutting Corners,” “J.E.B. Pharoahs,” and “Timberland.”

If anyone deserves to be named an honorary queer, it’s Cindy Wilson. An original member of the queerest band of all time – the B-52’s, Wilson released her first (and long-awaited) solo album “Change” in 2017. In many ways, it was a departure from the sound we’ve long associated with Wilson. For the astounding follow-up “Realms” (Kill Rock Stars), available on vivid turquoise vinyl for the first pressing, Wilson invites us to the club, and we’d be fools not to join her. Album opener “Midnight” is an irresistible dance track that is far too short. We want more and we want remixes. The electro-vibe continues on “Delirious,” “Overboard,” “Daydreamer,” and “Blossom.” There are also unexpected moments of beauty on “Realms,” including “Not Goodbye” and “Hold On.” “Realms” is so good, that you might want to wrap one up for yourself.

Almost everyone has a relative or friend on their gift list whose musical taste borders on being questionable. Without casting aspersions, if that person’s interests run towards blistering speed metal cross-bred with grunge, then “Find Out” (MNRK Heavy) by Seattle’s Filth Is Eternal could be their cup of limited edition 180-gram “milky clear vinyl.” Led by Lis Di Angelo, who uses they/them pronouns, the members of Filth Is Eternal have been active in the LGBTQ community for years. Hard and heavy, although not as sludgy as its name might suggest, 13 of the 14 songs clock in at well under three minutes and, once the initial shock wears off, can be kind of catchy. Like the flu.


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