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DJ: Hello and welcome to another episode of Feel Me Flow! Today marks an historic day in American history, as for May 17th, 1990 was the day the WHO took homosexuality off of its International Classification of Diseases. After the official IDAHO Committee pushed a grass-roots campaign, the first officially recognized IDAHO was May 17th, 2005. In honor of the hard work put in by that committee, and of all the LGBT community, we are going to celebrate and stand up against hate. We’re going to play songs about LGBT rights, songs from LGBT activists and members, songs about dressing in drag, and protest songs against homophobia. Many of the songs we’ll hear contain some foul ass language, but I can assure you none of it is malicious. Come, let us rejoice in celebrating all humankind, and showing the hate-filled beings of this planet that we are all just meat, regardless of who we love.
As Booker T. & The M.G.’s carry us in, let’s kick things off with a classic tune about being seduced by someone that “walks like a woman and talks like a man”. L-O-L-A Lola…
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DJ: On “The Ocean” from Against Me!’s 2007 LP New Wave, Laura sang “And if I could have chosen, I would have been born a woman. My mother once told me she would have named me Laura.” 5 years later Tom Gabel would announce his transition beginning and ask to be called Laura Jane Grace. We heard “Transgender Dysphoria Blues” from the 2014 album of the same name.
Sleater-Kinney and Bikini Kill both roared out of the late 80’s Pacific Northwest music scene. The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA has produced artists like Kathleen Hannah, Corin Tucker, Carrie Brownstein, some of the G.L.O.S.S. members, and even Macklemore (who we’ll hear later). Sounds like a great place to go to school for someone seeking solace in life. “Call The Doctor” from the album of the same name is said to be about conversion therapy, and being “fixed” for being gay. Thank goodness the WHO proved to the world it wasn’t an illness!
“Rebel Girl” would go on to be an anthem for the riot grrrl movement, and finds Kathleen proclaiming the song’s subject as the “queen of her world”. Joan Jett would produce and sing backup on the single recording of this track.
Hozier’s “Take Me To Church” played after “Lola”. A mega pop hit for the Irish singer, he would go on to expound on the lyrics as a “song that was a protest against any organization that used its authority to infringe on people’s sexuality”.
In 1992, Michael Franti‘s project The Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy put out one album of industrial politically charged hip-hop. He would eventually go on to form Spearhead and achieve worldwide success, but let’s listen to this early 90’s track “Language Of Violence”.
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DJ: I’ve also danced in a lesbian bar in an industrial zone and it was a fantastic time! Thanks for the Busch Lite, Kasey! Jonathan Richman hails from The Modern Lovers, a proto-punk folk group that put out one album in 1976. The songs for that album were actually recorded 4-5 years earlier and a few were overseen by John Cale. This track was from his 1992 solo album I, Jonathan.
Before Jonathan, we heard Manitoba prairie punks Propagandhi doing “Homophobes Are Just Pissed ‘Cause They Can’t Get Laid” (haha) from the original Fat Wreck Chords compilation; Fat Music For Fat People. Mixing comedy with human/animal rights issues, the band continues to impress with their convictions and straightforward message. When my wife read Chris Hannah’s excerpt in the Supporting Caste liner notes likening animal consumption to cannibalism, she decided to start her path on vegetarianism. Keep up the good fight, guys.
Speaking of a fight, antagonistic punks G.L.O.S.S. (Girls Living Outside Society’s Shit) fired things up with their namesake tune “G.L.O.S.S. (We’re From The Future)”. The band was only active for about 2 years but was incredibly impactful and pioneering in the trans-punk genre. I’d love to get my hands on their debut EP, which has this track on it.
Protest folk punk Billy Bragg’s most successful chart hit was “Sexuality” off of his 6th album, 1991’s Don’t Try This At Home. Billy has been very vocal in his left-leaning political views and reflects them in his lyrics. His early work featured just him on an acoustic-electric guitar; great folk rock!
Alright, let’s hear Kele Okereke lead Bloc Party in their single “Banquet”.
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DJ: Last week we played Dum Dum Girls doing a Smiths cover. This week we’re playing Crocodiles doing “Groove Is In The Heart/California Girls”. Crocodiles lead singer Brandon Welchez is actually married to Dee Dee from Dum Dum Girls. Two great garage rock/noisy lo-fi bands.
Before that super-chill cover of Deee-Lite and The Beach Boys, we heard Elton Motello doing the original version of “Ça Plane Pour Moi”, the Plastic Bertrand hit (Crocodiles covered it too!). I’m sure you recognized the tune, just maybe not the lyrics. Miami radio station WIOD was fined $10,000 by the FCC for playing the song on the air, acting on a complaint from Jack Thompson. Jack has picked obscenity fights with the early 90’s rap community, video game companies, and radio stations. The guy even sent a cease and desist letter to the creators of Mortal Kombat claiming that the game was illegally profiting on his likeness because gamers could use the Kreate-a-Fighter option to make a character who looked like him. Get off of it, Jack.
Lou Reed, a champion of androgynous rock and roll, played us the lead track from his LP Transformer, “Vicious”. Lou would spearhead the androgynous rock movement with David Bowie and Mick Jagger in the 70’s; not to mention Marc Bolan from T. Rex.
Prince, another famous androgynous figurehead, preached about “Controversy” in his 1981 album of the same name. Hard to believe that song came out in 1981.
Bloc Party led the set with “Banquet”. Lead singer Kele Okereke came out in 2010; he also just released a new single last week, check it out!
Speaking of all this androgyny, The Barbarians are going to ask what every long-haired hippie was asked in the 60’s and 70’s, and what anyone who looks semi-androgynous these days gets asked; are you a boy or are you a girl?
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DJ: The Growlers, our favorite Beach Goth rockers, gave us “Gay Thoughts” from their 2015 EP of the same name. It sounds like someone was giving them gay thoughts as well? Ba-doom-tiss!
Rise Against’s Tim McIlroth was so moved by the It Gets Better Project, he wanted to get involved and write about it. The campaign was started by author and activist Dan Savage in September of 2010 in response to the suicides of teenagers who were bullied because they were gay or because their peers suspected that they were gay. The movement is still growing and has been recognized by countries all over the world. The song comes from the band’s 2011 LP Endgame.
Bob Mould led Hüsker Dü back in the 80’s Twin Cities punk scene. He was outed in a Spin magazine interview in the 90’s but surprisingly didn’t get too riled up over it. After Hüsker Dü broke up, Bob sobered up and put out a couple of solo albums before starting Sugar. After three albums with Sugar, Bob went back to the solo musician life; we heard “I Don’t Know You Anymore” from 2014’s Beauty & Ruin.
Fellow Twin Cities punkers The Replacements gave us “Androgynous” from their amazing record Let It Be. Often regarded as the band’s best work, Let It Be would go on to place highly on all-time greatest records lists and become incredibly influential. Artists from Joan Jett to Crash Test Dummies have covered the piano tune.
At the height of their popularity, The Barbarians were touted as America’s answer to The Rolling Stones. Ha. “Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?” was a minor hit for the band, but after the second single “Moulty” failed to keep steam, the band broke up in 1967. “Moulty” was the nickname of Victor Moulton, the band’s drummer. He had a hook for a left hand.
Speaking of hooks, let’s get into some more tunes. Here’s Electric Six with “Gay Bar”.
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DJ: Electric Six first made waves when their debut single “Danger! High Voltage” was rumored to have Jack White on backup vocals. Multiple sources spread the rumor. It wasn’t until an interview with guitarist Surge that we found out it was just a fan who had entered a contest. I remember that rumor, it was tagged on mp3 sharing sites as “Electric Six & Jack White”. “Gay Bar” would be the second single from that same album, Fire.
After that, we heard Green Day and NOFX give us two tunes about dressing in women’s clothing. Green Day’s “King For A Day” comes off of their 1997 album Nimrod. The album would go on to sell over two million copies, most likely due to the success of the acoustic hit “Good Riddance (Time Of Your Life)”. This song preceded that hit on the album.
NOFX’s Fat Mike has apparently been dressing in drag since 13, and just now was comfortable enough to sing about it. “I’m A Transvest-lite” comes from their 2016 LP First Ditch Effort. Good for you, Mike. We don’t care what you wear, just keep putting out stellar records!
Wayne County (now Jayne County) & The Electric Chairs played their boogie blues shock jam “(If You Don’t Want To Fuck Me, Baby) Fuck Off”. Talk about confidence! The track comes from their 1978 EP Blatantly Offenzive.
Closing the set was The Magnetic Fields with “Andrew In Drag”. Led by Stephin Merritt, an “openly gay atheist who wears only brown clothing“, the lo-fi band once released a 3 volume concept album titled 69 Love Songs. It was pressed on 6 10″ records and sold as a box set. That’s a lot of songs, Stephin.
I once uttered this next song title in a real-life situation after a break-up. Here’s Reel Big Fish.
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DJ: Reel Big Fish kicked off our last set with an ode to an ex who started dating women. “She Has A Girlfriend Now” comes from their breakthrough album Turn The Radio Off. Ahh, the second wave of ska. Those were good times, especially for the bands like the Bosstones and Reel Big Fish who were able to capitalize on it.
A band that is absolutely anti-capitalization is Leftöver Crack. We heard their unity-driven crust-ska song “Gay Rude Boys Unite”. Lead singer Stza takes his name from the Supreme Alphabet of the Five Percent Nation (just like Gza and Rza of Wu-Tang). It translates to Self Truth ZigZagZig Allah. After Choking Victim disbanded, Stza formed Leftöver Crack as a way to record leftover Choking Victim songs; hence the band’s name. They released their debut LP Mediocre Generica on September 11th, 2001, and after the day’s events would release Fuck World Trade three years later featuring the World Trade Center attack on the cover.
Pavement’s Stephen Malkmus started The Jicks almost immediately after Pavement broke up in 1999. We took “Cinnamon And Lesbians” from their 6th LP, Wig Out At Jagbags.
Susto released & I’m Fine Today in March of this year, and we’re of the opinion that it’s an under-the-radar best of 2017. We played “Gay In The South” from the alt-country style LP. Wrapping up our IDAHO set was an anthem for the legalization of same-sex marriage.
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis achieved massive success with the release of 2012’s The Heist. “Same Love” is the quintessential song a population needs to help push through the hatred that plagues too much of the human race. In the words of Macklemore, “No freedom til we’re equal, damn right I support it.” We’ll see you next time on Feel Me Flow. Much love!