Connect with us

Music & Concerts

FALL ARTS 2016: Albums

Against Me!, Idina, Etheridge and more have fall albums ready




new music, gay news, Washington Blade

Out singer Rachael Sage releases ‘Choreographic’ on Oct. 28. (Photo courtesy Matrix Management)

New music releases are generally sparse during the summer and then pick up dramatically during the fall months when record labels traditionally unleash some of the year’s most exciting offerings. This year proves no exception, as the calendar is jammed with a great roster of diverse new releases that should generate plenty of anticipation for fans of just about any musical genre.

The latest from Against Me!, featuring transgender vocalist Laura Jane Grace, is “Shape Shift With Me,” due today (Sept. 16). Look for her memoir “Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout” Nov. 15.

Today also brings new releases by British electronic duo AlunaGeorge, “I Remember”; South-African hip-hop combo Die Antwoord’s ‘Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid”; Mac Miller with “The Divine Feminine” and the latest by R&B superstar Usher, “Hard II Love.”

Vocalist extraordinaire Idina Menzel will release her first non-holiday studio album since 2008 when “Idina” drops on Sept. 23. The same date brings a new album by Kristin Chenoweth, “The Art of Elegance”; “Natural Causes” by the talented pop vocalist Skylar Grey and the second album by 18-year-old Canadian sensation Shawn Mendes, “Illuminate.”

September 30 brings the long-awaited new album by the quirky and amazingly gifted pianist/singer/songwriter Regina Spektor, “Remember Us to Life.” Also due on the 30th is the latest from Bon Iver, one of the critics’ favorite artists of recent years, who returns with “22, A Million”; alternative icons Pixies’ second post-reunion studio album, ‘Head Carrier” and fast-rising singer/songwriter Banks with “The Altar,” featuring the single “Fuck With Myself.”

Some of the key new albums due in October include the latest by the long enduring punk-pop trio Green Day, who return Oct. 7 with “Revolution Radio,” the band’s first album in four years. Due the same day is the latest from LGBT icon and musical legend Melissa Etheridge, “Memphis Rock and Soul,” a tribute to the Stax record label. Also slated for Oct. 7 are new releases by acclaimed electro-indie duo Phantogram, OneRepublic, Norah Jones and a 20-year retrospective collection by influential British alternative rockers Placebo, “Place for Us to Dream.”

Electro pioneers the Orb are back on Oct. 14 with “Chill Out, World”, along with the latest by the Naked and Famous, “Simple Forms”; pop vocalist JoJo’s “Mad Love” and the extraordinary jazz saxophonist Donny McCaslin with “Beyond Now.”

Superstar crooner Michael Bublé is back with “Nobody But Me” on Oct. 21, which will feature a duet with pop star Meghan Trainor. Hair-metal survivors Bon Jovi, still a massive global concert draw, is back on the 21st with “This House is Not For Sale.” Also that day, gay-friendly gospel singer Amy Grant will release “Tennessee Christmas.” Despite the title cut (a song from her first holiday record in 1983), this is an all-new collection of recordings, her first such effort since 1999.

Pop sensation Tove Lo will unleash “Lady Wood” on Oct. 28, along with the latest by acclaimed lesbian artist and OUTmusic Award winner Rachael Sage, “Choreographic” and Australian electronic pop duo Empire of the Sun with “Two Vines.”

Upcoming releases already announced so far for November include the latest by Danish indie-popsters Efterklang, “Leaves — the Colour of Falling,” Nathan Sykes, former member of British boyband the Wanted, with “Unfinished Business,” trippy electronic pioneers Enigma with their first album in eight years, “The Fall of a Rebel Angel,” the first new rock album by Sting in 13 years, “57th and 9th” and the veteran heavy metal supergroup Metallica with “Hardwired … to Self-Destruct.”

There are plenty of other upcoming releases widely expected to land sometime this fall but without official release dates. The big one is the first solo studio album by Lady Gaga since her largely panned 2013 release “Artpop.”

Others include rapper 50 Cent with “Street King Immortal,” Azealia Banks with “Business and Pleasure,” a new studio album by pop/hip-hop hit makers Black Eyed Peas, the latest by iconic pop diva Christina Aguilera, a new batch of harmonic California pop from Haim, “Digital Distortion” by Iggy Azalea, a new release by dance/pop legend Kylie Minogue, the latest by rapper Wiz Khalifa and a string of new rock albums by heavy-hitters such as U2, Soundgarden, the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, the Offspring, Nine Inch Nails, Modest Mouse, Metric, Lush, Incubus, Guns N’ Roses, Brand New, Avenged Sevenfold and Linkin Park.

The big upcoming archival release this fall is coming from the massive catalogue of the late David Bowie. Last year Bowie announced a series of career-defining box sets that will ultimately represent the definitive library of his amazing and historic catalog, all remastered and presented with top-notch quality and attention to detail. “Five Years: 1969/1973” hit last fall and covered his albums from “Space Oddity” through “Pin-Ups,” along with live albums and a batch of rarities.

The highly anticipated second in the series hits on Sept. 23. “Who Can I Be Now? (1974–1976)” is the first posthumous set in the series, as the legendary superstar died in January shortly after his 69th birthday. The new set will start where the last one left off, including deluxe remastered versions of classic albums like “Young Americans,” “Diamond Dogs,” and “Station to Station.” Perhaps most intriguing is the previously unreleased studio album “The Gouster,” which Bowie eventually shelved. After extensive reworking it morphed into “Young Americans.”

new music, gay news, Washington Blade

Laura Jane Grace and her band Against Me! return with ‘Shape Shift With Me,’ their follow-up to 2014’s ‘Transgender Dysphoria Blues.’ (Photo by Jason Thrasher)


Music & Concerts

Musical icons and newer stars to rock D.C. this spring

Brandi Carlile, Bad Bunny, Nicki Minaj, and more headed our way



Brandi Carlile plays the Anthem this month.

Bands and solo artists of all different genres are visiting D.C. this spring. Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will team up to perform at the Wolf Trap in June, and girl in red will play at the Anthem in April. Some artists and bands aren’t paying a visit until the summer, like Janet Jackson and Usher, but there are still plenty of acts to see as the weather warms up. 


Brandi Carlile plays at the Anthem on March 21; Arlo Parks will perform at 9:30 Club on March 23; Girlschool will take the stage at Blackcat on March 28.


Nicki Minaj stops in D.C. at Capital One Arena as part of her North American tour on April 1; Bad Bunny plays at Capital One Arena on April 9 as part of his Most Wanted tour; girl in red performs at the Anthem on April 20 and 21; Brandy Clark plays at the Birchmere on April 25; Laufey comes to town to play at the Anthem on April 25 and 26. 


Belle and Sebastian play at the Anthem on May 2; Chastity Belt performs at Blackcat on May 4; Madeleine Peyroux stops at the Birchmere on May 5; The Decemberists play at the Anthem on May 10; the rock band Mannequin Pussy performs at the Atlantis on May 17 and 18; Hozier plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on May 17 as part of the Unreal Unearth tour. 


Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight will sing soulful melodies at Wolf Trap on June 8; Joe Jackson performs at the Lincoln Theatre on June 10; the Pixies and Modest Mouse are teaming up to play at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 14; Maggie Rogers plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 16 as part of The Don’t Forget Me tour; Brittany Howard headlines the Out & About Festival at Wolf Trap on June 22; Sarah McLachlan plays at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 27; Alanis Morissette performs at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 29 and 30

Continue Reading

Music & Concerts

Grammys: Queer women and their sisters took down the house

Taylor Swift won Album of the Year



When the late, great Ruth Bader Ginsburg was asked when there will be enough women on the Supreme Court, her answer was simple: Nine. She stated: “I say when there are nine, people are shocked. But there’d been nine men, and nobody’s ever raised a question about that.” RBG did not attend the Grammy’s last night, but her spirit sure did. Women, at long last, dominated, ruled and killed the night.

Cher, in song a decade ago, declared that “this is a woman’s world,” but there was little evidence that was true, Grammy, and entertainment awards, speaking. In 2018, the Grammys were heavily criticized for lack of female representation across all categories and organizers’ response was for women to “step up.”

Be careful what you wish for boys.

The biggest star of the 2024 Grammys was the collective power of women. They made history, they claimed legacy and they danced and lip sang to each other’s work. Standing victorious was Miley Cyrus, Billie Eilish, SZA (the most nominated person of the year), Lainey Wilson, Karol G, boygenius, Kylie Minogue and Victoria Monét. Oh, yes, and powerhouse Taylor Swift, the superstar from whom Fox News cowers in fear, made history to become the first performer of any gender to win four Best Album of the Year trophies.

In the throng of these powerful women stand a number of both LGBTQ advocates and queer identifying artists. Cyrus has identified as pansexual, SZA has said lesbian rumors “ain’t wrong,” Phoebe Bridgers (winner of four trophies during the night, most of any artist) is lesbian, Monét is bi and Eilish likes women but doesn’t want to talk about it. Plus, ask any queer person about Swift or Minogue and you are likely to get a love-gush.

Women power was not just owned by the lady award winners. There were the ladies and then there were the Legends. The first Legend to appear was a surprise. Country singer Luke Combs has a cross-generational hit this year with a cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” When originally released, the song was embraced as a lesbian anthem. When performing “Fast Car,” surprise, there was Chapman herself, singing the duet with Combs. The rendition was stunning, sentimental and historic.

Chapman, like many of the night’s female dignitaries, has not been public with her sexuality. Author Alice Walker has spoken of the two of them being lovers, however.

The legend among legends of the night, however, was the one and only Joni Mitchell. Not gay herself, she embodies the concept of an LGBTQ icon, and was accompanied by the very out Brandi Carlile on stage. On her website, Mitchell’s statement to the LGBTQ community reads, “The trick is if you listen to that music and you see me, you’re not getting anything out of it. If you listen to that music and you see yourself, it will probably make you cry and you’ll learn something about yourself and now you’re getting something out of it.”

Mitchell performed her longtime classic “Both Sides Now.” The emotion, insight and delivery from the now 80-year old artist, survivor of an aneurism, was nothing short of profound. (To fully appreciate the nuance time can bring, check out the YouTube video of a Swift lookalike Mitchell singing the same song to Mama Cass and Mary Travers in 1969.) In this latest rendition, Mitchell clearly had an impact on Meryl Streep who was sitting in the audience. Talk about the arc of female talent and power.

That arc extended from a today’s lady, Cyrus, to legend Celine Dion as well. Cyrus declared Dion as one of her icons and inspirations early in the evening. Dion appeared, graceful and looking healthy, to present the final, and historic, award of the night at the end of the show.

Legends did not even need to be living to have had an effect on the night. Tributes to Tina Turner and Sinead O’Conner by Oprah, Fantasia Barrino-Taylor and Annie Lennox respectively, proved that not even death could stop these women. As Lennox has musically and famously put it, “Sisters are doing it for themselves.”

Even the content of performances by today’s legends-in-the-making spoke to feminine power. Eilish was honored for, and performed “What Was I Made For?,” a haunting and searching song that speaks to the soul of womanhood and redefinition in today’s fight for gender rights and expression, while Dua Lipa laid down the gauntlet for mind blowing performance with her rendition of “Houdini” at the top of the show, Cyrus asserted the power of her anthem “Flowers” and pretty much stole the show.

Cyrus had not performed the song on television before, and only three times publicly. She declared in her intro that she was thrilled over the business numbers the song garnered, but she refused to let them define her. As she sang the hit, she scolded the audience, “you guys act like you don’t know the words to this song.” Soon the woman power of the room was singing along with her, from Swift to Oprah.

They can buy themselves flowers from now on. They don’t need anyone else. Cyrus made that point with the mic drop to cap all mic drops, “And I just won my first Grammy!” she declared as she danced off stage.

Even the squirmiest moment of the night still did not diminish the light of women power, and in fact, underscored it. During his acceptance of the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award, Jay-Z had a bone to pick with the Grammy voters. He called out the irony that his wife Beyoncé had won more Grammys than any other human, but had never won the Best Album of the Year. Yeah, what’s with that?

But then, it brought additional context ultimately to the fact that the winner of the most Grammys individually … is a woman. And to the fact that the winner of the most Best Album of the Year awards … is a woman.

Hopefully this was the night that the Grammys “got it.” Women are the epicenter of The Creative Force.

Will the other entertainment awards get it soon as well? We can hope.

Most importantly, in a political world where women’s healthcare is under siege. Will the American voters get it?

A little known band named Little Mix put it this way in their 2019 song “A Woman’s World.”

“If you can’t see that it’s gotta change
Only want the body but not the brains
If you really think that’s the way it works
You ain’t lived in a woman’s world

Just look at how far that we’ve got
And don’t think that we’ll ever stop…”

From Grammy’s mouth to the world’s ear.

Continue Reading

Music & Concerts

Janet Jackson returning to D.C, Baltimore

‘Together Again Tour’ comes to Capital One Arena, CFG Bank Arena



Janet Jackson is coming back to D.C. this summer.

Pop icon Janet Jackson announced this week an extension of her 2023 “Together Again Tour.” A new leg of the tour will bring Jackson back to the area for two shows, one at D.C.’s Capital One Arena on Friday, July 12 and another at Baltimore’s CFG Bank Arena on Saturday, July 13.  

Tickets are on sale now via TicketMaster. LiveNation announced the 2023 leg of the tour consisted of 36 shows, each of which was sold out. The 2024 leg has 35 stops planned so far; R&B star Nelly will open for Jackson on the new leg. 

Jackson made the tour announcement Tuesday on social media: “Hey u guys! By popular demand, we’re bringing the Together Again Tour back to North America this summer with special guest Nelly! It’ll be so much fun!”

Continue Reading

Sign Up for Weekly E-Blast

Follow Us @washblade