Disclosure: The gay interview

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Guy and Howard Lawrence, the brothers who make up the duo Disclosure.

English dance prodigy duo Disclosure isn’t simply aware that club music is steeped in queer culture; they’re inspired by it. The Grammy-nominated duo, brothers Howard and Guy Lawrence, is still lighting up the charts with songs off their debut, Settle (recently released as a deluxe edition), which, according to its creators, leans heavily on the unique gay roots found in house music.

Makes sense, then, that they’re getting their groove on with Madonna. If chummy Instagram photos with the legend are any indication, presumably they’ll be working with the icon on her next album. Word broke after our Chris Azzopardi spoke with Guy for this gay press exclusive (Howard couldn’t be reached for our scheduled interview, so like a good brother, Guy stepped in for him last-minute). Though he didn’t acknowledge Madonna at the time, the 23-year-old did reveal what other pop icon he’s drunk in love with: Beyoncé. And more news since the interview? Disclosure will bring a DJ set to Dallas this December as headliners of the EDM festival Lights All Night.

Dallas Voice: How much has the gay community influenced your sound?  Guy Lawrence: Honestly, the history of the music that we take influence from, like house and garage, obviously originated in gay clubs like The Warehouse in Chicago and Paradise Garage [in New York City]. I don’t go to gay clubs now, but I feel like gay clubs just seem to be very forward-thinking, in terms of music anyway, and they’re always pushing boundaries. If you look back at the last 25 years or so, they’re playing the most original, creative stuff.

The gay community is often recognized as having its finger on the pulse. You hear people say we know when something is gonna be big before it actually is. From what I’ve seen, I would agree. I don’t only look to the gay community for where I’m gonna go next, but generally, London is such a step ahead of most places in the world musically, especially with dance music. Wherever we travel, producers and DJs are always looking at London and the UK to see what’s coming up next. That’s really why I love living here. We just have such a great buzzing young producer community going on over here — it’s such a good vibe.

You say you don’t go to gay clubs much now, but it sounds like you have. Was that for research purposes?  I used to go to Brighton a lot. It’s on the south coast of England, a five-minute drive from where I used to live. It was cool — there’s a big gay community in Brighton. I can’t really remember which were gay clubs or not, but it didn’t really matter — there was always great DJs playing at them. I used to drive down there and there was definitely some research involved. When I was really into dubstep and grime and that kind of thing, I’d go down and slowly but surely everyone started playing house music and garage music. It was just a really good place to go out, especially when I was just turning 18 and wanting to learn about dance music, where it came from and the history. It was the perfect place for that.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

WATCH: The latest Beyoncé video

SingleladiesIt’s disturbing how well this synchs up (even though, as well all know, Lovey is definitely not a single lady).

One question: Since there are only seven castaways, and three are onstage and three are in the audience and one is introducing the act …. who pulled the curtain open?

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Super Bowl, meet gay bar

SashaFierceLast night I went to the Dallas Eagle to watch the Super Bowl.

Or so I thought. I figured, hey: Leathermen … Levi’s … there was even a chili cook-off and rugby players there that night. Should be a good place to see the game.

Well, it was also Trash Disco Night. And guess what won out?

During the final minutes of the first half — when Ravens QB Joe Flacco threw to Jacoby Jones for a 56-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-10 (Jones beat Chris Culliver of the 49ers — the asshat who insulted gays in sports last week) — I cheered … and was the only one.

It was OK, I predicted — when halftime starts, the gays will pay attention. And they did. Sort of.

The space in front of the TVs was never more crowded with watchers than during Beyonce’s appearance, and when the rest of Destiny’s Child showed up, there were squeals, even though management kept the sound turned down while “Brick House” played on the dance floor. (At least we had closed captions.) One of the funniest things? The gay guys who sat aghast at Beyonce’s gyrating in a revealing costume. “Don’t kids watch this?” one said to me. “This seems a little risque for them.” “It’s a little risque for me,” I said.

I went home around the time of the blackout and actually flipped between the Super Bowl and Downton Abbey for a while … mostly staying on Downton Abbey. Hey, I love me men in tight pants, but the Dowager Countess calls …

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

Does Frank Ocean’s coming out mean more for hip-hop or for the LGBT community?

July has already been a momentous month for the LGBT community. Anderson Cooper didn’t so much come out as officially confirm that he identified as gay early in the week. Then, for some July 4 fireworks, Odd Future member Frank Ocean candidly talked about his past relationship with a man in a telling Tumblr post. A lengthy letter that was heartfelt and poetic (while never using the “g” or the “b” words) left no doubt that Ocean has come out of the closet as a member of the community — and as a bona fide hip-hop star.

There has been speculation on Ocean’s sexuality recently on blog buzz reviews about his upcoming album Channel Orange. MTV reported that he had openly used “him” in many of his songs which had been picked up on by those reviews. Ocean’s clearly in a more comfortable space, but could it be lost on the LGBT community?

—  Rich Lopez

If you like it build a museum to it, Houston may get Beyoncé monument

I'm sure the plans for the failed 555 ft "Spirit of Houston" statue are still in a drawer somewhere. Just make it more bootylicious and put a ring on it.

Hometown heroes have always been honored with monuments; from Hannibal, Missouri’s Mark Twain Museum to Cleveland’s memorial to President Garfield, from Atchison, Kansas’ Amelia Earhart museum, to Concord, Ohio’s John Glenn historic site. Pity Houston! Which scion of our fair burg will rise up from the shackles of obscurity to clasp the liberty of immortality that only a dedicated monument can bring?

Beyoncé Knowles, that’s who, at least according to two men who skyped with Fox 26 and are expecting the Mayor to endorse their plans any day now. Steve White and Marcus Mitchell of Armdeonce Ventures say they want to honor the newly minted musical mother with a “statue or museum.” According to Mitchell,

““Our biggest thing is a lot of people get honored when they die, so our goal is to why not honor people why they’re still here? We felt as though it’s her time to be honored. We wanted to construct, like, a massive hall so as the doors open, if you donated to the monument, you’ll have a separate nameplate.”

Armdeonce Ventures has offices in Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston according to it’s website. The Beyoncé Monument is the only project currently listed on the site.

Watch the Fox 26 interview with the visionary twosome after the break.

—  admin

2011 Year in Review: Music

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THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING ERNEST | Chillwave specialist Ernest Greene of Washed Out turned ‘Within and Without’ into 2011’s best album — no matter what Adele thinks.

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

You could say 2011 was the year of the superstar. Already-superstars Gaga, Beyonce and Britney dropped new albums confirming their status, while Nicki Minaj and Katy Perry became ones following the continued successes of 2010 discs. Kanye and Jay-Z teamed up to watch the throne and beardos Fleet Foxes and Bon Iver followed up their debuts with dreamy, though sometimes confusing releases.

Ultimately, it was Adele who ruled, leaving all others in the dust with an exercise in modern torch songs and declarative hits — so much so, she and 2011 are now practically synonymous.

But not exclusively. A few others made an impression on smaller fronts — and big ones, too. Each of the following resonated either through a chill groove or a strong beat, and ultimately made 2011 easy on the ears.

1. Washed Out, Within and Without What Ernest Greene does with this chillwave release is somewhere between a dream and astral projection. Each track floats in your ears as wonderful bubbles of music that are airy and delicate, but their impression is far more lasting. This isn’t just an album, but a luxury bath for the ears and soul, which made for practically infinite repeat plays. Key tracks: “Amor Fati,” “Eyes Be Closed.”

2. Caveman, CoCo Beware — In just two years, these Brooklyn indie rockers debuted their album with confidence to spare. Giving alt-rock sensibilities to Simon and Garfunkel folkisms, Caveman fits in the Grizzly Bear–Band of Horses vein and yet they still create a sound that will grow into their own. Those drums are to die for as is singer Matthew Iwanusa smooth tenor. Caveman’s release is more like a gift. Key tracks: “Decide,” “December 28th.”

3. Death Cab for Cutie, Keys and Codes Remix EP — By nature, most remixes are agony resulting in a soulless version of the original. That didn’t happen here in DCFC’s redux on their already- impressive Codes and Keys from earlier in the year. At times, the EP is even better than the original, with charged up versions of seven songs. Yeasayer, The 2 Bears and Cut Copy are among the remixers who don’t take away from DCFC’s spirit, but spike it huge with major beats. Key tracks: “Underneath the Sycamore,” “Some Boys.”

4. Adele, 21 This is very likely the album of the year for the entire world — and deservedly so. Adele channeled all the emotion of being done wrong by her man into a solid display of music. At times, she gets a little too sappy, but the strength of 21 isn’t just in Adele’s soulful voice, it’s also in her heart that is both pained and strengthened here. Plus, 21 pretty much just says “fuck you” to the ex the way we all wish we could. Key tracks: “Rolling in the Deep,” “Don’t You Remember.”

5. Adam Tyler, Shattered Ice — In his debut, Tyler broke through pop/dance music apathy to create a refreshing album of solid tunes. He recalls glorious pop of two and three decades ago but updates it with sexy lyrics and dynamic hooks. Tyler wrote all 11 songs and more than half of those are ready for the radio. Hopefully, someone will take notice, because Ice is too spectacular to be overlooked. Key tracks: “Pull the Trigger,” “I Won’t Let You Go.”

6. Real Estate, Days — Less is more with this complete package by the indie folk rockers from New Jersey. They smoothed out from their 2009 debut and bring a minimalist, but hardly simple approach to Days that shows off the band’s talents modestly, but considerably effectively with lush cascades of music. Days is a facile listen that may sound like background music, but you won’t forget it. Key tracks: “It’s Real,” “Younger than Yesterday.”

7. Beyonce, 4 — The diva missed out on big radio hits with this album, but she channeled her inner ‘80s-and-‘90s adult contemporaries and created a helluva fascinating album. Sidestepping the obvious, B dabbled in sophistication over aggression and came up with retro vibes without losing her style. She totally didn’t give up her skills trying for a big hit with “Rule the World (Girls)” but missed. That’s forgivable considering the brilliance of the rest. Key tracks: “Rather Die Young,” “I Care.”

8. CSS, La Liberacion — These Brazilian party rockers matured beautifully in their third album. For having a reputation of delivering queer-centric dance rock, earlier releases were a tad unfocused. CSS kept the same amped-up energy, but their songwriting and musicianship has grown into smart and sublime. From irreverence to slightly political, CSS looks like they have finally found their place. Key tracks: “City Grrrl,” “I Love You.”

9. Me’Shell Ndegéocello, Weather — Ndegéocello continues to bring the cool, and does so with the ultra-slick Weather. Her neo-soul chops have not been lost over the course of her almost two-decade career. Instead, she adds a layer of maturity with each new album and this year practically cultivated it into hip, soulful perfection. And that bass playing is so sexy, it’s borderline (but gloriously) obscene. Key tracks: “Chance,” “Dirty World.”

10. Emmeline, Someone to Be Coming in under the wire, Dallas singer Emmeline recently dropped off her disc personally to the Dallas Voice asking for a listen. Good thing she did, as she lies somewhere between Sarah MacLachlan and Regina Spektor. With earnest keyboards and charming vocals, she churned out one of the more delightful packages of tunes with a sugary edge that sticks just right and is wonderfully addictive. Key tracks: “Someone to Be,” “Dallas.”

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2011’s top LGBT releases

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Queer music was in full bloom over the last 12 months, with a wide range of LGBT artists — from veterans to newbies — strongly delivering great music. Here are some of the highlights that stuck out for us.
R.E.M, Collapse Into Now. Soon after this March release, the band announced they were breaking up after 30 years — with the appropriate greatest hits release in November.
Deborah Vial, Stages and Stones. The former Dallas gal showed off her chops from Hawaii in her soulful new album.

K.D. Lang and the Siss Boom Bang, Sing it Loud. Lang crooned, but also rocked gently with her new band.
Ariel Aparicio, Aerials. OutMusic Award winner Aparicio hit a strong note with his alt-rock album from August, fusing it with Latin flair.

Garrin Benfield, The Wave Organ Song. This scruffy folk-country artist relaxed into his fifth disc with a languid and poetic song cycle.

Girl in a Coma, Exits and All the Rest (pictured). The San Antonio rock trio made waves in 2011, landing on several year-end lists.

Brandon Hilton, Nocturnal. Hilton worked the web to his advantage to get his album on people’s radar and it worked both ways.

The Sounds, Something to Die For. The relentless alt-pop from these Swedes was one of the best music addictions of the year. And bi singer Maja Ivarsson sold it perfectly.

— R.L.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 30, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Beyoncé: ‘4’ the gays

Below is Q Syndicate writer and Dallas Voice contributor Chris Azzopardi’s piece on his exclusive talk with the Queen Bey: About gay fans, loving Lady Gaga and remaking A Star Is Born.

If there’s any girl who runs the world, it’s Beyoncé. The reigning diva — she’s called Queen Bey for a reason, people — is one of the biggest and best voices behind a long run of hits dating back to the late ‘90s, when she was part of supreme girl-group Destiny’s Child.

Now, years later, Beyoncé still demonstrates just how irreplaceable she is as a solo artist, having released four albums (the latest called, appropriately, 4 — reviewed here) with some of the most memorable and gay-celebrated singles in pop music history. Not every artist can say they’ve had a gay boy lead a football team to glory by performing “Single Ladies,” as seen on Glee. And not every artist can say they have 16 Grammy Awards, making her one of the most honored artists in Grammy history.

But that’s Queen Bey, who has also assembled a gaggle of gay fans who are crazy in love with her.

Here’s our exclusive chat with the singer/actress/glamour-girl, her first gay press interview since 2006.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

‘4’-telling

In her latest, Beyonce tries on new hats while relying on old tricks

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

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3 out of 5 stars
“4”
Beyonce
Columbia Records

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Fans might be scratching their heads with Beyonce’s new album, 4. Where is the explosive power? What is it with all these ballads? But she might be having the last laugh. Her fourth solo album (duh) might not have as many potential hit singles, but by dabbling with different formulas she delivers a respectable package — or at least a fascinating one.
Beyonce has proved she can churn out major pop and R&B hits that are smart, fun and have a certain sass, but she holds back big time on 4, setting a mellower tone with a collection of slower tempo tunes.

She croons old-school on the opener “1+1,” her foray into deeper soul. The song is elegant and a surprise, but the second track, “I Care,” makes a far stronger impression. The more mid-tempo ballad is restrained in her verses, but goes way lush in her chorus. The build-up to an emotive guitar solo feels a tad Michael Bolton-ish, but pulls back to a definitive groove.

DROP DEAD DIVA | Beyonce channels ‘80s adult contemporary in ‘4,’ but delivers impressive surprises.

Beyonce slyly fuses her R&B vocals over an ambient electronica beat on “I Miss You.” Is it weird this recalls Haddaway’s 1993 song by the same name? She smartly works with the tune to offer the song as a package rather than showing off her voice and results in a lovely moment. Why she has to rhyme I miss you/like every day/wanna be wichu/but you’re away is beyond me. We get it, B — you’re street and glam.

We’re already getting the impression that she’s given the album a top-heavy atmosphere of ballads that might lose listeners, then comes “Best Thing I Never Had,” co-written by Babyface, which doesn’t dispel this. The pace is picked up slightly but the song recalls those overly polished ‘80s “soul” hits found on lite radio stations (echoed later with “Rather Die Young” and “Love on Top”). She’s channeling her Patti Austin-Regina Belle with cheesy background choruses and keyboards. Let’s not discuss the Dianne Warren penned “I Was Here,” which is ready for movie montages and hackneyed trailers.

Sometimes I wondered if Beyonce was trying to get into some serious soul a la Leela James or Sharon Jones, but kept missing the mark with these smoothed-out tunes that don’t lend much to her attempts. With previous ballads like “Halo,” “Listen” or “Irreplaceable,” we could hear her distinct voice — literally and figuratively. Here, she gets lost and although she’s co-written most of her songs, there’s not a unique sense of the diva.

As if she realized that, she pumps up the jam in the final quarter of the 12-song collection. There’s a relief when the beat-heavy “Countdown” hits at track no. 9. Although disjointed, it’s a welcome reprieve from all her emoting. She does far better with her immediate follow-up “End of Time,” by which time she seems obsessed with drumline beats. She’s pulled it since Destiny’s Child with “Breathe” and most recently with “Single Ladies,” but the horns and that Beyonce swagger we’re used to recall the infectious sounds of Michael Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’.”

She weirdly placed “I Was Here” in between the happening upbeat songs and kills the mood. But she closes out with her misfired hit “Run the World (Girls).” Again with the military beats, the song didn’t take the world by storm like she probably hoped, but it puts the energy of the album in overload. I couldn’t stand hearing it at award shows or Oprah’s farewell, but after mellowing out for over half an hour, the song saves the album, ending it with a bang. The girl-power message seems passé but that doesn’t make it less fun.
I applaud Beyonce’s efforts not to deliver the obvious. Face it: We all want another “Crazy in Love,” but instead, she opted to stick to her guns and try something new, even if some of it sounded like it was three decades old. Despite its stumbles and confusing paths, 4 could be the one album we look to as her most daring.   •

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 8, 2011.

—  Michael Stephens

Concert Notice: South Side Music Hall announces Robyn coming to town in February

The peeps at Gilley’s Music Complex scored a sweet show for their mid-size venue, the South Side Music Hall. They just announced that pop singer Robyn will perform at SSMH Feb. 18. So glad it’s in this room because it’s big enough to be a fab dance party, but not too big that you couldn’t see her up close. OK, if you’re in the waaay back, then it’s a bit far.

If you’ve been paying attention to Robyn, she’s finishing a trilogy of releases over the year with today’s release of Body Talk Pt. 3 or the kinda culminating full-length Body Talk. She released Body Talk Pt. 1 back in June and followed with  Pt. 2 in September. The first yielded the smash hit “Dancing On My Own,” which I’d dare to say is dance/pop at some of its smartest. The rest of the EP follows suit, especially after the bold opener “Don’t Fucking Tell Me What To Do.”  The entire album was an impressive display of writing and music that’s been a Euro-alternative to American pop princesses over the years from Britney to Beyonce to Gaga.

Tickets are $22 in advance and $25 at the door and go on sale Friday.

—  Rich Lopez

Reba McEntire Covers Beyonce

I really like this. Stand by for the remixes.

(Via – Buzzfeed)

Joe. My. God.

—  admin