Rufus Wainwright to (finally) release a pop CD

Rufus Wainwright is one of those recording artists about whom his fans always assume he is more popular than he probably is. His lushly overproduced albums — portmanteau CDs of lush, wrenching ballads and retro-glam set-pieces — are beloved by his supporters, but probably lead to head-scratching among the rest of the music-buying public. I can’t recall the last time I heard one of his songs on the radio.

But apparently Rufus is aware of that — and wants to fix it. His new album, produced by Mark Ronson, will be his “most pop album … ever,” he says. Out of the Game will be released May 1.

Not familiar with Rufus? You should be. Watch this performance of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.”

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

LISTEN: Top 10 Christmas songs by LGBT artists

Yes, Bing Crosby and Nat King Cole will likely make appearances today singing their famous Christmas tunes, but queer artists have their signature contributions as well. I mean, Fred Schneider’s ridiculous humor may not compare with traditional carols, but he proves we need a little disco year round. And Pink Martini can croon just like the best of them.

Here’s a rundown of my top queer Christmas tunes for the day to add your to mix. Bing and Nat won’t mind the company.

10.  The Superions — “Christmas Disco” This album is a pure exercise in the absurd, but Fred Schneider’s side project turns the reverent holiday into a flat out house party.

—  Rich Lopez

LISTEN: Meshell Ndegeocello previews her new album ‘Weather’ with ‘Dirty World’

Lesbian singer Meshell Ndegeocello announced Thursday that her ninth studio album Weather is slated for release Nov. 8. That’s a small wait, but to tide you over, she released this song as a preview. With her signature bass, Ndegeocello hasn’t seemed to lose any of her distinctive sound and vibe over the years. This is from the announcement:

Produced by Grammy-winner Joe Henry (Aimee Mann, Solomon Burke, Ani DiFranco), Weather is the latest addition to Meshell’s diverse catalog. A strikingly organic record, the album finds Meshell experimenting with the sparse, orchestral melodies paired with thoughtful lyrics, all performed by a band of fearsome musicians. The album opens with the title track “Weather,” a spacey, soulful groove that sets the stage for the rest of the record. Tracks like “Oysters” and her cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Chelsea Hotel” find Meshell constructing hushed ballads, centered around mournful piano. These tracks are juxtaposed with Meshell’s defiant, soulful stomps on songs like “Rapid Fire” and “Dirty World.” The album also features all-star collaborations with the likes of Chris Connelly (ex-Revolting Cocks, Ministry), Benji Hughes, and Joe Henry.

Meshell Ndegeocello -Dirty World by emn2 .

—  Rich Lopez