LISTEN: Xiu Xiu’s new single “Hi”

This is already shaping up to be a year of new releases by LGBT (ish) bands and singers. Adam Lambert, Scissor Sisters and Of Montreal have already released tracks from upcoming albums. Now, indie avant popsters Xiu Xiu are back with their upcoming release, a new single and even a book by queer frontman Jamie Stuart, pictured. The official word came today that the band has dropped its first single from its upcoming album Always set for a March release (although the track was released a week ago on Soundcloud).

The album is said to ambitiously broaches themes and topics such as the objectification of migrant Chinese female laborers (“Factory Girls”), an Afghan teenage boy murdered by American soldiers (“Gul Mudin”) and a teenage girl too young for pregnancy (“I Luv Abortion”). Heavy handed, right? Heavy handed stuff, huh? But for those familiar with Xiu Xiu, Stewart and company don’t churn out bleak music despite such subjects. Their strange knack for melding pop music, tragedy and distinct hooks is evident on 2010′s Dear God, I Hate Myself.

Always has a big time Dallas connection, too. The album is mixed by Dallas-based producer John Congleton, who is a pretty big deal according to NPR. He’s worked with local acts like The Polyphonic Spree, Black Tie Dynasty and Sarah Jaffe and on a bigger scale, has produced work with Marilyn Manson, Antony and the Johnsons, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and whole helluva lot more. Always is also produced by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier.

“Hi” is extravagant in its delivery with a major buildup and its lyrics are both abstract and poignant, but if it’s any hint of the rest of the album, I’m very much looking forward to it. Listen after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: ‘Hooray, You’re Gay’ video; Sarah Jaffe covers Robyn on Billboard

• Here’s some #musicMonday for your Twitter feeds. If Gaga’s “Born This Way” isn’t enough of a Pride anthem for you, maybe The Juliettes might can fill in the void with their new song, “Hooray, You’re Gay.” The Seattle band of women posted this song as “a gift. To the LGBT community and to all people who value compassion and equality. Who don’t see ‘Gay Marriage’ but only understand ‘MARRIAGE.’ Who don’t see ‘Gay Rights’ but only see ‘RIGHTS.’ Who think ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should be and should have always been, ‘Why Ask, Who Cares.’ Who understand that there needs to be no defense of marriage, but defense of the disenfranchised. Love is love. Equality is equality. Truth is truth. We made this for you. We made this for everybody. We feel it is the obligation of every person — starting with us — to work toward true equality.”

This song kind of grew on me pretty quick. Four femmes goofing around with rock ‘n’ roll is hard not to love, but they also have a catchy tune. OK, yes, it sounds like it could easily come off a South Park or Avenue Q soundtrack, but I can’t help but applaud their efforts in doing a song they didn’t need to. Now that’s an ally.

• Folk and electronica don’t go quite hand in hand, but local singer Sarah Jaffe, who we’ve profiled before, is a big fan of alt-dance queen Robyn. I even saw her at the concert. Jaffe went and had a chat with Billboard and even performed a bit for Mashup Monday. Here, she covers Robyn’s “Hang With Me.” Jaffe does a beautiful job with an already beautiful song keeping her melancholic touch to it. Although they play the dance version of the song also in the video, Robyn released it as a ballad in Body Talk Pt. 1, the first of her 2010 trilogy.

—  Rich Lopez

Logo premieres local musician Sarah Jaffe on NewNowNext tonight

Local musician Sarah Jaffe keeps making the right moves into becoming the next big music thing. Logo channel’s NewNowNext Music will premiere her video “Clementine” tonight at 1 a.m. I know, it’s late, but she’s so worth it. The song is from her debut full-length, Suburban Nature, on local based label Kirtland Records.

And don’t go jumping to conclusions about Jaffe. The show features music from both gay and non-gay artists. All you need to know is that she’s pretty amazing.

Once you watch the video, catch her live on Friday when she plays at The Loft. Get tickets quick though. She sold out the Granada earlier this year.

—  Rich Lopez

The B-52s (to name a few) at Austin City Limits this weekend

I hear that, despite the rain and mud, Austin City Limits this past weekend was one hell of a festival. Although there were too many bands to single out, can anyone ever get tired of gay faves, The B-52s? Although you might get a little nauseous from this vid.

North Texas had some decent presence at ACL thanks to the likes of Toadies and Sarah Jaffe, who you should probably pay some attention to. She’s a local fave and her awesomeness is off the charts. She has a couple of gigs in New York but performs live back here Nov. 6 at the Granada. I’d highly recommend checking her out.

—  Rich Lopez