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Feature:

Essential Albums by Transgender Artists

on Bandcamp

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introduction by jae olivia noel

words by sammy maine

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The journey of self-discovery and acceptance has been a long road and a constant battle. I began writing music when depression and dysphoria were at an all-time high. It was an escape from a society that raised me to believe there was something “wrong” with people like me. For my entire life, I sheltered myself from expressing the real me and put all my emotions into my music. It was all I ever had. If it weren’t for the relationship I had with my songs and poems, I genuinely don’t think I would have made it this far. The strength that music gave me, pushed me to be strong enough to find community, financial stability, and most importantly, self-love. I was finally able to come out, and began hormone replacement therapy last year.

Since then, I’ve experienced homelessness, discrimination, and family neglect; but, would always find solace in my art. This summer I released my discography on Bandcamp and was able to get through these past few months off the income and opportunity that Bandcamp provided me. It has saved my life.

With recent news about the transgender military ban and seeing what Bandcamp is doing to support transgender rights, I’ve never felt more grateful. With the presidency and political climate today in America, I feel as if my entire identity is always being under attack. The support that Bandcamp is showing has been a great step to normalize transgender people and their rights. This initiative being made has made me fall in love with the site all over again. It always seems so easy for people to tear the minority down, but when we stand together we are able to overcome any adversity.

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 This list was prompted by bandcamp‘s decision to donate 100% of their proceeds on Aug 4th to the Transgender Law Center – a nonprofit organization that works tirelessly to change law, policy, and culture for the more equitable. 

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Lushloss – Asking/Bearing

Lushloss, the project of Seattle-based Olive Jun, is an immersive, personal reflection that hits home. It peels back the layers of armour in which we cover ourselves and urges us to be softer, kinder, more aware. Interweaving conversations with her mother throughout, Jun has masterfully created an album that feels undeniably human in its beauty, reminding us that although connection can be difficult, it’s crucial in finding out who we are.

hushhushrecords.bandcamp.com

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Leor Miller – Xtra Strength

It was Leor’s tweets that shifted our focus from great records on Bandcamp to great records from transgender artists on Bandcamp, so thanks to her for highlighting an important point regarding today’s occasion. More than just an important voice, Leor has also released a new collection of songs this week and her gnarly/pretty, emo-leaning bedroom pop songs quickly bury themselves under your skin.

whoisleormiller.bandcamp.com

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Happy – The Endless Bummer

Hailing from Columbia, South Carolina, Happy are a four-piece emo-rock outfit that produce seamless catchy hooks and self-deprecating lyricism. Their tongue-in-cheek approach to growing up is as infectious as it is relatable and with songs like “You’ll Probably Never Hear This Because it isnt by Dashboard Confessional,” what’s not to like?

abandcalledhappy.bandcamp.com

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Humanly – My peak was a molehill

This gorgeously eerie EP is a kaleidoscope of whispering vocals, haunting instrumentals and stark, intimate layers. An electronic project that focuses on puzzle-like construction, Humanly manages to encompass imagery of wandering winter mornings, darkened corners and nights spent alone and restless.

humanly.bandcamp.com

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alyssa kai – contingency

Suggested to us via the brilliant Katy Dey, alyssa kai’s ‘contingency’ is a bold and brilliant guitar-pop record out of Western Massachusetts, melding rabid lyrical excursions with gnarly instrumental flourishes. As a fellow fan says on the Bandcamp page: “In between what sound like lost Mountain Goats demos and never-before-heard Rilo Kiley riffs, contingency is saying something entirely new.”

lyskoi.bandcamp.com

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Two Steps on the Water – Having pop punk feelings in a country​-​western body

Australian trio Two Steps on the Water describe this as a record “about a whole bunch of stuff: being trans, and gender in general, and regret, and lovelessness, and nature (pronounced ‘nay-cha’), and language, and bodily fluids.” It’s raw and uncompromising in its vulnerability but hell, it bangs too – especially the vocals on “Nature Doco”.

twostepsonthewater.bandcamp.com

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She/Her/Hers – Hopeful//Scared

She/Her/Hers is an acoustic, earnest exploration of never feeling like you fit in – of tugging at your shirt or staring at your phone. Hopeful//Scared is exactly that – songs of unabridged introspection and quiet optimism delivered with a spitting, impassioned vocal that rages through the storm of ourselves.

sheherhers.bandcamp.com

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jae – Secret Sweater 

Secret Sweater is a 50-song collection which jae describes as “a testament to my mental health pre-transition”. Recorded conversations are moulded with layers of patchwork instrumentals as glittering electronics float atop acoustic undercurrents. Jae’s voice is a soothing panacea throughout, acting as a consoling blanket among the tremors of the every-day.

jaep.bandcamp.com

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Selfie Queen – Selfie Queen 

You’re not entitled to shit,” opens Selfie Queen’s brashy pop-punk track “Turn Me On” and it’s testament to their no-holds-barred approach to songwriting. Quick-fire drums and bratty sing-a-longs mark this Los Angeles based artist as one who will make ceilings sweat and summon arms to the air.

selfiequeen.bandcamp.com

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cxdr – someone else’s story

Sydney-based songwriter cxdr describes someone else’s story – their last album as cxdr – as “the last three years of confusion, depression, self-love, self-loathing, visions, revisions, and transition, condensed as best as i could manage.” It’s a flittering exploration of soundscapes, breaking new fractures with every note.

cheraxdestructor.bandcamp.com

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Samantha Carter – The Tendencies of N

Samantha Carter creates uncompromising, pop-fuelled electronic tracks. Throughout The Tendencies of N, she creates a space that is freeing and revolutionary. “I wanted to forget about this album, but I’ve instead decided that it may have some importance to someone out there, someone who was where I was; closeted, living in a bad place, without resources,” she says of the project.

samanthacarter.bandcamp.com

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Helena Celle – If I Can’t Handle Me at My Best,

Then You Don’t Deserve You at Your Worst

A mainstay of the Glasgow live scene, performing in both Anxiety and Herbert Powell, Kay Logan’s signature work as Helena Celle is an intoxicating, claustrophobic brand of experimental electronic music that simply defies categorisation. Released via Night School Records, last year’s LP, streaming above, is a truly mesmerising piece of work that takes you on a different journey each and every time you find yourself lost within its spell.

lettermass.bandcamp.com

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 Polly Anna – Tenderness

This new-wave pop project from Texas-based Polly Anna has smatterings of 80s influence. Brooding electronic backgrounds and clever layering harness images of darkened alleys and half-smoked cigarettes, while Anna’s voice is a true powerhouse throughout.

jazzcochina.bandcamp.com

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 Matty Ann – Love Life

Matty Ann produces grungey shoegaze that meanders through tales of tortured isolation, loving from afar and learning to love the surroundings in which you find yourself. Loose percussive interludes and discordant layers mark Love Life as an EP that searches for an answer in surroundings you might not recognize.

mattyann.bandcamp.com

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4th Curtis – I Won The Pageant 

This Minnesota three-piece describe their sound as “scrappy gay cripplepunk” and well, I Won The Pageant is pretty much as scrappy as they come. Led by Lex Noens, 4th Curtis serve up heart-warming pop-punk that centres around a sweet vocal with razor-sharp lyricism.

4thcurtis.bandcamp.com

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inland island – Zsa Zsa’s Window Opens Slowly

inland island makes the kind of country-twinged folky rock that would best accompany those mornings when it’s just you, an open window with the sun spilling onto your kitchen table and the smell of roasting coffee. There’s a reassuring stance to her honeyed vocals that makes even the saddest songs seem comforting, somehow.

inlandisland.bandcamp.com

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Ashby and the Oceanns – Soft Hits

There’s a youthful glow that stems from Ash Barker’s electronic, folk-pop; the ability to look at the world when there’s still a little light left. Written and recorded at three different houses in Chicago, the atmosphere is one of spontaneity, where Barker is able to hold onto snapshots of the smaller moments and recreate them with an enchanting poise.

ashbyandtheoceanns.bandcamp.com

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Aye Nako – Silver Haze

Earlier this year, we premiered Aye Nako’s fantastic Silver Haze album and for good reason – it’s a straight-up banger that bellows in the face of adversity and stands up for what it believes in. Smatterings of intricate pop-punk envelope old-school grunge tendencies, with hooks that will stick in your head for days.

ayenako.bandcamp.com

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Adult Mom – Soft Spots

Adult Mom are firm favs here at GFP thanks to their enduring ability to craft sweet tales of introspection. Soft Spots is a bold dash of light and colour, a vivid snapshot of something meaningful, and all the more emotive for the dark that is always hanging around its edges, present and prescient.

adultmom.bandcamp.com

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 pigeon pit – treehouse

There’s a confessional quality to pigeon pit, spurring images of small-town life with a precise and careful demeanor. Guided by an impassioned acoustic guitar, treehouse is an album that ushers in memories of walking home as the birds begin the stir, when it’s just you and the concrete beneath your feet.

pigeonpit.bandcamp.co

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lich – O

Pronounced ‘circle’, O is a journey though electronic-gloom and space-out vocals that produce an immersive space of emotional integrity. Shifting between moody and desperate, Seattle-based lich stitches each moment together to create a patchwork of otherworldly adventure.

lichxxvi.bandcamp.com

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SuperKnova – Splendor Dysphoria 

Producing sultry pop with a hip-hop backdrop, Chicago-based SuperKnova masters lusty vocals that are both biting and sweet. City life is a clear influence, as images of passing cars and flickering street lights centre themselves between the lavish guitar solos and endearing electronica.

superknova.bandcamp.com

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The Spook School – Try To Be Hopeful 

This Edinburgh four-piece are all about bringing the important matters to the forefront – but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a good time while doing so. Frantic, upbeat garage-punk tackles binary identities and toxic masculinity with sing-a-long moments that will make you hopeful for what’s to come.

thespookschool.bandcamp.com

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NAUX – NAUX DEMO MMXVII

If you’re looking for relentless, hardcore punk that’ll spit in the face of your enemies then Portland’s NAUX could be your new best pals. It’s frantic and severe in its intentions, spilling its guts and smearing them all over anyone who has the audacity to listen. Strap in for this one.

nauxpdx.bandcamp.com

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 HAINT – HAINT

A breathless “I was born in the city” opens HAINT’s self-titled album, marking a record that stems right from the very beginning of our every day experience and into the inner-workings of our identities. Bluesy acoustic guitar provides a backdrop to a vocal that soars in its intimacy.

haintatl.bandcamp.com

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Mattie Konig – Here Comes A Special Boy?

Mattie King offers a playful reprise in a world that often takes itself too seriously. With melodies that evoke nostalgic video games, Konig produces a jarringly bizarre and wonderful take on the classic pop track. It’ll be nothing like you’ve heard before or as she describes it – “weird multi-genre experimental music.”

mattiekonig.bandcamp.com

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CRISSY BELL – Hidden Tracks

Brooding, 80s-inspired electronica is the backbone to CRISSY BELL’s album Hidden Tracks, with luscious bass lines, unwavering chord-structures and wandering synths. With instrumental interludes and a vocal that’s as vulnerable as it is substantial, BELL offers up a sense of confidential confession.

crissybell.bandcamp.com

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Geryon – We Don’t Talk About The Ghost

There’s a delicate aspect to Geryon that harnesses a distinct curiosity. While it’s unfamiliar in its electronic alienation, there’s something that feels familiar and comforting – a soothing hand on a shoulder that has felt too tense for too long. Expect quietened, otherworldly pop with darkened exterior.

geryonmelbourne.bandcamp.com

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Vivek Shraya – Girl It’s Your Time

Toronto-based artist Vivek Shraya offers a sweet and solemn tale of empowerment, tenderness and individuality. Through a heartfelt delivery and glittering electronic instrumentation, “Girl It’s Your Time” is a sincere exploration of being comfortable in your own skin.

vivekshraya.bandcamp.com

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Brynn Juniper – hang in there’s not here FOREVER

A pulsing, electronic pop project that meanders through ethereal vocals and contrasting instrumental layers, Brynn Juniper connects her stories with an oscillating vigor. There’s no real structure and that’s what makes hang in there’s not here FOREVER such a memorable and thrilling listen.

brynnjuniper.bandcamp.com

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Freya – Stranger Things Have Happened, if Only You’d Remember Them

Evoking the sweet, adolescent nature that only seems to show itself in those rare playful moments, Australia’s Freya has created an album full of dynamic proficiency and intricate warmth. Creating, writing and recording everything in her room, there’s an intimate undercurrent throughout.

musicbyfreya.bandcamp.com

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worm hears – happy or grateful

This gutsy, pop punk from London is a melodic ear worm that encompasses everything that it means to be young, irritated and exposed. Perfecting the kind of chorus-work that ensures numerous sing-a-long moments, worm hears are a strident three-piece creating snapshots of suspicion and exasperation.

wormhears.bandcamp.com 

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Nervus – Permanent Rainbow

Nervus are masters at producing emotional rock that manages to encompass all those lost relationships and fractured memories into nuggets of intricate riffs and bellowing choruses. An ardent delivery and sharp wit has made this latest full-length stay faithful to the genre while carving out a space that’s entirely their own.

nervus.bandcamp.com

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She/Her – Marigold

Marigold is often a tough listen but one that assembles the parts of us that we keep to ourselves – as we stare at the ceiling from our beds, flick through day time TV or check our phone just one more time. By delivering this intimacies with such splendor, She/Her offers a hand when we’re at our most desperate.

sheher.bandcamp.com

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flower housewife – the false spring queen

June Amelia Cahill says her album is “best listened through your shitty car speakers on a late night drive,” and it’s perhaps in this seclusion where the false spring queen resonatesIt’s simple, acoustic tales of saying no to tenebrosity and yes to inner-illumination is most felt when alone – the stillness of your own company that results in epiphanies of tenderness.

flowerhousewife.bandcamp.com

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See the full list of labels and artists donating today’s profits to the Transgender Law Centre here

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