New Music: Icona Pop, Sofi Tukker, Tafari Anthony, Lauv, Conan Gray, Sofonda Cox, Nadia Vaeh

Icona Pop and Sofi Tukker in ‘Spa’

The chart-topping duo Icona Pop are back with the official music video for “Spa,” their musical collaboration with electronic duo Sofi-Tukker.

The quirky, retro-inspired video is the perfect pairing for the new wave-ish, techno-pop bop.

Speaking about the collaboration, Icona Pop’s Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo explain, “This song is weird in the very best way and we hope that people can have a rave spa at home while listening to it.”

Sofi Tukker adds, “We hope people can feel the joy and giddiness and ridiculousness that we all felt while making it. Even though we miss the club now more than ever, there’s also never been such an important time for self-care. Put some cuces on your eyes.”

Tafari Anthony

Queer pop artist Tafari Anthony releases his latest single, “No Good.”

The soulful electro-pop track features soaring vocals by Anthony as he explores how some relationships are just no good for us, yet we somehow still end up pursuing them for whatever reason.

“It is so much easier than you’d think to get trapped in this cycle of a bad relationship,” Anthony recently told American Songwriter. “I’ve heard too often from people that when a relationship is going well they feel like it’s missing something and that something is the drama.”

Conan Gray and Lauv in ‘Fake’ (screen capture)

Lauv joins forces with Conan Gray for the breezy mid-tempo “Fake,” which skewers vapid, phony social media personalities that seem to prize the number of followers over actual connections.

Amid a series of escalating fake photoshoots, the colorful music video features the duo engaging in staged pillow fights and dancing through super-saturated, bigger-than-life soundstage sets before being returned to reality.

Toronto-based drag artist Sofonda Cox

Toronto drag artist Sofonda Cox recently dropped her new circuit-house track, “Thrive,” featuring piano-based, big-room synth production with plucked strings, sharp drum kicks, and Cox’s gospel-tinged vocals.

This is Sofonda’s first release since signing with LGBTQIA+ music label So Fierce Music.

Out singer/songwriter Nadia Vaeh puts a bold and jazzy spin on this stripped-down version of her dark hit single “1000 Cuts.”

With hints of Jane Monheit and Sara Gazarek, the artist shows she can move with equal ease from sultry pop/rock to sassy jazz.

The playful confidence of the track and Vaeh’s musical virtuosity make this a winning track.

Vaeh is donating proceeds to The Trevor Project, which offers a safe space and support to LGBTQ youth. I previously covered

News Round-Up: June 24, 2020

Some news items you might have missed:

CBS Sports: Major League Baseball is set to return starting either July 23 or 24, the league has announced. It’s worth noting that 40 MLB players and staff members reportedly tested positive for the novel coronavirus in recent days.

Billboard: Former President Barack Obama is set to deliver a special message to the LGBTQ community for the 3rd annual Stonewall Day virtual event. He will be joined by major stars such as Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato, Katy Perry and more, who will be offering their own messages of support, while pop superstars Kesha and Hayley Kiyoko will take to the digital stage for special performances. The Stonewall Day 2020 livestream on Logo’s YouTube and Facebook pages from 12:45 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET on Friday, June 26.

NewNowNext: Also on Friday, the cast of FX’s Pose will reunite for “Pose-A-Thon,” a commercial-free, one-hour online kiki with the cast and creative team of Pose. The event will raise awareness for three LGBTQ organizations: GLSEN, Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund. The “Pose-A-Thon” will air Friday, June 26 at 10pm ET on FX, Freeform, and the “Pose-A-Thon” website.

New Music: Lauv drops a surprise new EP titled Without You. The 4 tracks were all written and produced during quarantine. The global hottie also releases the quarantine made video for “Dishes,” the totally chill-vibe lead track for the EP. p.s. He also recently launched Breaking Modern Loneliness, an episodic podcast where each episode is a new open forum discussion on all things human relationships, mental health, and technology.

Zillow: The massive real estate website has announced all Zillow listings will now provide information regarding local LGBTQ protections to help home buyers and renters identify which communities provide protection for all. Currently, only 22 states and the District of Columbia have laws against housing discrimination that include sexual orientation and gender identity.

Reuters: American approval of Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic has dropped to the lowest level on record since Reuters/Ipsos polls started asking the question at the beginning of March. With new COVID-19 cases surging, 58 percent said they disapproved.

Out: Actor and activist Wilson Cruz (My So-Called Life, Star Trek: Discovery) offers this subtle reminder that at the young age of 46-years-old, he ain’t playing.

New Music: Lauv ‘Modern Loneliness’

Who knew a music artist could release all of his music independently and find success to the tune of billions of streams to his name?

Lauv, a shooting star in the world of pop music who has done just that, drops his latest single “Modern Loneliness,” which the artist says is “the most important song” he feels he’s ever made.

The lilting ballad takes aim at the technology-driven generation that can’t seem to put their cell phones down underscoring how we experience isolation living our lives ‘alone together.’

Modern loneliness
We’re never alone but always depressed, yeah
Love my friends to death but I never call, I never text
La di da di da, yeah
You get what you give and you give what you get, so
Modern loneliness
We love to get high but we don’t know how to come down

The video depicts the artist laying in a field of grass pondering his loneliness. But as the song continues the build, the camera pulls back to show he’s surrounded by others experiencing similar isolation just feet away.

“There is a lot of loneliness out there,” says Lauv. “We all feel it. But there is also a lot of love waiting for us and I hope this song can be a catalyst for that.”

The artist has been open about his own struggles with anxiety and depression and has taken action on the issue with his Blue Boy Foundation, which supports programs that help young people feel more comfortable reaching out for help with mental health.

In 2019, he launched the “My Blue Thoughts” initiative, a community-building mechanism for fans to anonymously write down or record whatever is on their mind, as a way to engage with people around the world who may be having similar experiences.

In addition to recording and releasing his music, Lauv has also found success writing for some of the biggest stars in the world while simultaneously selling out shows all over the world as a headliner.

And, perhaps most amazingly, he has done all of this without releasing an album. (yet)

“Modern Loneliness” will be featured on Lauv’s highly anticipated upcoming album, ~how i’m feeling~,  set for release on March 6, 2020. He kicks off his world tour in Mexico on March 21.

I’m definitely a fan. I’ve previously covered Lauv’s music here and here.

News Round-Up: March 16, 2019

Some news items you might have missed:

• Finally, a public bathroom sign (above) that makes sense.

• The Advocate takes a look at newly-announced presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s history on LGBTQ issues.

• GOP Sen. Ted Cruz has been fined $35,000 for failing to disclose $1 million in campaign funds.

• Michael Jackson fans are suing his alleged victims for taking part in the recent HBO documentary Leaving Neverland for sullying the memory of the pop star.

• Having surpassed over 65,000 donors, out White House hopeful Pete Buttigieg has qualified for the 2020 Democratic presidential debates.

• Indie singer/songwriter/producer Lauv (nominated for “Best New Pop Artist at the 2019 iHeart Radio Music Awards) drops his stripped-down video of hit single “i’m so tired…” with Troye Sivan.

Lauv said on the stripped performance, “Troye and I went to Henson Recording Studios to make this acoustic version of ‘i’m so tired…’ and we ended up including the infamous bridge. Also, Troye is an angel…go check it out and enjoy.”

Troye added, “I’ve had the insane joy of playing this song live now for the last few weeks and have never felt a ground swell like this for a song I’m on before. So excited to put out this acoustic version of ‘i’m so tired…’ with Lauv!”

News Round-Up: March 30, 2018

(image via Instagram)

Some news items you might have missed:

• #TGIF!  Israeli fitness model Shalom Bar (h/t Towleroad)

• 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Justice Stephen Reinhardt, who authored the majority ruling that struck down Prop 8 in California in 2012, has passed away at the age of 87.

• This gay couple is living a Kafkaesque nightmare in trying to stay together thanks to Donald Trump’s travel ban.

• The ACLU has filed suit in Ohio for not allowing transgender people to update their birth certificates. The policy is the inconsistent with other state policies that allow transgender Ohioans to update their gender markers on their driver’s licenses and state identification cards. Ohio, Tennessee, and Kansas are the only states that don’t allow trans people to change their birth certificates.

• Country music star Kacey Musgraves told Billboard she regrets that once she laughed as a “gay guy” was bullied.

• Indie singer/songwriter Lauv dropped his latest single, “Chasing Fire” just in time for the weekend. And me like 🙂

Lauv, who Rolling Stone calls “Pop’s up-and-coming heartbreak king,” seems to find mucho inspiration in the relationships that don’t work out.

Lauv said of the single: “’Chasing Fire’ is about fighting for something that’s already over. It’s the beginning of the end. It’s desperation. It’s grand. But it’s hopeless.”

Hit play below and take a listen. I definitely hear some Coldplay/Maroon 5 influences even as Lauv stakes out his own territory.

Happy Friday, kids!