From Y La Bamba to Black Belt Eagle Scout, here’s the info on some new queer releases GREGG SHAPIRO | Q-MusicGreggShapiro@aol.com The songs on Lucha (Tender Loving Empire) explore “love, queerness, Mexican-American and Chicanx identity, family, intimacy, yearning, loneliness,” says Luz Elena Mendoza Ramos, the lead vocalist of Y La Bamba.
This is a tall order for any artist, but Ramos is more than up to the task, singing in Spanish and English. Like the Black Belt Eagle Scout album reviewed below, Y La Bamba’s Lucha is a product of the pandemic and, as such, feels both raw and healing, as you can hear on “Hues” (featuring Devendra Banhart), “Collapse,” “Nunca,” “Mas Manos,” “Walk Along” and an especially haunting cover of Hank Williams’ “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry.” Anyone who has been following queer singer/songwriter Caroline Rose since her independently released 2010 debut album I Will Not Be Afraid through her latest, 2023’s The Art of Forgetting (New West) knows that she’s comfortable slipping in and out of genres.
From alternative country on “…Afraid” to modern rock with a healthy dose of humor on 2018’s brilliant “Loner,” from concept pop on 2020’s “Superstar” to musical experimentation, with a heavy helping of heartache, on the break-up album The Art of Forgetting.
While this sonic shift might be unsettling to some Rose fans, it’s fair to say she’s a natural — like Taylor Swift — at getting her pointed point across, especially on “Miami,” “Rebirth,” “Everywhere I Go I Bring The Rain,” “Tell Me What You Want,” “Jill Says” and “Where Do I Go From Here?” It’s the musical equivalent of misery loves company.