Celebrating Pride Month with Folklore Sessions
The idea of their being a ‘sound’ of the queer experience might sound a little abstract. Apart from various notifications from certain apps (if you know, you know), it’s hard to pinpoint what exactly makes the sound of the queer experience - is there really an affiliation of ‘sound’ to being a part of the queer community?
Rather, I think the sound of the queer experience is less based on sounds, but the stories behind them. Knowing that this music arises as an expression of self and is based in some collective sense of the multi-dimensional queer experience, creates an important relation and a certain sense of closeness to the music. Expanding the universality of music even more, it’s valuable to remember the importance of queer (and other historically marginalised) voices all year round – music is a great instrument of unity, representation, and love.
With Pride Month now coming to an end, it seems as good a time as ever to explore and highlight some of the most exciting queer voices in Brighton, and worldwide, going into July with an array of new music to enjoy all year round.
Having recently moved back to Brighton to debut Soft Top in one of the most exciting music scenes in the country, Miles Goodall has been making music as part of various projects for years. With Soft Top, Goodall takes the front seat once again, establishing himself as a beautiful lyricist of the unique queer experience that surrounds love and loss, entertaining the pain in cathartic, soulful and sometimes jazzy sounds and a voice that never falters. After a string of successful solo/acoustic shows, the seven-piece band’s long-anticipated debut was met with a rapturous reception, and you can count on Soft Top to bring their magic to The Folklore Rooms soon. As someone who catches a lot of live shows, I was only in awe of the bands sound, a stunning sum of all its subtle parts, to create something bigger than the music – a genuine, intimate expression of the soft top himself. With the intertwinement of sexuality and emotion, the intimate passion of Soft Top's lyricism and vocal quality serves to be emblematic of a clandestine longing, known all too well in the queer community.
An upcoming concept EP will see Goodall explore his own experience of almost being hit by a car, in a very ‘shaufian’ manner, to reference one of the band’s big influences, Canadian singer-songwriter Andy Shauf. It’s the excellent storytelling, rooted in Goodall’s experience that becomes bigger than merely an expression of queer love, finding relation in anyone who has loved, lost, and questioned both very universal notions.
Described by Rolling Stone UK as a ‘fizzing cocktail of righteous queer fury’, Lambrini Girls, formed of Phoebe Lunny, Lilly Macieira, and their elusive, mysterious drummer, are easily one of the most exciting new names in punk music. What’s more, they formed in this wonderfully queer city of ours. For their recent debut EP release, You’re Welcome, Lambrini Girls have been travelling all over for gigs, and in conversation with some of the best magazines in music: Rolling Stone UK, Kerrang, and Clash to name but a few. They’re also set to perform a huge summer show, with a setlist that includes musical icons Iggy Pop and Blondie in July in London. Not only that, but they were named one of the NME 100, of artists to watch in 2023.
Where proudly existing as a queer person stands as an excellent form of protest in a world that is incredibly heteronormative and capitalist, the Lambrini Girls are being unashamedly loud, serving a powerful reminder that you can be too. It’s clear that empowerment is one of the fundamentals of their music. And it’s also a powerful reminder of the power of music to inspire others, inciting action, and change.
Telling the story of what came to inspire Mauvey, his music stands clear as an utmost expression of self, in the many ways that oneself can be, and the multitudes contained in oneself. ‘LOVE’ also rings true as an important purpose, with it being realised as such an important element of positive, thus being at the heart of everything created. A wide range of influences, from FKA Twigs to Prince, to Coldplay, Mauvey creates punchy instrumentals and politically tuned lyrics to catchy melodies that are unashamed in their boldness and making a mark on the music scene. In an industry that can be so bounding, it’s exciting and inspiring to see an artist redefining musical labels in their own image to create their music. In merely doing so, being bold and brave and a part of that landscape of bettering change.
With his first single release only in 2021, Mauvey has built an impressive catalogue of songs which is telling of a passion and voice that demands to be heard. Such tracks came to life over the weekend at Worthy Farm as they brought their music to Glastonbury Festival. It seems only right that such a multifaceted, political artist with intentional purposes of spreading love, performs at a festival historically rooted in such attributes, and will no doubt be just the start of an impressive year for the artist.
Listening to Hayfitz non-stop since I was told about him, there’s something so compelling about his gentle folk and voice that is quite enchanting. Quietly beautiful lyrics that feel unbound by time, and you’re lost in a beautiful, building soundscape of passion and sentiment, just like it is you, falling in love. Accompanied by visuals, shot on Super 8mm, his new single, ‘Delusional’ (from upcoming sophomore album Everything Else) spotlights the golden, sun-kissed hues that carry throughout his music and flourishes a visceral imagination in its listener.
Music that is both at once open and inviting, yet intimate and subtle, you could soundtrack it to sunrise or sunset, or a gently crackling fire in a country cabin. The album looks to bring to light just this, as Hayfitz explores new emotions and important stories that have come to shape the past few years of his life, including realising his sexuality at 25. Having recently played at The Folklore Rooms for May’s monthly showcase, Hayfitz will have an exciting string of shows to promote his new album that you’d really be a fool to miss.
Another Brighton local, Collect Call’s ambient dream pop is a breezy, laid-back expression of love and all that comes with it. With their latest single, the aptly named, ‘Heartbreaker’, they tell the story your friends might describe as letting someone walk all over you, but you can’t help being the subject of this heartbreaker’s attention, so you allow it, again… and again, and again. There’s a self-awareness within the song, with its satirical tone and confessions of the unspeakable (checking locations via GPS) which, underlined by groovy synths, becomes a simple acquiescence at these feelings rather than an introspective criticism of it. A refreshing acceptance of matters of the heart married with a beautiful cover of a silhouette at sunset sets Collect Call’s image and tone perfectly
Full of charm and ambient tunes, they are soon to take to The Folklore Room's stage (on August 12th to be exact) so be sure to keep an eye out to catch the band live!
With an impressive roster of talent in this article alone, the people of Brighton once again demonstrate the city's creativity and queer roots. No matter what happens in the music industry's continuous evolution, these talented, authentic queer voices provide a promise of a future where diversity, inclusivity and self-expression thrive in music’s realm, and I’m so excited to see what they do next.
Words by Etienne Ferenc
Folklore Sessions returns on the 18th July at The Folklore Rooms for the monthly showcase. With music from AK Patterson, Tamasene and Cali Santo.