Boys Will Be Girls & Girls Will Be Boys: Our 10 Favorite Androgynous Voices
In a time when "foofoo-looking" dudes are moving in on female modeling gigs at the same rate that well-coiffed lesbians are döppelganging Bieber, one might try to rely on sound for gender cues rather than resorting to frisk-greeting people à la Crocodile Dundee, but no—even ears can be deceiving, as more and more often, a singer’s voice doesn’t always match the curvature of their groin.
When the black-caped siren of a frontwoman you imagined from listening to the album turns out to be some bearded singer who looks like a disgraced geography teacher, the mistakes can be amazing. (I’m looking at you, Bear in Heaven.)
From the unique to the eunich-sounding, I bring you a kaleidoscopic account of my 10 favorite, most androgynous-sounding singers in music.
With a name like Vinnie, a voice like pound cake, and short hair like Julia Roberts as Tinkerbell in the Hook movie, how can I be sure?
“How Can I be Sure”
Jana Hunter of Lower Dens
Listening to Jana sing is like imagining what smoke would sound like if it could talk. And might I add that “smoke” is a neuter word.
When an artist’s first name is actually just one letter, which looks like it’s teetering between the symbols for male ♂ and female ♀, it’s almost too strange that the vocals also seesaw between light tenor and husky mezzo-soprano.
With fellow bandmates of WhoMadeWho out of the picture, Tomas can whisk into his mushier side with this chime-luring, blippity gem called “Broken Glass.” Bright layers of effects and fragile vocals smother any smidge of gender, so it’s best to just shut up and vibe out.
Jon Philpot of Bear in Heaven
The greatest accomplishment of the Beast Rest Forth Mouth record was Jon Philpot’s ability to sing like a bone-chilling Sapphic. And for that, I keep listening to that record with grinning disbelief.
“You Do You”
Arca is a shinier, newer player to burst onto the scene of gender-stumping vocals. His vocal effects are beastly feminine and his beats are seductively twisted—kind of like the pink skirt-speedo and a see-through rhinestone tank top outfit worn by the singer this summer’s MoMA PS1 Warm Up.
Shannon Funchess of Light Asylum
Light Asylum is the juggernaut of the ungendered soundscape. The singer’s steel-toed diaphragm can churn her voice into a howl that sweeps through my system causing a stampede of goosebumps.
“End Of Days”
Nikolaj Manuel Vonslid of When Saints Go Machine
The beauty in Nikolaj’s ethereal voice is that it sounds like flapping butterflies surround his uvula. His voice is one enormous flutter and reminds me of another life form. Anything that evokes thoughts of aliens is an androgynous marvel to me.
Fanning the flames of hyper-androgyny is a singer whose lusty and throaty voice is as trans-sounding as her actual physique.
Brittany Howard of Alabama Shakes
Can you feel the thrust? Rip the lid off these soulful rock vocals and you’ll find a mighty songstress with the heavy-hitting powerhouse pipes.
This Modern Love: We Are Scientists
Do you rate 'BASEketball,' love Hanes v-necks, and dancing to goofy-ass, Prohibition-era jazz? You may be the lady Keith from We Are Scientists has been scouring the planet for.
A Conversation with New York Legend—Photographer Maripol
Photographer/Designer Maripol's styled Madonna, Deborah Harry, and Grace Jones. She talks about her experiences in NY in the early 80s, her new book, plus here's the premiere of her song and video for "Tuesday."
Here's 11 Awesome Things About Petite Meller's Video for "IceBear" ft. Joe Fleisch
Parisian pop princess goes winter wonderland weird.
Here's "Hero"—The Brand New Tune by Diplo, Frank Ocean, and The Clash
We hung out with the boys in Brooklyn about this unlikely collaboration
"Daughter, Daughter" by D/C Will Make You Root for the Supposed Bad Boy
When will parents understand that when they butt into your love life, you're gonna run 100 miles per hour in the other direction?
An Interview With Georgia Nott of BROODS
Gorgia Nott has a lot to be happy about. At 19, the New Zealand musician is half of BROODS, one of the quickest rising duos in electronic pop music at the moment.
Keep Up With Our SXSW 2014 Coverage Here
Hopefully, we don't die.
The Score: Mapping the Music and Style of 'That Thing You Do!'
Sixties chic via the 90s and that one song over and over and over.
We're Premiering Big K.R.I.T.'s "Steps" Documentary & a New Song Feat. Big SANT & Smoke DZA
#weekofKRIT Is Almost Over.
Kanye West and Crustpunk: Together at Last
It's the Leftöver Crack/Kanye mashup you've been waiting for.