Australian music is at its best when we're celebrating all the voices in the industry, not just the ones that have typically been championed. To celebrate International Trans Day Of Visibility, we're taking a look at some of Australia's best trans, non-binary and gender diverse musicians.
These artists are making some of the most forward-thinking, exciting music in Australia, and whether you're a fan of pop, rock, electronic or something in between, you might just discover your next favourite act.
Rachel Maria Cox
Rachel Maria Cox is a non-binary Newcastle-based singer/songwriter that has been described as making music that's "the perfect blend of panic and disco". If you're a fan of pop music with an emo/rock edge, then you'll want to give RMC a listen.
Their latest single, Prosecco, was released in 2019, and is a track about having a crush that you probably need to get rid of. It's a fun, bouncy track, and one you'll get stuck in your head.
If you're a fan of pop-punk that'll get you moshing, then you'll love Sports Bra. The four-piece are currently working on their third album, so you'll want to go check out their self-titled debut, as well as their killer second album Talk It Out.
Released in 2019, Talk It Out is a look at the relationships that we form throughout our lives, as well as a celebration of queer bodies. Stretch your neck before listening to Sports Bra, because they'll get you head-banging.
Western Sydney's flowerkid is providing a voice for the younger trans community, as well as examining the toxic masculinity that continues to plague Australian society in many areas.
After leaving school at the end of Year 10, flowerkid threw himself into music. His latest single, miss andry (a play on the term misandry) is a look at why he compares himself to men. He says, “It isn’t your typical man hatred; I had to tackle the feeling of: I hate these boys and these men that have been in my life so much. Why do I envy them though?" Through booming drum and addictive synths, flowerkid explores his vulnerability. It's introspective music at its best, and we can't wait for what's next.
Melbourne musician Katie Dey's 2020 album mydata looks at the relationships between real and virtual life, asking what's real, and what's not. As a trans bedroom pop artist, Katie's always existed in the online world, and mydata synthesises those experiences into pop music that's both introspective and universal.
Speaking about the album, she says it captures the existence that many people experience online. “So much of my life is just on the internet. So many private, intimate moments. You can download this enormous chat log you have with someone, and it will be like 20MB. But that’s not where the relationship is. That’s not where it’s contained."
Adelaide-based singer, songwriter and producer Lonelyspeck makes music that explores how we perceive identity. They weave together aspects of pop, electronica and even sometimes nu-metal to tell their story, and they're at the forefront of Australia's experimental music scene.
Speaking about their latest project, 2019's Abyssal Body, Lonelyspeck tells Complex that it's a journey that they had to undertake themselves. "It’s a symbolic journey from dark to light. A lot of it is things I felt like I needed to admit and affirm to myself. " Lonelyspeck welcomes you into their world, and helps you realise some things about yourself, whatever that may be.
If you've been paying attention to Australia's live scene, then you might have had the chance to see Cry Club play live recently. They're a queer bubblegum punk band that lead singer Heather Riley says started out wanting to be a Cure cover band, but soon transformed into a band that empowers their fans.
Cry Club have always leant into the dramatic, and that's part of why fans love them so much. Speaking to triple j, Heather says they've always loved acting. “I was always tossing between singing and acting. For a long time it was acting, but now it’s singing. When I’m in front of people, I just evolve. Before our first show, I told Jono (the other half of the band): ‘I’m going to go ape, full-out, super extra’.”
Whether it's their solo project, or as part of Two Steps On The Water, June Jones has been making music that is achingly emotional. Her new album, Leafcutter, discusses her experiences as a trans woman, and invites you into her world, creating electronic soundscapes that captivate.
Speaking to NME about the album, she says that she's not afraid to talk about deeply personal topics in her music. “It’s less scary than other ways of writing songs. Because I have a lot of experience doing it – I had a band before this. If anything, that was a time of equally raw songwriting where I felt more vulnerable, so that was scarier. I feel more stable as a person [now], which is a better foundation for that kind of expression.”
RVG are one of Melbourne's best live bands. Initially the solo project of trans woman Romy Vager, the band's reputation has steadily grown since their 2017 debut A Quality Of Mercy, and their 2020 album Feral continued their momentum.
It's an album that could soundtrack the end of days, which is what the last 12 months have felt like, in many ways. However, it's an album that doesn't feel defeatist. There's a sense of triumph in the music, as the band navigates their way through '80s post-punk sounding compositions, mixed with a healthy dose of Britpop.