queer music mixtape

New Tove Lo, Miki Ratsula, and More on This Week’s Queer Music Mixtape

Welcome back to INTO’s Queer Music Mixtape, your #1 hub for all things new LGBTQ+ music. Here, we’re covering the hottest releases of the week in one handy guide.

While Pride festival DJs dust off their gay anthem records, plenty of LGBTQ+ artists are coming out with their own takes on old favorites. Not all of this week’s new covers are exactly queer mainstays, but you’ll have to read on and find out what we mean!

Meanwhile, the newest of the new releases are ready to tear up the stage. From Dallas to D.C. and beyond, plenty of talented newcomers are stepping into their light this week.

We’ve included Instagram links in each byline, streaming links below for your convenience, and a full Queer Music Mixtape playlist from our Spotify page to keep you rocking out for hours to come!

Get your playlists ready for the new additions from this week’s Queer Music Mixtape:

“I like u” by Tove Lo

Tove Lo dropped what was easily one of the best albums of 2022 just this past October, and she’s already back with a second post-Dirt Femme single. We don’t know what prompted her to pop on some anime eye makeup, take over a full karaoke bar, and pump out some of the truest Eurodance music of the year so far, but consider this our full endorsement. Gays just finally got their blood pressure back to a normal level after last month’s “Padam Padam”, and here comes Tove Lo with more pulse-pounding pop. Good luck out there, y’all.

Stream Tove Lo on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“blue balloons” by Miki Ratsula feat. Semler

If there’s one thing Miki Ratsula is gonna deliver, it’s a heartbreaking little trans duet. In this installment, they team up with Semler to deliver a story of being misgendered by someone close to them at their own birthday party. The lines “I’m not mad, I’m not upset/ But you’ve known me all these years, and not my pronouns yet” are achingly familiar to any trans people trying to keep connections alive with folks who still haven’t gotten with the program yet. Extra points for giving us a gorgeous “It’s My Party” palate cleanser after Coi Leray used the Lesley Gore hit for evil last month.

Stream Miki Ratsula on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

Stream Semler on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

Charmed by The Aquadolls

On their new album Charmed, The Aquadolls revisit the classic surf sound that their name denotes on tracks like “Spotlight” and “Beachy”, while also branching out into harder rock with songs like “Burn Baby Burn” and “Scream”. Even with their widening sonic range, there’s a clear constant throughout: whether they’re jamming on the beach or issuing challenges to gender norms and capitalism, you can tell they’re having a hell of a time doing it.

Stream The Aquadolls on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Mommy Issues” by Jules Paymer

Honestly? It’s equality. Who says gays calling each other “daddy” should get to corner the market on proving Freud right? A nonbinary artist putting out a mommy issues jam is actually a diversity win. The “Stacy’s Mom”-esque pop rock feel on it really adds to the effectiveness of this maternally-marred track. However you feel about Oedipus knocking on the front door here, this track is fun, hot, and a little messy; what’s more Pride month than that? P.S., hats off to whoever wins Jules’ “I HEART MILFS” trucker hat giveaway, we’re deeply jealous.

Stream Jules Paymer on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

SWELTER by Miss Benny

The SWELTER era has officially hit its climax. While we hope that this EP is part of a larger project to come (we’ve just missed her a lot!), this era’s specific grungy-country-beauty aesthetics have been a perfect intro to summer 2023. As a fellow DFW native, it all feels familiar: the denim shorts, the wet heat, the emotional rawness resonating throughout. It’s scratching that itch that Kacey Musgraves touched on in Troye Sivan‘s “Easy” remix video back in 2020, but in a more realized way. The shredding riffs of “Break Away”, the classic ’00s pop balladry of “Rush To You”, the coded vocals on “Hiding My Heart”, and more all come together to paint an intriguing musical picture here.

Stream Miss Benny on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” by Bentley Robles feat. Tom Aspaul

We had something else in mind when we asked that genie to let us see Bentley Robles and Tom Aspaul collab, but this is super fun too! Part of being gay is having the energy of ABBA running through your veins, so naturally these two know how to bring it to the max. The original “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!” Odyssey synth intro already hits like a headrush, but the production on this version sprinkles a little sonic molly over the whole thing in a perfectly pleasing way.

Stream Bentley Robles on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

Stream Tom Aspaul on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“How Will I Know” by ZEE MACHINE

While Tom and Bentley take on Eurovision’s best, resident synthpop hottie Zee Machine tackles a truly tall order this week. One doesn’t cover a Whitney Houston dance number lightly, lest you end up with an “It’s Not Right But It’s Okay (Glee Cast Version)”-level mess on your hands; instead, Zee handles this all-time schoolgirl crush anthem with aplomb. Whitney’s exact vein of joyous desperation in the original is something inimitable, but this artist captures all the bombast of puppy love with his own natural flair.

Stream ZEE MACHINE on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Over and Over” by Becca Mancari

Featuring back-up vocals from boygenius star Julian Baker, nonbinary artist Becca Mancari’s latest single is a queer love letter if there’s ever been one. The tracks ruminates on the hard spots of life with lines like “Line cook, janitor, that year I was invisible/ Back in the closet, celibate, but we don’t have to talk about it” while also acknowledging the joy that’s been ever-present. Not only has it always been around, but it’ll return “Over and Over” again, no matter what. It’s kind of like if “It Gets Better” had genuine emotional depth (and a catchy groove) to it.

Stream Becca Mancari on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“A Bridge Burned Down” by Bryce Bowyn

Pop up-and-comer Bryce Bowyn hit June running with a fun, spicy, bluegrass-infused track about burning bridges (think less “This Hell” cowgirl sass and more “You Should Be Sad” jaded twang). With Pride month gigs already lined up, he’s set to scorch the stage with this high energy stomp-clap moment perfect for the summer heat. “Someone I really trusted – someone admired by many in my community – betrayed me last year,” Bowyn explains of the track’s origin. “It made me realize you can’t always play nice with people who don’t have your back. When someone shows you who they really are, believe them and burn that bridge down.” 

Stream Bryce Bowyn on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Proud Boi” by Cuee

With “Proud Boi”, Chicago rapper Cuee is taking the “proud” moniker a certain sect of bigots have been co-opting for years and is reclaiming it for good. He lets you know what it is from the jump, opening the track with a chant of “Black, brown, and queer” that he revisits in the chorus. He touches on the inescapable ubiquity of the queer community with lines like “Check this, we up in your bathrooms/ bank drive-thrus, making the cash move/ A lover, a friend, up in the classroom/ Hell, gonna be your dad soon”. How could you not live?

Stream Cuee on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“West Coast” by Eddie the Kidd

Described by the artist as “perfect for a drive into the sunset”, Dallas bop-maker Eddie the Kidd hopes that you pair this casual summer tune “with fresh strawberries and lemonade.” Following the touching, hopelessly romantic single “Weird”, “West Coast” gives us more sweet crush content, this time with a full “summer love” angle to it. Put this alongside tracks like “Your Car” by John Conlin or “I LOVE U” by Nicky Buell to get a fun, crushy, gay indiepop summer playlist going!

Stream Eddie the Kidd on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

“Cotton Eyed Joe” by Rufus Wainwright feat. Chaka Khan

There are so many questions that could be asked as to how Rufus Wainwright convinced Chaka Khan to hop on a “Cotton Eyed Joe” cover for his new Folkocracy album, but why would one ever question greatness? Instead, we just sit back and admire two gay community faves putting a soulful spin on a song last popularized by a ’90s Eurodance group called “Rednex”. This classy rendition officially reinstates the dropped “D” from the end of “Cotton Eyed”, but stops just short of referring to him as Joseph. Absolutely no notes.

Stream Rufus Wainwright on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

Stream Chaka Khan on Spotify | Apple Music | YouTube

Get out there, tear up a slow Cotton Eyed line-dance, and meet us back here next week for another Queer Music Mixtape!

Keep the tunes going with our official Queer Music Mixtape playlist:

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