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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Pop Making Sense
Extended for the Online Edition
by David Byrne with Tony Peregrin
2008-06-18

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Folk icon Ferron's 14th album, Boulder, serves as a cornerstone in her musical legacy. The set is produced by queer musician and fan Bitch, save 'In the Meantime,' which is produced by Bitch and LeTigre's JD Samson. Not unlike Loretta Lynne's collaboration with Jack White on Van Lear Rose or Marianne Faithful's work with PJ Harvey on Before the Poison, Boulder shows off the brilliance of cross-generational pairings. Ani DiFranco is also contributing, as are The Indigo Girls' Amy Ray and Emily Sailers, through separate appearances. These cameos do not overshadow Ferron's knack for storytelling or her trademark worn vocals. 'In the Meantime' stands out, courtesy of Samson's subtle electronic touches. Boulder is out now on Bitch's label Short Story Records.

Pictured: Robbyne Kaamil

San Francisco sensation Joshua Klipp's full-length debut is aptly titled Won't Stop Now. In 2006, I dubbed his track 'Little Girl' as the duet of the year; here, Klipp pairs up his pre- and post-transitional voices. Then in 2007, I heralded his uplifting 'L1FE' as the song of the year. 'L1FE' has been reworked by San Francisco DJ Jamie J Sanchez. The Club Mix flawlessly keeps elements of the original and infuses tribal beats, whereas the Traxx Remix is HI-NRG at its best. Just try not to throw your hands in the air upon hearing Sanchez's magical touches. The follow up to Klipp's hit video 'Rescue Me' is the romantic R&B clip to 'Tell Me The … ,' which costars trans Catwalk Pageant winner Asia Vitale.

With remixes by Harry 'Choo Choo' Romero, Richard Vission and Trevor Simpson, Lady GaGa's 'Just Dance' is looking pretty in the top 10 on Billboard's Dance Club Airplay charts. 'Just Dance' is infectious, as the buzzworthy Lady GaGa wows listeners with some Christina Aguilera-styled wailing, but without overdoing it. The blonde New Yorker owes her moniker to the Queen song 'Radio GaGa' and her much-anticipated debut, The Fame, is due out later this summer on Interscope Records. After appearing at L.A Pride parties and the Windy City Gay Idol finals ( see page 14 ) , Lady GaGa is scheduled to perform at San Francisco Pride events this month.

Also on the DIY-dance-tip is out artist Nicky Click. From her sophomore album I'm On My Cell Phone, 'Fuck Machine' has emerged as an electro-anthem, whereas 'It's Complicated' reveals personal relationship drama. But Click can also slow it down some, as she turns up the heat on the sultry yet hypnotic mid-tempo number 'Utter Despair and Chocolate Eclairs.' She steers clear of the dance floor on the folksy 'Dreams of a Dreamer.' This Estrojam veteran's heavy tour schedule has allowed Click to share the stage with other queer indie artists like The Gossip and ScreamClub.

Ellen DeGeneres compares the fact that same-sex couples cannot marry to the not-so-distant days when women could not vote. Similarly, singer-songwriter Robbyne Kaamil ( Pictured ) draws comparisons to the struggle to legalize gay marriage to the groundbreaking civil-rights case Loving v. Virginia, whereby it was overturned that it was illegal for interracial couples to marry. As a phoenix, Kaamil's dance anthem 'Free to Love' is born. Over throwback Chicago house-inspired beats, Kaamil's big voice asks, 'Do you wanna be free to love?' and proclaims, 'We shall overcome one day.' Appropriately, Marriage Equality USA features 'Free to Love' on its Web site. Not only is Kaamil an international dance vocalist, but she is also an advice diva for Dlist.com .

On the cover of her debut outing L-E-G-E-N-D-S, Renee Zawawi wears a skirt made up of flags representing various countries and a top designed out of Old Glory. This Philadelphia native finds pride in her uniqueness on the opening number, 'American Girrrl,' by declaring, 'I am an American girl with an accent … with wide black eyes that have seen the world … it's my turn to say what I want.' Zawawi has a chirping voice reminiscent of Stacey Q and Altered Images. Her bow offers light dance-pop music with a dose of eastern flavoring to spice it up. 'American Girrrl' was nominated for best international dance song at The Toronto Exclusive Magazine Awards.

Dubbed the world's number-one transsexual, Amanda Lepore has released the remix collection Fierce Pussy. The Manhattan club fixture has appeared in music videos by Texan female rock trio Girl in a Coma ( 'Road to Home' ) , queer East Coast rapper Cazwell ( 'Watch My Mouth' ) and Euro-dance outfit Tiga ( 'Sunglasses at Night' ) , and even modeled as a DJ on the cover of the Lords of Acid's remix project, Expand Your Head. It is only fitting that Lepore steps up to the mic. With a cover of the Waitress' '80s classic 'I Know What Boys Like' and material penned by Cazwell and Larry Tee, the often-photographed celebrity makes these songs her own. On 'My Hair Looks Fierce,' nobody else can pull off singing, 'I don't know much about clothes, but my hair looks fierce.' This song can be heard on the Oxygen network's reality show Tease. As a precursor to her forthcoming full-length debut Brand New Woman, Lepore's Fierce Pussy is out now.


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