10 Local LGBTQ Artists You Need to Hear

Ben Wevers of The Ben Wevers Trio, Maureen O'Sullivan Jazz Group, and OC Swing Band.
Ben Wevers of The Ben Wevers Trio, Maureen O'Sullivan Jazz Group, and OC Swing Band.
Courtesy Ben Weaver

With all the hub-bub surrounding the SCOTUS ruling, what better time than now for Orange County to learn about some LGBTQ artists in our community? Contrary to the belief that anything south of Long Beach is a cultural wasteland as far as LGBTQ identity is concerned, these artists have been thriving and creating awesome music, challenging the misconception that queer artists can only exist in LA, PDX, and NYC. After some digging, texting, and leaving no virtual rock unturned, I searched the corners of the county to bring some of OC's best queer artists right to your fingertips. Get ready to jump out from behind that rainbow filtered Facebook photo and put on your dancing shoes- in no particular order, behold 10 LGBTQ Orange County artists to listen to or see this summer!

WASI

Inspired by Le Tigre and Tegan and Sara, WASI bridge dance and punk with catchy hooks and synth. Buena Park lesbian duo Jessie Meehan and Cosmo Salazar started writing songs together in their high school project the Midol Poppers, and have been producing "riot-pop" gold ever since. Their new EP Bleed Pop was recently featured on AfterEllen and is available for download at

www.isawwasi.com

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Check out WASI July 18th at San Diego Pride 3620 30th St, San Diego, CA.

PopsicalSelf proclaimed "Gutter Glam" from Santa Ana, Popsical bridge grunge, '90s harmonies, experimental punk, and sass like it was mandate from the gods. Led by the fearless Genderqueer Chanteuse and bassist Josie Wreck, the trio have kept up a steady momentum since they formed in 2011, releasing a string of EP's and playing all over So Cal. Popsical are in the works of releasing a new record this summer, their previous EP "I Shit a Tear" is available for download at

https://popsical.bandcamp.com

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Check out Popsical July 9th at the World Famous Doll Hut 107 S Adams St. Anaheim.

10 Local LGBTQ Artists You Need to Hear

Ben Wevers Drumming powerhouse and transman, Ben Wevers is Orange County's best-kept jazz secret. After relocating to OC in 1988, Weaver got his start drumming in Top 40, R&B, funk, world-music, and rock bands. He found his love for jazz, and never looked back. In addition to playing drums for various trios, quartets and quintets around OC, Wvers currently drums for the 17 piece Orange County Swing Band, the Musical Theater Academy of Orange County, and The Maureen O'Sulllivan Jazz Group featuring Ron Kobayashi.

Check out Ben Wevers every first Sunday of the month from 1:00pm - 3:00pm with the Maureen O'Sullivan Jazz Group with Ron Kobayashi at Mozambique, 1740 S. Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 www.mozambiqueoc.com.

Byren Scott Adams

Multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and visual artist Byren Scott Adams is an OC native who draws inspiration from queerness, intersectional feminism, and crust punk. Previously with the band Palm Reader (alongside queer guitarist/singer Adi), his playful melodies and art-punk vocals and song writing style is reminiscent of late 70's So Cal punk with 21st century indie-pop sensibilities (think Screamers meets The Simpletones). Although Palm Reader disbanded in spring 2015, Adams is working on new music and art, and we can't wait to see and hear what's in store.

Palm Reader's 2013 release Unlucky is available for download at https://palmreaderoc.bandcamp.com/album/unlucky-2.

My Beautiful Leah

With roots in classical piano, tuba, bassoon, and drum line, it makes sense that Orange County based pansexual transman Jack Ananian's experimental heavy synth-pop arrangements sometimes swell with symphonic velocity. Driven by making honest meaningful art, Ananian uses broody vocals, analog synthesizers, and drum machines as a conduit for "emotional transfer and connection" via his recorded work and live performances. Although he's taking a one-year hiatus from live performance, his 2014 release "For You With Love" is available for download at

https://mybeautifulleahmusic.bandcamp.com

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