That is so gay

Both Out magazine and the Advocate have published music issues in the past month.

One of the most annoying gay stereotypes is "gay == disco". Unfortunately, it’s one stereotype with empirical evidence. Gay men love their club music, divas and musicals, and when it comes to rock music, leave that to the lesbians.

That said, both magazines have done a nice job of trying to cover a broader view of gay musicians.

I’m not an Out reader by any leap of the imagination — the only other issue I have has a really nice photo spread of the beautiful Jesse L. Martin (Rent, Law & Order). But of the two publications, I prefer the coverage of Out’s music issue.

The centerpiece is a featherweight interview with Madonna (their first!), but the other articles in the set are far better. Among the artists mentioned: The Ark, Ex-Boyfriends, William Scott, Tori Fixx, Joel Gibb of the Hidden Cameras, Gentleman Reg, Jinx Titanic, Purr Bats, Scandelle and Garrin Benfield.

There’s also a helpful comparrison chart along the "recommended-if-you-like" lines that mentions Antony and the Johnsons, Hey Willpower, The Gossip, Mary Gauthier and Melissa Ferrick.

A speculative piece about Luther Vandross, a short interview with Michale Buble and an … appealing picture of Ricky Martin round out Out’s coverage.

The Advocate, on the other hand, goes for the quick buck, focusing its coverage on a pair of shirtless twinks calling themselves Dangerous Muse. Huh. I think I’ll stick to the Muse that sounds like Radiohead.

Other artists covered include Rachel Sage and the Ditty Bops, while their own interview with Ex-Boyfriends is a bit more extensive.

The Adovcate includes music reviews in its regular coverage, but for this issue, it covers a diverse range of artists — Morrissey, Dan Fishback, Larry Levan and Billy MacKenzie.

The Advocate, being advocates, has been criticized for prioritzing coverage by how far out of the closet a public figure is. In 1999, Stephin Merritt was the toast of the music press for releasing 69 Love Songs and to whom did the Advocate give a full page photo? Toshi Reagon.

That said, I got the sense the artists covered in the Advocate were selected more for their visibility in gay circles than for their music.

What makes it odder is the fact neither member of Dangerous Muse would label themselves "gay". They may have had sex with other men, but why get saddled with that "gay" tag? For a magazine with such a pro-active stance, it’s odd they would prominently feature two guys who won’t self-identify.

But they’re shirtless, and they’re twinks, so …

More helpful is the magazine’s Top 10 gay indie artists from its year-end best coverage in the Jan. 17, 2006 issue. The list includes Benfield, Fixx, Ari Gold, Sacha Sacket, Dylan Rice, KJ Denhert, Christine Havrilla and others.

I’ve been listening to Ex-Boyfriends, Sacket and Rice, and I’m certain you’ll be reading more expanded reviews of their music in a future entry.

If you’re interested in picking up these particular periodicals, look for the April 2006 issue of Out, and the April 26, 2006 issue of the Advocate.