Mitski / Photo via Facebook

Q-Music: Listen to the Songs She Sings

New queer music to listen to for Women’s History Month

While there isn’t anything on “Nothing’s Gonna Stand In My Way Again” (Bloodshot Records) as unexpectedly funky as “Heaven” from her 2016 album “Real,” Lydia Loveless does take her fans in some new and exciting directions. An alt-country diva of the highest order, Loveless leans more toward “alt” on these 10 songs. However, she never completely abandons the twang or the trill on “Poor Boy,” “Sex and Money,” “Toothache,” and “Do The Right Thing.” Loveless is also capable of creating beautifully soulful tunes, as is evident on “Summerlong,” “Runaway” and “Ghost.”

On her 2022 album, “Laurel Hell,” Mitski explored synth-pop, giving listeners two irresistible dance tracks: “The Only Heartbreaker” and “Stay Soft.” Her new album, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We” (Dead Oceans) is a more organic effort and even features pedal steel guitar (“I Don’t Like My Mind,” “Heaven,” and “The Frost”). There is also a lushness, represented by the presence of a choir (“Bug Like An Angel,” “My Love Mine All Mine”), strings (“The Deal,” “Heaven”), brass and woodwinds (“When Memories Snow”). All in all, “The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We” is a stunning effort by an artist who never fails to dazzle us.

Winner of the 2023 Polaris Music Prize, Debby Friday is a Canadian electronic music artist who clearly made an impression with her debut album, “Good Luck” (Sub Pop). It’s easy to see how, beginning with the empowering titular opening track, which sounds like it arrived from the future via musical time machine. “So Hard To Tell” is forward-looking soul music, and “I Got It,” featuring Uñas, and “Hot Love,” are rapid-fire club bangers that are sure to wear you out. Friday’s talent for experimentation can be experienced on “Safe” and “Pluto Baby.”

If fans of the aforementioned Mitski, as well as Sharon Van Etten, Weyes Blood, and Angel Olsen don’t already have Squirrel Flower (aka Ella Williams) in heavy rotation, they don’t know what they’re missing. “Tomorrow’s Fire” (Polyvinyl) begins with the gorgeous, layered vocals of opener, “i don’t use a trash can,” in which she vows not to change her sheets, possibly a reference to love that was that good. She shifts gears on the electrified songs, “Alley Light” (which has a kind of queer energy), “Full Time Job,” “Stick,” and “Intheskatepark,” before ending on the gently acoustic note of “Finally Rain.”

The most delightful female-led Japanese band since Pizzicato Five, Shonen Knife, Cibo Matto, or Puffy AmiYumi, Chai is bound for the club on its new eponymous Sub Pop album. You’d be wise to follow them and drink in the fabulous, spicy, and retro-inspired dance numbers, such as “Game,” “From 1992,” “Like, I Need,” “Karaoke,” “Para Para,” and “Neo Kawaii, K?”

Once you get past the unusual spelling of the name Spellling (aka Chrystia Cabral), you can dig into the music, which is well worth a listen. The 11-track album “Spellling & the Mystery School” (Sacred Bones) is a reimagining of songs from her previous releases, including 2017’s “Pantheon of Me,” 2019’s “Mazy Fly,” and 2021’s “The Turning Wheel.” Proving that Taylor Swift isn’t the only one who can pull off this sort of thing, Spellling’s new versions of “Always,” “Under The Sun,” “They Start the Dance,” “Haunted Water,” “Boys at School,” “Revolution,” and “Phantom Farewell” really sing!

Montreal-based La Force (aka Ariel Engle) has a musical style reminiscent of fellow Canadian Feist. This makes sense when you discover that, like Feist, La Force has performed with Broken Social Scene. To be clear, La Force is her own person, and distinctive songs such as “outrun the sun,” “how do you love a man,” “october,” “ouroboros,” and the title number go a long way toward establishing that fact.