The last few months of 2017 have been somewhat of a reckoning for those who have committed acts of abuse or sexual violence, and in the onslaught of the many accused of such acts there have been numerous musicians. While we obviously celebrate the courage of the women coming forward, and justice being delivered to those who deserve it, the events of the last few months have left some of us in an awkward position regarding our love for music made by problematic people. Some of these artists have meant a lot to us, some of us have even gone as far as having their words permanently inked upon on bodies. Yet now many of us find ourselves unable to listen to these artists in the same way, knowing what we do know. Some of us would like to not support these people are more, but can't seem to find any alternative acts to listen to. No matter where you stand, if you're looking to give up on your problematic fave once and for all, we've got a couple of recommendations for you. In support of the vast majority of victims being women, we've also centered this list around women and LGBT+ artists.
1. Stop listening to Brand New, start listening to Tigers Jaw.
Though only Jesse Lacey was accused of sexual exploitation, it can be particularly hard to listen to a Brand New song, hearing Lacey's voice and knowing about what he did. Instead, I'd recommend Tigers Jaw, a younger emo-alt band that delivers equally cathartic and emotionally relatable material as Brand New. I particularly love their contrasting male/female vocals and jangly, nostalgic sound.
2. Stop listening to Crystal Castles, start listening to Crim3s (and Alice Glass).
This one was tough for me, as I have long loved Crystal Castles. CC also stands out amongst the bands listed, as it involved band member Alice Glass accusing fellow member Ethan Kath of a litany of offenses, including sexual assault and physical abuse. But, if you're like me and are having a hard time listening to them again, I'd first suggest listening to Alice Glass' solo material since she left Crystal Castles, as well as the English group Crim3s. A duo similar to Crystal Castles, Crim3s has the same type of frenetic, glitch-and-witch inspired style as CC, and vocalist Sadie Pinn is very reminiscent of Alice Glass.
3. Stop listening to PWR BTTM, start listening to HIRS.
Though it happened earlier this year, the accusations against PWR BTTM's Ben Hopkins shocked the music world. PWR BTTM was a hot, up-and-coming band that centered LGBT+ values and queer identity, and many fans felt betrayed by Hopkins' actions. If you're still feeling the hurt, I'd recommend checking out HIRS instead. They're more than a shade heavier and more aggressive than PWR BTTM, but their hardcore sound is cathartic as hell, and a nice outlet for channeling anger and frustration.
4. Stop listening to The Gaslamp Killer, start listening to Beats Antique.
The accusations against The Gaslamp Killer, a.k.a. William Bensussen are numerous, and his response to them has been deplorable and frustrating. If you're looking to ditch him, I'd recommend checking out Beats Antique, who draw from a variety of sources including jazz, hip-hop, dance, and world music to create an electric sound that is sure to get you moving.
5. Stop listening to R. Kelly, start listening to Mykki Blanco.
Honestly, the case against R. Kelly has been going on for years, and I have no idea how people still listen to him. Besides not being problematic af, Mykki Blanco is a queer P.O.C. icon, and beyond that, an incredible musician. He (Blanco uses
he pronouns with Mykki Blanco) has a fresh approach to rap that defies genres, and has collaborated with the likes of Princess Nokia and Charli XCX.
6. Stop listening to Front Porch Step, start listening to Waxahatchee.
Primarily an acoustic singer-songwriter, Front Porch Step was accused of sexual harassment several years ago, and his involvement with Warped Tour met with a great deal resistance. Instead, check out singer-songwriter Waxahatchee. She has plenty of awesome work as a solo artist and with a band, and I highly recommend her lo-fi acoustic tape Early Recordings
7. Stop listening to Pinegrove, start listening to Fun Home.
Pinegrove lead singer Evan Hall recently announced that he has been accused of sexual coercion, and in response, the band has cancelled their North American tour. If you're feeling iffy about still listening to them, I'd suggest checking out Fun Home, a fem-fronted and rad emo-alt band that effortlessly evokes a depth of emotions.
8. Stop listening to Chris Brown, start listening to KING.
Like R. Kelly, I'm not sure how people are still listening to Chris Brown. His history of abuses and assaults is well-known and unforgivable. KING, on the other hand, are an incredible R&B trio composed of three incredibly talented women, who were even once selected by Prince to open for him several years ago. Their music is complex, rich, and completely and utterly smooth.
9. Stop listening to Alex Calder, start listening to La Femme.
If you found yourself drawn to Alex Calder's sound, you might like La Femme a bit more. Eclectic, with some apparent surf rock and electronic roots, the French group has an amazing discography, and you'll look much more cultured to your friends playing them.
10. Stop listening to Melanie Martinez, start listening to FKA Twigs.
Melanie Martinez is the first woman to be accused of sexual assault in the post-Harvey Weinstein era, and her actions are as problematic and wrong as anyone else's. If you're looking for a replacement, I'd nominate FKA Twigs and her tremendous avant-pop sound.