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LIFE

Album of the Week: Gay Dog Food by Mykki Blanco

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 November, 2014, 11:15pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 November, 2014, 11:15pm

Gay Dog Food
Mykki Blanco
UNO

Is Mykki Blanco the future? Like his Brooklyn counterpart Shamir, Blanco heralds a new era of gender play, along with a new generation of audiences comfortable with queer identity. The Village Voice just put him on its cover, above the caption "Gender Ninja".

Blanco swaps identities like outfits - now a jewelled bikini, now a gown, now shirtless in jeans and a backwards hat like a dude from the block. The music video for his track Wavvy is a fantastically raunchy gothic head-trip. The pure power of Blanco's don't-give-a-damn aura is impressive in and of itself.

But it also leads him into well-trod territory: queer artist as performance artist. His focus tends towards form over content, and the music often feels like a hurried and impulsive afterthought, a vehicle for his personae.

Perhaps Blanco's aware of this. On New Feelings, he muses: "You know, I need to realise that I need to quiet the promotion in my mind/I need to think about something besides my f****** self."

His music is never easy, often razor-edged. It's buoyed by Blanco's wicked sense of humour, but the humour ultimately serves to distance the listener. The aggression that bubbles beneath Blanco's music bespeaks an intelligent, critical stance. His approach to gender politics never rests in a comfortable position, his performance flies in the face of academic orthodoxy.

If Blanco could take himself, and us, more seriously, the result might be seriously explosive.