The Magnetic Fields have been around for 20 years now. They have released nine albums (including the epic three-disc 69 Love Songs) and they’re also responsible some of the very subversive songs in terms of gender and sexuality issues. Their first two albums, in particular, bundled on the Wayward Bus/Distant Plastic Trees compilation, are especially striking and ahead of their time nearly two decades since their release, including songs dealing with such matters as fanciful as bisexual werewolves or as serious as having a relationship with an FTM in a trans-hostile world. While Stephin Merritt, the band’s songwriter, is a cissexual gay man and often sings from what is presumably his own experience, he very convincingly writes through others’ perspectives, and confounds gender in his choice of singers.
The 69 Love Songs album also is fantastically diverse in its array of gender and sexuality perspectives and the frequent “mismatch” between the two. Anyone who’s a gender outlaw and likes literate, witty indie pop ought to give them a listen.