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Perpetual Change — Year End Musical Gift Ideas

| Dec 21, 2009
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Through the years, I’ve always tried to do something a bit different for the end-of-year December installment of Perpetual Change. It’s sort of gotten to the point, though, where it would be redundant to discuss Walkin’ Round In Women’s Underwear for the umpteenth time. However, in wanting to maintain a semblance of Christmas spirit, I came up with the idea of offering a musical gift guide, sort of like the annual gift guide of whacked out, useless stuff Dave Berry publishes every year.

Most of the artists featured in this column have CDs available. Thanks to all the social networking sites, many also have videos and single song downloads out there as well.

One of the perks of writing about music comes in the form of pre-release advance copies of an artists latest project. I’ve amassed quite a collection over the years, both trans artists and trans-friendly artists. Many of the trans friendly artists seem to be working mostly in the genre of dance music. This is kind of fortunate when you consider that club life for the GLBT community revolves greatly around the dance floor. So, just like the trans community contains within itself incredible diversity, so do the artists and music presented by trans friendly artists. For your dining and hopefully dancing pleasure, please consider this a last minute stimulus/shopping binge reference guide for Christmas, 2009.

Fritz Helder and The Phantoms “Greatest Hits: Platinum Edition”


Contains all dance tracks, interspersed with various phone messages about organizing an evening out that turns into a traveling party. This is the New York based band’s debut project. A very fashion/glam oriented band, with a definite transgender vibe, at least from a couple of the members.

The band consists of Fritz Helder-keyboards, keytar, lead vocals; Pastel Supernova-vocals; Diego Superstar-beats, keys, vocals; Silk Helder-guitar, vocals. Musically, while the album is all dance oriented, elements of hip-hop, rap, and even rock are used. There’s a real Rocky Horror influence as well. Glam meets electronica for sure.

The band has an extensive web site and can  also can be found on MySpace.

Agnes “Release Me”

Agnes is the youngest ever Pop Idol winner from Sweden, which is that country’s version of American Idol. My copy was the single only, but if the rest of her album is this danceable, then it’ll earn a lot of play time in clubs. Check it online.

Carmen Reece
Carmen Reece

Carmen Reece “Love In Stereo”

Not everything on her album is dance music, since she covers a wide range of genres. The stand out tracks are the title cut, “Love In Stereo” and the piano ballad, “Long Goodbye”. Website.

La Roux “Bulletproof”

Basically, this is another promotional CD, with various remixes of the title track Bulletproof which in itself is a very good dance groove. La Roux is extremely popular in Europe and has been touring the US out West, playing limited engagements. MySpace and

Lolene “Electric Hotel”

Once again, the promo on this was the single, Sexy People, which is the first release from the album. Excellent dance material, though. Online at and MySpace

Ledisi “Turn Me Loose”


This is Ledisi’s second album, and while I’ve never heard of her until now, she’s going to be a force in R&B and dance. Her cover of the old Buddy Miles song, Them Changes, is worth the price of the whole album. Other standout tracks (the most danceable ones) are Runnin’, Please Stay, and Trippin’. There’s a good rock moment in Knockin’ and Ledisi shows her gospel background with The Answer To Why. This lady should be a force to reckon with in the near future.Online at


This rather young singer comes out with some amazing dance tracks on her self titled first recording, with tracks like Addicted2Me, The Heat, and the world music inspired Columbia. Definitely material you can hear in a club. Online at

David Guetta “One Love”

guettaThis is the fourth studio album from this well known hip-hop/dance producer. Performances from artists such as Kelly Rowland, Chris Willis, Akon, Kid Cudi, Novel, Ne-Yo, Will.I.Am, Apl De Ap, and Estelle, make the entire project pure dance music.Online at, MySpace and on YouTube.

Blake Lewis “Heartbreak On Vinyl”

Blake Lewis was runner-up on the sixth season of American Idol. He lost to Jordan Sparks that year. This is his second album, and almost all of it is dance music. Our Rapture Of Love is one of the better vocals, along with the mid-tempo song The Point.
Online at You can search for him on MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter)

Bebel Gilberto “All In One”


This isn’t a dance album, but I’ve included it here because I found it to be truly an enjoyable album. Gilberto is a Brazilian singer, originally born in New York. She has three previous albums along with extensive stage and recording experience. Some of the album is sung in Portuguese, and of course there are the percussion-heavy moments you’d expect to find in anything truly South American. There’s also some great guitar playing and excellent arrangements. For anyone seeking a very pleasant musical experience, Bebel Gilberto’s All In One is a must listen. Her website features photos and songs.

I’d also like to mention just a few of the albums I’ve heard from some of the various artists actually featured in Perpetual Change over the years. Now, I realize my musicial tastes are not those of the general public, but these are albums I’d highly recommend because I like either the style, the musicianship, and even in some cases, the production values involved.

Robert Urban’s albums, particualarlly Rock Widow and Elegies are favorites. Robert’s an amazing musician/producer, who travels back and forth from rock to progressive in most of his work.

Donna Austin is a Texas based female blues guitarist who really has some chops. Her Collection Of Songs plus several other tracks can be accessed through

I thoroughly enjoyed both albums by Canadian rockers The Cliks — Snakehouse and Dirty King. Both are available through and

Transposition, a self-produced, 2 CD project by the Tennessee band Chameleon Red is an amazing piece of work. It’s a concept rock album about the trans experience, entirely recorded and produced by the band. There’s some excellent musicianship here.

Georgie Jessup is not only an accomplished musician, but is a well known writer and gender/Native American activist. She has several albums out, but American Holocaust is probably her best known, and definitely is a personal favorite.

Mapes as Yolanda

Roger Anthony Yolanda Mapes House Of Joy, just released, is probably the best work to date by this artist. In the coming year, I’m going to start doing reviews, and House Of Joy is definitely on the list.

As a fan of instrumental music, the next two artists are favorites of mine. Englishwoman Natalie B.’s self-produced Rock & Roll En Femme is part progressive, part jazz. Her guitar voicings will sound familiar to anyone who remembers what Peter Gabriel-era Genesis sounded like. She has other projects out, and being across the pond, her music is hard to come by, but it’s worth it. Check it out online at

Upright jazz bassist Jennifer Leitham is a personal favorite, and the three solo albums under her name, Two For The Road, The Real Me, and Left Coast Story, are a must for any serious jazz fan. Ms. Leitham has never hidden her transsexual status, and her older albums under the name John Leitham are still promoted by her. There’s not enough space in this column to list all her other recording credits, which include a stint with Mel Tormé, but they are legion. She is a true artist.

Well, for those who wish to give the gift of music, I hope this has been helpful. To the best of our knowledge, all Internet addresses are viable, plus most of the music listed will probably be available through web retailers such as and CDBaby.

To all our readers, Perpetual Change wishes you a Merry Christmas and a Happy 2010. Thanks for your patronage and for making 2009 a great year.

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Category: Music

Pam Degroff

About the Author ()

Pamela DeGroff been writing for TGForum since the start of 1999. Her humor column, The Pamela Principle, ran until 2005. She started the Perpetual Change music column in May of 1999, and in 2008, Angela Gardner came up with the idea for the Transvocalizers column and put Pam to work on that. Pamela was a regular contributor to Transgender Community News until that magazine's demise. While part of a support group in Nashville called The Tennessee Vals she began writing for their newsletter, and also wrote for several local GLBT alternative newspapers in Tennessee. Pamela is currently a staff reporter for a small town daily paper in Indiana, and is also a working musician.

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