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Noisy, Bloody, & Ready: Highlighting 6 Genre-Defying Black Musicians

Black and red heading featuring six alternative black musicians: Spelling, M Lamar, Divide and Dissolve, Backxwash, Yves Tumor, and Moor Mother.


Ahhh...February. Does anyone else love February as much as I do? For me, this is the ultimate celebratory month for many reasons: it’s a time for amor, birthday festivities (shout out to my fellow Aquarius babes), and fantastically crisp weather.

Not only that, but it’s the month when the U.S. puts in a bit of effort to celebrate the power, beauty, and strength of Black Americans. Do I believe that most American corporations & organizations are simply paying lip service to Black people, even more so during Black History Month? Of course. Can I admit that it says a lot to even have a Black History Month, especially in a country that has been (and continues to be) historically racist? Most definitely. Progress is happening at a glacial pace...but it is happening, and that’s something. 

Here at Three of Swords, we are dedicated to recognizing and commemorating Black lives, particularly those within goth/alt spaces. Whether it’s February, July, or December, our goal remains the same, and that is to put people of color at the forefront of the scene. In honor of this year’s Black History Month, we thought this would be the perfect time to highlight 6 alternative Black musicians that dazzle us, move us, and inspire us to master our own craft. 



Genre: Art pop/baroque pop

Latest album: The Turning Wheel (2021) 

For fans of: Kate Bush, Caroline Polachek

Fun fact: Her latest album earned a 10/10 on music critic Anthony Fantano’s The Needle Drop



Genre: Experimental hip hop/industrial

Latest album: I Lie Here Buried with My Rings and My Dresses (2021)

For fans of: clipping., Moor Mother

Fun fact: She considers the perfect album to be Danny Brown’s Atrocity Exhibition.



Genre: Doom metal/sludge

Latest album: Gas Lit (2020)

For fans of: King Woman, The Body

Fun fact: Their music is inspired by dismantling white supremacy and uplifting Black and Indigenous lives/experiences, and their social media is full of thought-provoking discourse. Definitely give them a follow on IG if you haven’t already done so! 



Genre: Experimental hip hop/noise/free jazz

Latest album: Black Encyclopedia of the Air (2021) 

For fans of: clipping., Shabazz Palaces

Fun fact: She has recently written a poetry book titled Jazz Codes, which will be published and accompanied with an album of the same name this year. 



Genre: Art rock/experimental/electronic

Latest albumHeaven to a Tortured Mind (2020)

For fans of: Arca, Smerz 

Fun fact: They just released a new video a few hours ago - Secrecy Is Incredibly Important To The Both of Them


6. M. LAMAR 

Genre: Experimental/opera/doom metal

Latest albumLordship & Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman (2019) 

For fans of: Lingua Ignota, Liturgy

Fun fact: Similar to some of the artists previously mentioned, Lamar’s work is inspired by a wide range of topics: historical trauma, Black masculinity, racial fetishization, queer identity, and many more. 


Did I miss any of your favorites? Highlighting all of my favorite Black alternative artists would take days (honestly, probably months), so I’m sure that I did! Feel free to reach out with any recommendations via IG or e-mail, and I’ll be sure to add them to the list. 

- Anya