Las Vegas gender and genre bending diva Shamir recently announced his debut full-length, Ratchet, and it seems like plenty more big looks are on the way for him. The album’s rubbery lead single “On The Regular” is now soundtracking a Google Smart Watch commercial. It’s just a coincidence that Google debuted this commercial on the same day that Apple announced their own smart watch is out 4/25, right? Tech wars, man.
Newly signed to XL Recordings, the smoking-hot label launching pad of acts like Adele, Vampire Weekend and Jai Paul, Shamir — dreadlocked, lanky, stylish and decidedly feminine — is quickly earning cred in what I’ve previously referred to as the post-closet black overground, populated by queer and queer-ish 21st century acts like Azealia Banks, Zebra Katz and Mykki Blanco. Shamir’s real claim to fame is his high-pitched, almost pre-pubescent tenor. It’s immediately distinctive and arresting, though it will only really unsettle or disturb if you’ve never heard singers like Jermaine Stewart, Sylvester or Antony Hegarty before. Shamir’s newest single, “On the Regular,” marks the first time we’re hearing him rhyme over a beat instead of croon. With its cowbell-prominent production and optimistic synth changes, “On the Regular” is the exuberant sound of a novice exploring the possibilities of alternative electronic dance music with no real rulebook or manual at his disposal