Friday, July 19, 2024

Trans-led band The FMs announce inaugural queer annual Frankie Fest

The FMs have announced the first-ever Frankie Fest – an annual queer rock festival honoring the legacy of Frankie Rex – taking place on May 11 at Coney Island USA.

The event, which will also serve as the record release party for PINK + BLACK, will feature the first performance from The FMs in over four years – and the first-ever without Frankie. Frankie Fest highlights a range of cutting-edge, NYC-based queer performers showcasing indie rock, goth, riot grrrl, punk, metal, and more.

The inaugural Frankie Fest lineup is as follows:

  • Pink Velvet Witch
  • Jordan Fiction
  • Villains
  • Llynks
  • The FMs
  • Frida Kill
  • Miss Cherry Delight. 

Tickets are available now. Doors at 4pm, shows until 10pm. Frankie Fest is a benefit for CFLC (Chosen Family Law Center). Proceeds benefiting CFLC’s new “Frankie Maddox Rex Memorial Fund” will support low-income TNBGNC New Yorkers with free legal services to support the dignity and safety they deserve, including name changes, support with identity documents, asylee green card applications, and medical advance directives.

It comes hot on the heels of the FMs announcing the release of PINK + BLACK, out on May 10. Their sophomore double album was completed the moment the pandemic started and is now making its release after the tragic death of singer Frankie Rex in 2022 from fentanyl poisoning, the trans-led band recorded the album on an old ferry boat docked in the middle of Bushwick, Brooklyn. 

PINK + BLACK spans themes of queer sexual irreverence, the nature of dreams and human connection, and hope for the future of gender freedom. Produced by bandleader Matte Namer, with Brian Forbes acting as co-producer and mix engineer. The material highlights Namer’s love of analog synthesizers combined with etherial guitars and takes a more psychedelic and emotionally dynamic turn as compared to their debut album spanning themes from sexual irreverence, the nature of dreams and human connection, to hope for the future of gender freedom.

The album is sonically ambitious and thematically expansive, yet presents with a unified concept and feel within the context of The FMs journey.

“The concept for PINK + BLACK began seven years ago and includes over a thousand hours of blood, sweat and tears put into the recording process. This is Frankie’s legacy and the world deserves to hear it,” says Matte Namer. 

Of the lead single and video for “Transformation Dreams,” Matte Namer shares: “Working with NYC trans filmmaker & musician Dylan Mars Greenberg, we wanted to create a video for ‘Transformation Dreams’ that was both narrative but not based solely in current practical reality. It transcends time, the mortal realm, and gender but culminates in a message of hope and love.

“The song’s lyrics are delivered from different periods of time, and the song took on an entirely new meaning after Frankie passed away and I wrote a new chorus for it. The film is somewhat autobiographical in nature for both Frankie and I as it follows a version of myself living in a dystopic future like world full of traumatic patriarchal messaging and then that character discovers a queer universe where Frankie is undergoing gender affirmation surgery. We see the news that Frankie has passed on, and the video continues with me undergoing gender affirmation surgery and exploding out into a kaleidoscope of hope, love and the true freedom to express our queer and trans selves. Ultimately I have inherited Frankie’s hopes and dreams for transformation and push back against the idea that a life cut short means a life of failure.”

More about The FMs

NYC high school friends Matte Namer (vox, guitar, bass, synths) and Frankie Rex (vox, guitar) began The FMs in 2016, thematically finding common ground with their respective journeys coming out as transgender, and sonically relating to their love of synthesizer rock.

In 2022, Frankie Rex passed away from a fentanyl overdose culminating a six year journey which saw The FMs record three full length LPs (two of which are being released posthumously), and create an entire community around their illegal SVBVERT shows on an old ferry boat in the industrial canals of Bushwick, Brooklyn where they also recorded their Machinacene Epoch (2017) & PINK + BLACK LPs. 

The FMs have a traditional approach to the creation of albums, believing that each release should have its own identity and be a standalone sonic statement. Their debut LP Machinacene Epoch, produced by Namer, was an irreverent mix of 90s psychedelic-industrial grunge and dance pop. From this jumping off point, The FMs music gradually moved in a softer more ethereal direction and the content became more personal. Their sophomore double LP (PINK + BLACK) was produced by Namer between 2017-2020 with her spending over 2000 hours on the recording in their underwater studio tinkering with her analog synths. PINK + BLACK is a sonic odyssey pulling from early synth pioneers such as Brian Eno, Kraftwerk, Gary Numan & Pink Floyd but is grounded in the songwriting and edge of 90s rock bands a la Nirvana.

After the death of Frankie Rex in 2022, Namer reformed The FMs in 2024 with a new lineup of trans-musicians recording and performing all new material inspired by lo-fi dream pop, classic disco, new wave and post punk. 

Pre-order/pre-save PINK + BLACK here.

The FMs: Official Site / YouTube / Instagram / Facebook

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