Listen to Alter Boy's powerful new single Section 504, an anthem celebrating disability
The Perth-based band - known for their celebration of queerness and hard-of-hearing excellence - continues to strive.
If you're living in Perth and haven't heard of Alter Boy, then you're missing out on one of the most brilliant - and important - bands there is right now. Consisting of a trio of queer and hard-of-hearing musicians (that grow into a full six-piece on the live stage), Alter Boy create striking electro-pop that tell of stories and experiences you wouldn't be able to find anywhere else; blending electronic and pop with a slight touch of hip-hop and choir-esque vocals, all translated through a mix of AUSLAN and performance art in real life (which is where Alter Boy particularly excel).
Their debut single Frankenstein's Dream was an introduction to the group that they've built upon and evolved ever since, with last year's breakthrough combination of singles in Glitter and Bad Dream Break In particularly giving Alter Boy a national leg-up. It's been great to see, too. They bring a sense of visibility for both the deaf/hard-of-hearing music communities - often overlooked in the musical space - and the queer communities, who are able to dig into their stories and performances and find themselves in the lyricism of vocalist Molly/Aaron and how Laura and how Jack - the band's 'signers' - brings them to life through AUSLAN.
Their new single Section 504, however, goes a step beyond what we've seen so far. It's a powerful celebration of disability, paying homage to those in the US that fought in amending the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504, which brought equal right for those with disabilities in the US and, eventually, leading to similar revisions in Australia. Alter Boy tap into that strength to celebrate disability, validating the lives and experiences of those with disabilities while emphasising the struggles they must face in a day-to-day life, especially in an industry - like music - where accessibility is often overlooked.
"Part of Alter Boy’s mission is to challenge the music industry itself to include, represent and celebrate deaf and disabled people, and to consider alternatives to access and inclusion. We hope this song will serve to connect disabled people internationally and increase disabled representation within the arts," says Molly/Aaron, the band's lead vocalist. "Because disabled people aren't welcome to venues, because there’s no seating, or there are stairs, or there’s no accessible bathroom or no sensory-friendly zones, people who don't have disabilities can say, ‘Why do we need these accommodations when disabled people aren't coming?’, but the reality is they aren’t coming because there's no accessibility. It's just a vicious cycle."
It's a cycle that comes to life through Section 504, as the changing vocals of Molly/Aaron switch with tone-pitching - in a clever way that allows them to express their dual identities - amongst a hotbed of dark and brooding production. There's really nothing else like it both musically and lyrically speaking, and that's what makes Alter Boy such a special addition to Perth's music space.
There's more to come, but in the meantime, take a dive into Section 504 below:
Catch Alter Boy at this year's SOTA Rewired, alongside Spacey Jane, Grievous Bodily Calm and more - more information and full line-up here.