Celebrating Black queer love is serpentwithfeet mission. On his 2021 album, DEACON, serpentwithfeet, aka Josiah Wise, explores the tenderness that shapes platonic and romantic relationships and the special connections between people. Pitchfork notes that the album feels borderline cheesy—and purposefully so—but its unabashed Black queerness combined with Wise’s ability to blend genres feels entirely unique to serpentwithfeet. There’s a genuine fondness in his experimental R&B songs. They’re filled with harmonies reminiscent of his choir days and influenced by his education in classical music. DEACON marries gospel with R&B that’s steeped in an airy, sensitive feel. Blues music mixes with heartfelt, affectionate lyrics that question the role of compassion in the self and others. Raised in Baltimore, Wise joined the church choir and was part of the Maryland State Boychoir. He later attended Baltimore City College, where his love for exploring how choir, classical, and gospel music can be fused into a tender R&B beat and hold space for Black queer love to have a voice and melody. serpentwithfeet rose to fame in 2018 with his first album, soil. His show this October at Union Stage will demonstrate his growth as an artist while immersing the audience in his gentle music that’s sure to give you a new philosophy on self-love and humanity. serpentwithfeet play at 8 p.m. on Oct. 19 at Union Stage in Southwest. unionstage.com. $20.
For more music recommendations, check out our calendar.