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Dora Diamond blends shine with sharp words on ‘Temple’

 A highly stylized image shows a close-up of a person's face with makeup, oriented horizontally.
Dora Diamond

The flow of new music is constant and occasionally overwhelming. On First Listen helps you (and us) keep up by sharing our initial reactions to the latest releases.

As this year’s Pride Month reaches its end, Milwaukee artist Dora Diamond has swooped in to give us the perfect outro for these weeks celebrating and commemorating the LGBTQ+ community: a high-energy, highly danceable single with a powerful message attached.

“Temple” doesn’t just embrace the sounds of the ’90s and 2000s that Diamond is drawn to; it gives the era a giant bear hug. The beat, the low end, the keys, the manipulated vocals that introduce the track — all of it flings you back a couple decades with wild abandon, urging you to let go and enjoy yourself.

Mixing with that lightness and freedom is the single’s weightier aspect: its message. Diamond started as a Milwaukee artist by singing in drag and burlesque shows (and still does on a regular basis), and focuses that creativity “through the lens of my experience as a transgender woman.” It’s evident throughout “Temple,” including its defiant chorus:

I carry this crown (behold and tremble)
Unbroken, unbound, this body is a temple
Lay your ransom down (your tithes assemble)
This heart is hallowed ground, this body is a temple

Diamond calls the single “an anthem of bodily autonomy, the divinity of self, and a love letter to the trans community.” We just added “Temple” to 88Nine’s Milwaukee music library, but you can enjoy it now by using the “Listen” button at the top of the page. You can also pick up the new track on Bandcamp and connect with Diamond via Linktree.