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Music

Uh Huh Her struggles to reconcile homosexuality with religion

Just don’t call them a lesbian rock duo

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UH HUH HER with DJ Kim Anh

8 p.m. Tuesday, May 27 | The Social, 54 N. Orange Ave. | 407-246-1419 | thesocial.org | $17-$20 | 18 and up

Most articles concerning L.A.-based electro-pop outfit Uh Huh Her quickly bring up the facts that this female-fronted duo is openly gay and that one of its members, Leisha Hailey, once starred in the popular Showtime program The L Word. Some journalists go so far as describing the group as a “lesbian power duo.” Others are cynical about yet another Hollywood starlet-turned-musician. Through seven years of successful touring and with three solid, synth-laden albums under their belt, this two-piece with the phonetically challenging moniker (named after the popular 2004 P.J. Harvey album) has proven they are much more than a novelty act.

Uh Huh Her’s lead vocalist/guitarist Camila Grey takes it all in stride. “It’s funny how some people have no imagination,” Grey says about the public’s need to place people into neatly fitted boxes. “When I park my car, I don’t gay park, you know?”

Grey teamed up with Hailey, who plays bass in the band, in 2007. At the time, Hailey, who cut her teeth playing in jangly East Village college rock duo the Murmurs in the mid-’90s, was eager to jump back into music while her role as Alice Pieszecki on The L Word was culminating. Fresh off her stint with slow-burning electro-rock outfit Mellowdrone, Grey was looking for another outlet for her tunes. Funnily enough, when the pair met at an L.A. party, Grey wasn’t familiar with Hailey’s work as an actor. “I’d never even seen one episode,” Grey says about The L Word. “I really only knew of her from the Murmurs.”

We wondered, though, if the band has a large L Word contingent at shows? “Some,” Grey says, “but no more than there are glammers.” By “glammers,” Grey refers to followers of flamboyant former American Idol crooner Adam Lambert. Grey has toured with Lambert, along with performing in backing bands for Dr. Dre, Tricky, Busta Rhymes and Kelly Osbourne.

Uh Huh Her is Grey’s first time in the driver’s seat as the principal lyricist, giving her a chance for songwriting introspection. The band’s current release, Future Souls – a textured effort retrofitted to team with Grey’s breathy vocals – has her broaching heavy existential issues like faith versus science and religion versus homosexuality. “The album touches on my personal battles growing up in a conservative religious background while still loving science at the same time.”

On tracks like “Time” and “Innocence,” Grey takes stabs at hypocrisy in religion. “Knowing you are hated by something that is supposed to save you is very paradoxical,” Grey says about her sexuality in the confines of the soul-saving ideology she was raised with.

As an adamant gay-rights advocate, Grey responded to the media frenzy surrounding openly gay football player Michael Sam. “It’s the 21st century; I can’t believe this is still an issue,” she says. “It’s hard to believe that Michael Sam is given such a hard time when there are some NFL players who have been accused of rape, assault or animal cruelty and are not judged as harshly.”

Uh Huh Her performs Tuesday at the Social, and Grey says she loves touring through Orlando but regrets never making it out to Disney. We asked if the group would ever consider performing at Disney’s famed Gay Days, coming up this June. And, although the outspoken singer had never heard of the event, she was intrigued: “Straights have their days, why can’t we have ours?”

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