Identity politics and music have gone hand in hand for decades, but within pop music, lyrics are usually taken at face value and watered down to some vague, generalized mass appeal. Female voices in pop for the most part are deemed as shallow, and it’s usually filtered into a highly idealized, trite subject matter (ie. falling in love with a boy, or in contrast, getting her heart-broken by one). But pop music in the last few years has come forward with some honest to god landmark moments in the pro-feminism movement.

When Beyonce stopped the world with the surprise release of her self-titled visual album in 2013, she single handedly opened the doors to an ongoing discussion of feminism and the female identity not just in the land of music journalism, but all facets of popular culture. Other cultural movements have contributed to the intersectionalization of pop music–a movement in which the music artist makes no efforts to hide all unique parts of their identity.

That brings us to MUNA, one of the greatest acts coming out of Los Angeles at the moment. MUNA are a three-piece pop outfit with a smooth rock edge made up of Katie Gavin, Naomi McPherson, and Josette Maskin, who all identify as queer women. Their music will burrow into your brain and, as most pop songs, they’re composed simply enough to consume at face value. But MUNA are more than just a band; MUNA are a feeling.

The trio met while attending University of Southern California as undergrads in Los Angeles. A casual jam session turned into a string of songs, and soon the three had an EP worth of demos to record before they could even come up with a name for themselves. They still aren’t even sure exactly how the name MUNA came about, other than it’s a marriage of the words “moon” and “luna.” It’s perfectly fitting, both feminine and emotional entities that accurately reflect the dark power that surges through their songs.

MUNA set up a Bandcamp to self release their first EP, More Perfect, which has now conveniently been wiped off the internet since signing a deal with major record label RCA. They have since dropped their The Loudspeaker EP under RCA, featuring four heart-twisting bangers that will make you question life, love, and your place amongst it all.

Their breakout single was “Winterbreak,” a raw, heart shattering pseudo-ballad that addresses the bittersweet reality of facing a failed relationship headon. “Oh baby, I think we both know this is the love that we won’t get right,” Gavin sings through the chorus. Melded together with a lush hook over simple instrumentals, the productions wavers some semblance of nostalgia and makes the song instantly feel simultaneously familiar and new on first listen. Music news outlets went into a frenzy when the track dropped in February of this year. With a strong lead single at the start of their career, MUNA came out the gates at break-neck speed, and there has been no stopping them since.

Their follow-up single is the dreamy synth-pop smash “Loudspeaker.” The band have claimed the track as the “thesis of MUNA.” MUNA are open about their political views not only within the threads of their music, but actively address politically charged events on their social media. Between the head-bopping, shoulder-rocking HAIM-esque guitar riffs, it’s perhaps the most upbeat track addressing the use of one’s voice to overcome forms of abuse. The band noted in a statement it’s “a song about marginalization, abuse, and shame, but also about empowerment and ultimately, resilience and survival. It’s a song about being alive in a world which demands that when we suffer abuse, we silence ourselves…and about essentially refusing to let that happen.”

The band all write, perform and produce all of their own songs. When was the last time you heard a new artist signed to a major label being given free rein to self-produce their own EP, nevermind an openly queer girl band? As soon as you get to know their music, it isn’t hard to understand why their label execs have complete faith in them––they make certified pop hits, and their lyrical content is accessible to a wider audience, all the while embracing an avant-garde queer-vibe that’s propelled pop sensations from the likes of Tegan and Sara, Years & Years, Troye Sivan, Shura, and Hayley Kiyoko. Geared more toward an 80s rock made for radio vibe, MUNA are ready to steer the future of pop away from the sad-boy tropical house beats epidemic surging the forefront of radio.

Whether their lyrics resonate with you deeply or not, their sound is a direct reflection of popular culture. Their sound is present, direct, made with equal parts introspection and nostalgia. Remember: MUNA are more than just a band––MUNA are a feeling.