"Jake, 33, was raised on San Juan Island, just north of Seattle, and came out as gay at school, before telling his parents: ‘Although, if they were surprised by anything, then they were in some deep denial,’ he says. ‘I was a very effusive, verbose, effeminate, wacky kid.’ One early brave turn came during a high school talent show when he sang ‘I Will Always Love You’ in a wig, adopting the persona of ‘Whip Me Houston’. His largely Mormon classmates practically chased him out of town with pitchforks. He met Babydaddy (originally from Lexington, Kentucky) through a classmate while studying journalism at Occidental College in LA. The pair moved to New York where Jake spent a year or two as a go-go dancer and did a cabaret turn as Jason the Amazing Back-Alley Late-Term Abortion, covered in blood and coat hangers. They set up Scissors as a duo before meeting Ana at Knockoff, a Lower East Side cabaret night she was running. They auditioned for a drummer and bass player and Scissor Sisters was born."
Scissor Sisters debuted their brand new track "Only the Horses" about an hour ago on BBC's Radio 1 and simultaneously dropped a lyric video for the track, which is on their forthcoming album. It's co-produced by Calvin Harris and Alex Ridha.
Scissor Sisters today a video for their untitled forthcoming album. The track, called "Shady Love" and featuring Azealia Banks as alter ego Krystal Pepsy, and marks an aural departure for the queer group, leaning closer to dancehall than the straight-up dance jams with which we've grown familiar.
...There's more to 'Shady Love' than Jake and his cod Latino flow. It's produced by Alex 'Boyz Noise' Ridha and co-written with Azealia 'Cool List' Banks, who's also kind enough to contribute vocals and crafty enough to nab a "vs." credit under the guise of "Krystal Pepsy". Maybe you had to be there?
Anyway, thepoint is that 'Shady Love' pulls off a pretty nifty trick: it sounds like no other Scissor Sisters track, but still sounds unmistakably like Scissor Sisters. Respect.
It borrows from electro, house and disco, winking at both ABBA and Calvin Harris, and it's got some Latin freestyle junk in its trunk. First you'll think "WTF?!" Then you'll think "Hmm…" And finally you'll be too busy shaking your booty like Beyoncé at Glastonbury to think about goddamn anything. If not, you deserve to be locked in a padded cell and forced to listen to Little Mix's 'Cannonball' for all of eternity.
Frankmusik launched his second album firmly on the defense. "It's got bit of an American twang to it because, f*ck it, I'm in America," he said in an interview this past April. "So when people are gonna say it isn't me, 'Frankmusik sold out,' I'll just say, 'No, Frankmusik got more concise,' and they can suck a d*ck." Well, OK then!
Historically, of course, great records have rarely been initiated with the self-awareness that there may be something disingenuous about them, and in the case of Do It In The AM, that self-conscious decision-making is nearly audible on songs like "No I.D." — the spiritual cousin to Rebecca Black's "Friday" and Murray Head's "One Night In Bangkok," if you can imagine that — and the commercial-radio-by-the-numbers title track which, as Frankmusik attests, sounds painstakingly American. Like he was trying. Fortunately, once you get past these ill-fated attempts at having the next Pitbull-assisted radio hit (sans Pitbull, thankfully), there is an album: Opener "We Collide" flirts with the kind of pleasurable, but edgy electropop that Stuart Price pioneered with recent albums for Take That and The Killers, while "Wrecking Ball" sounds like it could have emerged from Frankmusik's successful album sessions with Ellie Goulding. In fact, by the time you get to Track 10 — the simply brilliant "Struck by Lightning" — it becomes increasingly hard to believe that the lows on Do It In The AM are so damn low. Because the highs are simply transcendent.
The point Frankmusik seems to have missed in his preemptive strike is that this has less to do with "selling out" as it does with knowing what makes you unique and developing that to its greatest potential. When he speaks in his own voice, Do It In The AM is delightful. But the detours are disastrous.
Frankmusik's new album may be touch and go, but I've got high hopes for his work with Erasure: A complete stream of Tomorrow's World and track-by-track commentary by the band is online now.
Experimental pop and disco pioneer — and queer icon — Arthur Russell changed the face of the dancefloor with "Let's Go Swimming." This week, Audika Records reissues the single with a dub mix from disco legend Walter Gibbons and a previously unreleased version of "Make 1, 2 (Gem Spa Dub)" that clocks in at eleven minutes long.
Scissor Sisters mainman Jake Shears isn't penning your average collaborator dream-list: At the top of the heap is Queens of the Stone Age singer Josh Homme. "I really, really want to sing on the next QOTSA album," says Shears. "I think that he's a genius, a genuine rock hero living among us."
New music you'll want to stream: Beni's forthcoming House of Beni promises to do for runway house what Frankie Knuckles did for whistles. "Someone Just Like You" is the latest track to surface and features The Rapture's Mattie Safer on vocals. Also, MGMT have curated the latest edition of the Late Night Tales series, out next week, and the band covers Bauhaus' "All We Ever Wanted Was Everything" for the occasion. Neo-psychadelic goth, then? It actually works.
Björk talks with New Scientist about the technological and scientific inspirations and intersections on her forthcoming album, Biophilia: "If you write a song with acoustic guitar, is there [automatically] soul in it? I've heard tons of guitar songs with no soul at all. If music created with electronics or a computer has no soul, it's because nobody put it there."
R.E.M. announced their break-up after thirty-plus years as a band, but they won't go out quietly: Their final release is called Part Lies, Part Heart, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982–2011, and it will be a two-disc, 40-song retrospective of the band's inimitable career — also featuring three new tracks.
SOUND & VISION:
Kele — "What Did I Do?" (featuring Lucy Taylor)
Bloc Party's out frontman is kind of worried that he's been kicked out of his band, but not enough to halt the release of his upcoming The Hunter EP on October 31. "What Did I Do?" is the lead single, and introduces a bunch of firsts: Guest singer Lucy Taylor, a new dubstep-tinged direction, and a newly muscled and shirtless physique he wasn't exactly touting on the Silent Alarm tour.
Washington — "Holy Moses"
I know very little about Washington outside of this video, and sometimes, that's the best way to evaluate something: The costuming might recall Lady Gaga and Tori Amos, but the song itself is one of those effortlessly ebullient tracks that are basically impossible to contrive. Washington's vocal, meanwhile, is strong, seductive, and best of all, perceptibly sincere.
Sneaky Sound System — "Big"
I'm starting to really look forward to the third album from Sydney–based Sneaky Sound System. Due out on October 7, From Here To Anywhere has already spawned a pretty fantastic lead single in "We Love," but single number-two connects the band with a more emotional tenor: "Big" comes from the Robyn school of slightly-melancholy-but-ultimately-uplifting arpeggiated pop. This is much harder to pull off than you'd think.
Death Cab For Cutie — "Stay Young, Go Dancing"
The latest by Death Cab is something like The Notebook of indie rock videos: You're kind of expecting Ryan Gosling to jump out and win someone's heart. But it's actually more sweet — and realistic — than that. "Stay Young, Go Dancing" is an anthem of aging in love.
The result of that five-year collaboration will make its debut in — where else? — San Francisco this month as a $2.5 million production that includes a company of 21 actors, nearly four dozen characters, at least two pairs of knee-high patent-leather go-go boots and more than 200 other costumes. (And God knows how much polyester.)
It’s the most expensive show ever produced by the American Conservatory Theater, whose schedule usually mixes classical revivals with more experimental pieces. Single-handedly producing new musicals isn’t typically part of its programming, but Carey Perloff, the theater’s artistic director, said that “Tales of the City” fit both the company’s mission of doing work about the Bay Area as well as providing a low-pressure environment for creators.
“It’s a nontraditional kind of piece — lots of characters, lots of story lines, lots of sex and drugs — and I think we fit what they were looking for,” said Ms. Perloff. “This isn’t a particularly ‘Broadway’ audience. This audience is very game for unusual musicals.”
Previews start May 18, and the show opens on May 31.
Director Jason Moore, librettist Jeff Whitty, and composers Jake Shears and John Garden, the creative team behind the forthcoming Tales of the City Musical, talk about how they were introduced to the book.