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THE SCENE: 6/7/12

By Grant Games

Azealia Banks: “1991”

Rapper and lyricist Azealia Banks was actually born in 1991, from which year she takes the name of her new EP. You can tell just from listening to “1991,” which mixes elements of house, rap, and R&B—all with a 90s flare. The Harlem-born hoodrat (who is openly bisexual) is a classic “lady in the streets, freak on the mic.” Her raps are fast and loose, with 90s house music serving as a phenomenal backdrop for the songs.


In addition to rapping, Banks also does her share of singing on the EP, which fits nicely, and serves to break the songs up a little. She does have some musical similarities to Lil’ Kim, Foxy Brown, and Eve, but she manages to keep the EP fun and fresh overall. Hopefully, “1991” will lead to a bigger success when her debut album, “Broke With Expensive Taste,” reportedly drops sometime this year.



Scissor Sisters: “Magic Hour”


It’s apparent that Scissor Sisters really want to keep disco alive (or bring it back to life—however you want to look at it), and for that, I applaud them. Who doesn’t enjoy a high-pitched male voice, sung over a funky 70s beat? Akin to a modern day Bee Gees, Scissor Sisters (formed in 2000) released their latest album, “Magic Hour,” on May 28. Singer Jake Shears pulls you into his nu-disco-based universe, with the help of producer Alex Sidha, also known by his artist moniker, Boys Noize. On opening track, “Baby Come Home,” Shears weeps for his love to—wait for it—come home.


While the lyrics of the songs are traditional, the delivery and sound are anything but. “Keep Your Shoes On” feels like being stuck in a K-hole—but in the best way possible. The band does manage to slow things down at the right times, with funk-ballads aplenty that fit Shears’s voice like a glove. Single “Shady Love” (which features Azealia Banks: see above) is a definite highlight of the album, and contributes to it a whole other layer. The Calvin Harris-produced track, “Only the Horses,” is the closest to a “radio-friendly” single that Sisters have ever done, and manages to keep the band’s sound and integrity intact. “Magic Hour” is Scissor Sisters most polished and cohesive (while still experimental) album to date.



Making a SCENE:


Bieby Blues                 It’s been a rough week for Justin Bieber. On May 27, the Canadian pop-star was accused of assaulting a photographer who was snapping pics of Bieber and girlfriend Selena Gomez as they exited a movie theater in Calabasas, California. The photographer claims that a scuffle took place, and he called 911, but Bieber and Gomez left the scene before police got there. The photographer was taken to a local hospital after complaining of chest pains, and he filed a police report.


Days later, at his show in Paris on May 31, the singer accidentally ran into a wall of glass backstage, as reported by TMZ. He was between songs, and managed to suck it up, went back onstage, and performed the rest of his set. After the show, The Beebs passed out for about 15 seconds in his dressing room. Doctors confirmed he had suffered a concussion, but say he is in good shape now. Canadians never catch a break.



PriMadonna Leaked video footage of Madonna’s tour dress rehearsal in Tel Aviv has surfaced on the Web, and people are not happy. The controversial pop star is seen during a rehearsal for “Express Yourself,” when the song seamlessly transitions into Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” Madonna fans were in an uproar last year when Gaga released “Born This Way,” as they noted a striking resemblance to the prima diva’s “Express Yourself.” Madonna seems to still be feeling some pent-up aggression towards Mother Monster, and it looks like the PriMa-donna is going to be taking it to the stage.