WATCH: Scissor Sisters’ “Baby Come Home”

Scissor Sisters’ latest album Magic Hour hit retailers this week as did the video for their latest single. In “Baby Come Home,” the video is a perpetual kaleidoscope of images of the band in colorful arrays of costume. Jake Shears as a nun? Sure. Baby Daddy as a sailor. Um, yes, please.

Watch the video after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

Queer Music News: Jay Brannan, Brandi Carlile, Adam Lambert and more announce releases

This has already been a strong year for queer music releases and it’s only March. But we have a few more to look forward to starting as soon as next week.

Jay Brannan will release his second album of original material after 2009′s In Living Cover album stocked with a fascinating selection of remakes. Rob Me Blind is set to drop March 27, but you can get a major preview of it now. Idolator posted the entire album on its page, sorta like we just did here.

—  Rich Lopez

LISTEN: Xiu Xiu’s new single “Hi”

This is already shaping up to be a year of new releases by LGBT (ish) bands and singers. Adam Lambert, Scissor Sisters and Of Montreal have already released tracks from upcoming albums. Now, indie avant popsters Xiu Xiu are back with their upcoming release, a new single and even a book by queer frontman Jamie Stuart, pictured. The official word came today that the band has dropped its first single from its upcoming album Always set for a March release (although the track was released a week ago on Soundcloud).

The album is said to ambitiously broaches themes and topics such as the objectification of migrant Chinese female laborers (“Factory Girls”), an Afghan teenage boy murdered by American soldiers (“Gul Mudin”) and a teenage girl too young for pregnancy (“I Luv Abortion”). Heavy handed, right? Heavy handed stuff, huh? But for those familiar with Xiu Xiu, Stewart and company don’t churn out bleak music despite such subjects. Their strange knack for melding pop music, tragedy and distinct hooks is evident on 2010′s Dear God, I Hate Myself.

Always has a big time Dallas connection, too. The album is mixed by Dallas-based producer John Congleton, who is a pretty big deal according to NPR. He’s worked with local acts like The Polyphonic Spree, Black Tie Dynasty and Sarah Jaffe and on a bigger scale, has produced work with Marilyn Manson, Antony and the Johnsons, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah and whole helluva lot more. Always is also produced by Deerhoof’s Greg Saunier.

“Hi” is extravagant in its delivery with a major buildup and its lyrics are both abstract and poignant, but if it’s any hint of the rest of the album, I’m very much looking forward to it. Listen after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

WATCH: Scissor Sisters’ “Shady Love”

The queer-centric Scissor Sisters are back on the radar with their new single “Shady Love.” Dropped on the Interwebs yesterday, the SS is making buzz with its video of kiddos awkwardly performing the romp of a song for their school play in front of an indifferent crowd of parents. The song is OK as Krystal Pepsi (aka Azealia Banks) throws in her vocal help and frontman Jake Shears raps over some high energy beats, but watching kids “sing” about Obama, booties and boobies is kind of hilar.

Watch it after the jump.

—  Rich Lopez

2011 Year in Review: Concerts

Minaj-89

Nicki Minaj

The ladies ran the world this year — or at least the concert stage, whether dives or arenas.

1. Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae (Verizon Theatre). These two crashed the venue with the year’s most amazing live performances. Monae, in all her spastic glory, ran across the stage and into the audience, proving why she is the next Prince. And with her futuristic-themed album Archandroid, her band was loud and live minus any apparent electronic help. Mars did the same but recalled old-school showmanship, channeling Marvin Gaye, James Brown and Smokey Robinson as he and his own band filled the place with raucous horns, slamming percussion and Mars’ charisma.

2. Nicki Minaj (American Airlines, pictured). Britney sputtered before her concert hit its stride halfway through, but Minaj brought it from the get-go. With military precision, she and her troupe marched and danced while the audience roared, spanking the American Airlines Center as if she were the headliner, making everyone in the crowd her bitch. And all were on board. Her ovation with Spears was proof that Minaj’s star has arrived.

3. Jackie Hall (Lakewood Bar & Grill). A surprise at the May edition of Twist LGBT, stepped in with local band One Night Stand to end the night with a bang. Even as the crowd dwindled, Hall went full bore, working up those left into a frenzy with powerful covers. This lady sings the blues and rock and pop, but turns them out like no other.

4. Scissor Sisters (American Airlines Center). There is no way to steal a show from Lady Gaga, but the Sisters didn’t need to, giving a workout of a show. Ridiculously pumped Jake Shears burned a million calories with his high-energy antics (and that ass-reveal, a great bonus). Ana Matronic held her own as Shears’ equal with funk and sass. True fans were breathless.

5. Brandi Carlile (Granada Theatre). Without much fanfare, Carlile and her legions of fans in the mid-sized Granada were like one entity fused together. Her fans gave her space to sing softly, to go unplugged and to simply love her. She gave it right back with both grit and tenderness that were triggering all the ladies’ pheromones.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition December 30, 2011.

— R.L.               

—  Kevin Thomas

REVIEW: Lady Gaga and Scissor Sisters on Monday night at the American Airlines Center

Scissor Sisters’ Del Marquis, left, and Jake Shears in a photo posted on Twitter around the time of their performance in Dallas on Monday night.

If you haven’t heard, Lady Gaga was in town Monday night. After two packed houses at the American Airlines Center last year, she came back for thirds and continued to fill up the arena. And the Dallas audience was all over it — whether they were seeing the Monster Ball again or for the very first time.

Not much had changed from last year’s show and I didn’t expect it to, save for the addition of “Born This Way.” She got rid of the fairy tale princess getup and skipped out on “Eh Eh,” which I didn’t realize until someone pointed it out. Despite this being a repeat, Gaga still showed up with maximum intensity. She danced hard, she sang loud and she pretty much killed that piano of hers whether banging it with her fingers or her heels after singing a slower rendition of “BTW” and “You and I,” a song slated for her next album.

All the hits were there, but at times, Gaga would disturb her own groove to preach about “being yourself, be a star, equal rights, yadda-yadda,” just a little too much. The crowd would be worked into a frenzy after a song, and then came another sermon. We were, after all, in “church,” as she put it. I’m all for the positive message, but there came a point when the show was borderline Oprah. Perhaps having already seen it took away from the initial joy of the message. Am I a bad person?

Fortunately, she quickly got back on track with her crazy spectacles of a bleeding, fiery statue during “Alejandro” – and the bigger-than-life Fame Monster puppet during “Paparazzi.” I did appreciate her free-flowing chat with the audience. She pulled up someone’s poster and read it out loud with sincere appreciation. She joked about the random prop tossed onstage: “Did someone throw a hand up here?” Those were clever moments.

As if she needed more comparisons, Gaga’s piano version of “BTW” recalled John Lennon’s “Imagine” both in sound and in meaning. But she finished the night with the song in its original form along with an energetic performance people saw on the Grammys. With a paw raised in the air, the encore offering didn’t seem so much the end of the show, but more like a preview of what’s to come. Ending with the song on a future album made me wonder what her plans are. The date of her last show is May 7 and Born This Way is scheduled to drop May 23. Methinks she plans to maintain a high blip on the radar for the near future.

Opening Act Scissor Sisters flattened the place, if only the crowd knew it. Jake Shears, with his drop-dead perfect physique, worked his body out running all over the stage building up a bigger fan base for the band. The seated crowd was into it, but sadly never got on their feet. I appreciated Semi-Precious Weapons as her opener the first time around only because it was kind of their big break, but SS is, by far, an even better choice. They fit in perfectly with the edgier pop stylings and totally gay environment.

Ana Matronic has never impressed me much but she changed all that with her snappy messages to the audience (“when all you little monsters grow up, you too can be scissor sisters!”) and keeping right up with Shears in leading the band’s jam. She spoke the truest statement of the night informing the audience, “We are Scissor Sisters. If you don’t know us, well then you’re either not gay or not British.”

They only performed for a half hour, but with songs from all three albums, they made the most of it. And the sound was dead on, capturing the dancey thump of BabyDaddy’s bass and the sharpness of Del Marquis‘ guitar work.

With a slew of more party atmosphere songs like “I Don’t Feel Like Dancing,” “Night Work” and “Take Your Mama,” they knew their place as openers, but I could have easily watched them for another hour as they just delivered a fine performance. And Shears’ final reveal of him stripping down to his thong wasn’t a bad thing, either.

So, yeah, it was a good night.

—  Rich Lopez

Lady Gaga and Scissor Sisters tonight — ’nuff said

Third time is a charm
gaga

Maybe it’s just us, but the buzz doesn’t seem as loud for this week’s return of Lady Gaga. And we’re certain the gays haven’t forgot about it. They turned out for her “surprise” appearance at the Round-Up last night. She returns to Dallas aftertwo sold-out shows last year, but this time she’s armed with a new number one hit ,“Born This Way,” and the Scissor Sisters as openers. OK, now we hear the buzz.

DEETS: American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave. 8 p.m. $52–$178. Ticketmaster.com.

—  Rich Lopez

Weekly Best Bets • 03.11.11

Friday 03.11

Grown up to be cowboys
The rodeo is back in town, or close by, at least. TGRA’s A Texas Tradition Rodeo fills the weekend up with barrel racing, bull riding and breakaway roping and a whole lot more action for the LGBT cowboys and cowgirls heading out to Alvarado to compete. James Allen and Weldon Henson provide the music along the way.

DEETS: Diamond W Arena, 8901 E. Highway 67
Alvarado. Through March 13. TGRA.org.

Monday 03.14

Third time is a charm
Maybe it’s just us, but the buzz doesn’t seem as loud for this week’s return of Lady Gaga. And we’re certain the gays haven’t forgotgaga about it. She returns to Dallas after two sold-out shows last year, but this time she’s armed with a new number one hit ,“Born This Way,” and the Scissor Sisters as openers. OK, now we hear the buzz.

DEETS: American Airlines Center, 2500 Victory Ave. 8 p.m. $52–$178. Ticketmaster.com.

Thursday 03.17

Mother always knows best
In this Outtakes Dallas screening of You Should Meet My Son, a mother discovers her son is gay and then decides he needs to have a hubby and her fabulous adventures begin. Way to go, Mom!

DEETS: Magnolia Theater, 3699 McKinney Ave. 7 p.m. $10. OuttakesDallas.org.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 11, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Mister Sister

Headlining or opening for Gaga? It’s all the same to Scissor Sisters’ Marquis

RICH LOPEZ  | Staff Writer
lopez@dallasvoice.com

Scissor-Sisters-red-blinds
MAKING THE CUT | Del Marquis, far right, has sex appeal with bearish qualities, even though frontman Jake Shears, second from right, gets press for taking his shirt off.

……………………….

GAGA/SCISSOR SISTERS

American Airlines Center,
2500 Victory Ave.
March 14 at 8 p.m.  $52–$178.
Ticketmaster.com

……………………….

Despite headlining their own tours and high profile music festivals for their acclaimed CDs, the Scissor Sisters kinda had a secret agenda when they joined Lady Gaga’s tour as the opening act. As big as the band is, when you go on the road with The Biggest Pop Star of the Moment, benefits abound. The Sisters may not seem like they need the benefits — having their own rabid following — but guitarist Del Marquis thinks it could always be bigger.

“There are only a few people you’d want to open for that are well beyond our capacity,” Marquis says. “We think her audience would get us but may never see us. We don’t get video or radio play, so after our show people may go and look us up.”
Funny, being that Scissor Sisters has just been named to big time gigs at the Coachella festival in April and headlining a night at the U.K. festival, Lovebox, in July. But for Marquis, headliner or not, this shakeup keeps the band on its toes.

“When we headline and we feel like we own it, we work it and peddle our wares,” Marquis says. “But people have paid a certain amount to see Gaga and so we just work harder but in a different way. Yet it’s fun to work for it that way again.”
Besides, it’s less work.

“Oh yeah, half an hour on stage and we’re done,” he laughs.

Vanessa Franko from the InLandSoCal blog wrote recently that “the band is still tragically under appreciated.” Scissor Sisters aren’t an obscure indie band, but their very radio-friendly music doesn’t get the mainstream play. In that regard, Marquis brazenly agrees.

“In the States, yeah, but of course, tragic is a point of view,” he says. “I think we write great songs and we’re great live band.

There are not a lot of both out there. Songwriting is almost just a vehicle to a performer now and some bands are a bore live but have great songs. We work really hard at both things, so we’re a rarity. There are a lot of rock bands and pop stars, but we’re a pop band and, against the odds, become something larger.”

Which the band seems to have found overseas. The Brits love the Sisters, and maybe it has something to do with the band’s constant comparison to vintage Elton John that go even beyond having flamboyant gay members like Marquis and lead singer Jake Shears.

“We do love our U.S. tours, but the audiences seem much bigger in Britain,” Marquis says. “They are really great and there we don’t play to people with arms folded. But really, whether it’s a crowd of 1,500 or 33,000, we play to get an immediate reaction anywhere. We are blessed we do get in that high range of audiences. We want to indoctrinate more people.”

Marquis has enough sex appeal to rival frontman Shears (for that matter, so does fellow bandmate BabyDaddy), but he might appeal to a more fur-appreciating contingent. With the Texas Bear Round-Up around the corner, Marquis and his hairy chest would fit right in. Except Marquis is not inclined to embrace an ursine identity.
“Am I a bear?” he laughs. “No, I don’t like to think of myself as an animal. A lot of my best friends are bears, though.”

Marq
BOY IN THE BAND | Marquis doesn’t mind the ‘opening band’ status when he and the Scissor Sisters are opening for ‘the biggest pop star in the world.’ They just plan to find more fans.

Marquis isn’t shy, but says he is rather ordinary compared to his frontman’s explosive charisma, as seen in the recent coffee table book One Day in the Life of Jake Shears by photographer Tim Hailand. Marquis admits a book about his day just wouldn’t be all that.

“Oh, I don’t think it would be all that exciting,” he says. “I find pleasure in mundane things. I like to walk and garden. I’m not too exciting so all that would have to be staged. My extrovert is on the stage.”

If ever his stage moments are gone, Marquis is keeping his future options open.  If there is ever a post-Scissor Sisters existence outside of music, Marquis hints that it could involve design work or even shrubbery.

“I have a new idea every few months about what the future holds. It’ll always be there in a sense,” he says. “I’m constantly driven by pleasure and fulfillment and inspiration, but because music is so heavily saturating my life, I have to turn to something else as a hobby or a pleasure. So sometimes I think I might get back into design or even small business. I’m even interested in landscape architecture.”

Cooking however, is not on his list. Marquis has admitted to loving food, but don’t expect a dish from his hands.

“Yeah, I don’t cook,” he says. “I like to find boyfriends for that.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 11, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

What’s love got to do with it? Locals let us into their hearts, share some Valentine’s Day tunes

Last year, in the print product, I wrote up a Valentine’s mixtape which was filled with all types of love songs. The only thing was finding those that weren’t gender specific, and that can be a total bitch. Or maybe it’s just my anal retentiveness. So instead of going through the hassle again, I asked local peeps with a penchant for music what songs struck that heartfelt fuzzy chord with them. I asked why their selection stuck out and if there are any gay aspects to it whether by an out artist or not gender-directed. The selections ran the gamut. Check ‘em out below.

—  Rich Lopez