Scissor Sisters
Magic Hour
(Casablanca Records)
You found it. You were looking for something different, and it’s right here. That’s what I told myself when I listened to this spectacular CD for the first time. The Scissor Sisters’ fourth album has electricity surging through its tracks. It’s stuff like this that reinforces and revives my lust for experimental music. It’s a confusing weave of genres, but that is exactly what I love about it. I don’t know how I never noticed that at times, the vocals of Jake Shears have a slight touch of Justin Timberlake’s soulfulness to them. All comparisons aside, though, the vocals of both singers are clear and change appropriately with the style of song. They definitely have a touch of disco, a lot of soul, and a kiss of rock. I’m rather surprised that the band released the single “Let’s Have a Kiki” first, because I think it’s the worst song on the album. “Shady Love” is a much better song, similar to “Let’s Have a Kiki” but with more depth. I love the Latin upbeat that morphs into different styles several times back and forth. Two more of my favorites are “Best in Me” and “Somewhere.”
Kat Graham
Against the Wall
(A&M Octone)
Kat Graham’s first single, “Put Your Graffiti on Me,” was so amazing that I didn’t think she would come up with a better song than that. That was until my ears feasted upon this EP and I listened to “Heart Killer.” I have it on repeat. Everything is right about this demo. She wakes me up. The energy in the music is present even in the slower-paced song “Wanna Say.” There are only four songs in this EP, but all four lack nothing. I need more of her. I’m just being impatient — art shouldn’t be rushed when it’s this good.
Adam Tyler
Shattered Ice
(TigerBay Records)
Adam Tyler’s debut album is pure pop in the best possible way. It’s vibrant and addictive. Tyler’s voice is soothing and perfectly suited for pop music. Though all the songs are deeply rooted in the pop genre, his music is also heavily electronic. Bass-heavy beats make this CD incredibly catchy. The single “Like a Drug” is fantastic, and there is even a dark and sexy music video of it that you can find and enjoy on his website or YouTube. Give it a shot. My favorites are “Music Freak” and both the regular and piano versions of “I Won’t Let You Go.”
Leah LaBelle
Untitled Demo
Epic Records)
This wonderfully new and fresh-faced artist is soulful R&B brilliance. It’s really no wonder that Pharrell Williams and Jermaine Dupri have invested themselves in her as producers. LaBelle met Williams several years ago at one of his shows, where she told him “I’m a singer and I just have to tell you that I’m a huge fan and you’re going to produce my album one day.” She only had a chance to speak to him briefly. In the end, she was right.

It’s hard to explain, but listening to the demo you can really feel her love for hip-hop. LaBelle has soul, which is no surprise because she was in a gospel choir in Seattle for six years. The music is great. LaBelle is a wonderful singer with a lot of heart backed by wonderful drum beats and soothing bass melodies. Though her album doesn’t come out until early this fall, you can check out LaBelle’s video for her single “Sexify” on her website: