The Scissor Girls in the early 90s: Sue Anne Zollinger, Azita Youssefi, and Heather Melowic Credit: Courtesy Azita Youssefi

The hothouse of Chicago’s 1990s no-wave scene gave rise to lots of jarringly idiosyncratic bands, but the Scissor Girls may have been the most memorable of the bunch. Formed in 1991 by bassist and vocalist Azita Youssefi, drummer Heather Melowic, and guitarist Sue Anne Zollinger (who left in 1993, replaced in ’94 by Kelly Kuvo), they released two albums, a handful of singles, and a ten-inch EP before breaking up in 1996—and in that short time they exploded the “rock trio” format by making conventional instruments sound like nonmusical objects or even abstractions: How did Youssefi’s bass wobble and waver like a rubber band? How did Zollinger get her guitar riffs to chatter like a stream of scientific data? Even if you were watching them play, it might still stay a mystery. On Friday, December 4, California reissue label Jabs will give a first-ever vinyl release to the Scissor Girls’ long-lost self-titled demo cassette from 1992, and it’s a revelation—tracks such as “So Long Sucker” and “Riveted” zoom in on the scraping, stair-stepping guitar and confrontational rhythms of the band’s earliest efforts.

Heather Melowic and Azita Youssefi during a Scissor Girls set at Czar Bar
Heather Melowic and Azita Youssefi during a Scissor Girls set at Czar BarCredit: John Fletcher

With their first duo album as Blk Mgc in 2018, beat-scene veteran Uncle El and vocalist A. Billi Free blended jazzy hip-hop and electronica. On Friday, November 27, they dropped a new EP called Blk Mgc Symbl that flows with the same kind of vibrant spiritual energy.

Last Friday, Chicago producer Morgan Sherm debuted a new hip-hop podcast called Another Element with cohosts ShowYouSuck and Neodotcom (aka the Black Shaman). The first episode focuses on Megan Thee Stallion’s debut studio album, Good News, and accountability in the rap scene. The trio also take some time to discuss “Air Max 85,” a brooding standout cut from ShowYouSuck’s new self-produced EP, Comfy, Cozy, Cardigan, Cutie. The EP is available on Bandcamp, which is having another “Bandcamp Friday” this week—meaning its usual share of revenue goes straight to artists and labels.  v

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