Sunday, November 21, 2010
Released in 1979, the Contortions debut is one of my favorite albums to come out of the No Wave scene. In a manner of speaking they were more "musical" than "No New York" split mates DNA, Mars, or Teenage Jesus and The Jerks. Instead of detuned dissonance (like my other favorite, Theoretical Girls) Contortions offered a scratchy, off kilter take on James Brown (one of James Chance's pseudonyms was James White, where he ventured into Disco to fuck it up from the inside) with saxophone breaks that make free jazzers sound tame and pretentious. Not that I have anything against the more sonically antagonistic groups, but this album's musicality warrants more repeated listening. There's more of a noticeable sense of humor here.
If difficult, skronky, noisy music you can dance all fucked up to sounds good to you...
Now for contrast, contemporaries DNA performing a song that gave name to a terrible, over-rated band. Taken from Basquiat's "Downtown '81" which also features James White and the Blacks