Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|James Chance & Contortions|
Genres: Alternative Rock, Jazz, Pop, R&B, Rock
Listen to Samples
A White Noise Supremacist?
BluesDuke | Las Vegas, Nevada | 06/11/2001
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Having seen in actual club dates this character with the Elvis-like conk, the band which sounded as though it wanted to be the JBs the minute it figured out a way to quit their bad imitations of those who were trying to figure out the better way to mimick artsy-fartsy loungelizard grist like Roxy Music or ABC, and an alto saxophone style which sounded like a berserk chipmunk whose throat had a mind of its own, I had figured that at minimum he was close to being too unbelievable to get on records. But he'd actually by God done it, as part of a legendary sampler of New York's psychotic-reaction No Wave antimovement of the late 1970s called "No New York"; and, on an album (approximately 1980-81) for the semi-indie JVC label, on which one side he billed it "James White and the Blacks" and let the pseudo-JB backbeats run the show and, on the other side, calling it James Black and the Contortions and letting the pseudo-JB backbeats get beaten to within an inch of their lives by amphetamine-crazed sewer rats in a Bowery back alley, and the whole thing was a classic horrible enough to love on the sneak workout, anyway. This live set doesn't exactly diminish Chance's reputation as a 70s-80s New York white noise supremacist, but neither does it exactly elevate whatever it was that made him and his gang such an underground draw in the first place. Add a star for chutzpah, but that's about it.On the other hand, trying to figure out what's missing is almost impossible, considering how many screws were loose to begin with. (As a saxophonist, he seems to have caught all the distortion and the nuance of Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, arguably the kings of what Lester Bangs would have called jazz skronk, and none of the roots feeling that animated them in the first place.) Best, probably, to listen to this as sort of an idea of what it might have been like to overdose on codeine while hearing Coleman fronting the guitars of the JBs linked to the Stooges' original rhythm section after they'd finally figured out how to nail "Cold Sweat". And if you think that's stretching absurdity, be reminded (or forewarned, as the case may be) that Ornette Coleman himself actually had the audacity to play on the first Yoko Ono/Plastic Ono Band album."
R Gallus | USA | 12/02/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I have always liked James Chance, Contortions, and whatever other name he went by. This CD starts out fast and typically funky good. The sax is up to par and never lets you down. My big complaint is the vocals (especially the background) should have been mixed down a little, especially on White Cannibal-it hurt my ears! And then there's the gratuitous "Heroin" that has been on almost all of his recordings in one version or another, or so it seems. So here we are with a decent recording and then it gets blown away by including a horribly taped "My Infatuation" that was ripped out of an old "Live in NY" tape and tacked on to this CD as a (filler?). Doesn't matter though, I wish he was still out there doing it."
Everyone's a Critic
Rudie | PA, USA | 11/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I think it's unfair that James Chance is getting such a bad rap for scratchy vocals and twangy, snapping sax solos. Everyone seems to be looking at this from a prospective that he's some kind of lounge act, or wannabe jazz band. Truth is he's a part of the earliest forms of punk rock music. James Chance encompasses the entire attitude of the adolescent New York street dwellers. He's a symbol of teenage lust, hate, confusion, and jealousy. The idea that his music is horrible makes it so much better, the fact that he can't play sax gives it that flair that seperates it from others. He's bad, he knows it, and guess what? He doesn't care. James Chance is a peek at what the kids of New York were thinking, doing, and loving. He encapsulates a generation that we have long forgotten about."