INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Uncut MAY 2016 - by Tom Pinnock
JAMES CHANCE & THE CONTORTIONS/JAMES WHITE & THE BLACKS: BUY/OFF WHITE
Chance's early No Wave takes on funk and disco
Of the four No Wave groups immortalised on Brian Eno's No New York in 1978, James Chance's Contortions were the odd gang out: while Mars, DNA and Teenage Jesus & The Jerks were all deconstructing rock, Chance's band were also paying homage to their funk and rock heroes, wearing dinner jackets and covering James Brown. A year later, their ferocious debut, Buy, took this to the limit, with Chance howling wryly nihilistic exhortations ("I don't think people are very pretty inside," he sings on Don't Want To Be Happy) over atonal slide, a funky, syncopated rhythm section and his own squawking sax. Keen to alienate everyone - even the NY underground - Chance then formed James White & The Blacks, embracing disco and a slicker sound. Though conceptually more interesting, Off White was less engaging than Buy, with only Stained Sheet, featuring a deranged-sounding Lydia Lunch, and Almost Black, with Mudd Club founder/Chance's girlfriend/guru Anya Phillips on vocals, piercing the slightly tongue-in-cheek surface.