Sunday, 14 September 2008

Flaming Demonics

Hey ho, let's's musical offering is my favourite album from the demented, sax wielding standard bearer of New York's No Wave scene. James Chance was a founder member of Teenage Jesus & The Jerks along with Lydia Lunch, before going on to front a number of great bands who came to more or less define the confrontational and nihilistic attitude of much of the art coming out of the city in the period:

"If somebody comes to see me, they have to pay. And not just in money… New York people are such assholes - so cool and blase. They think they can sit and listen to anything and it won't affect them. So I decided I just had to go beyond music, and physically assault them… The first time I actually did it, really hurt people, was in Soho. I really fucking hate Soho. It was a benefit for this artsy magazine, and all these artsy-fartsy people were sitting around on the floor - and if there's one thing I can't stand it's people sitting on the floor. See, there was all this room, and no tables, and I figured everybody was going to dance. But they just sat there on the floor… I guess it just sorta went on from there."

James Chance

James Chance's music differs from the noisy avant-punk sounds of the period. After his first album with The Contortions, Chance started to blend the no wave sound with elements of funk, disco and free jazz. By the time we get to the early '80s, Chance's albums are owing as much to Ornette Coleman and Michael Jackson as they are to The Stooges or The Electric Eels. Today's post, James White's Flaming Demonics, is for me, the best example of Chance's high energy, spastic punk-funk, featuring some mindbending scratchy guitar interplay and lots of high pitched free jazz skronk. You also get the narcotic voodoo of I Danced with a Zombie, which is worth 10 minutes of anyone's listening time. I think this album really churns up all the major musical currents that were flowing through New York at the time, and seems to capture the bohemian spirit of places like the Danceteria or the Mudd Club, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.


The Devil Made Me Do It (8:13)
Boulevard Of Broken Dreams (7:12)
Rantin' And Ravin' (8:53)
The Natives Are Restless (7:39)
Caravan / It Don't Mean A Thing / Melt Yourself Down (8:44)
I Danced With A Zombie (9:54)

You can get the zip here.


Frank said...

Great blog... looks very promising and a curious and eclectic variety of posts already. Will surely check this often!

Mr Tear said...

Thanks for the support Frank. I'll try to keep things varied cos after all, variety is the spice of life. Keep up the great work over at VoodooFunk, your mixes are inspirational!

skullgrid said...

thanks for this and for the link as well. looks like a promising start ;]