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Rate It! Avg: 4.0 (43 ratings)
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Design To Kill
My Infatuation
Don't Want To Be Happy
Contort Yourself
Throw Me Away
Roving Eye
Twice Removed
Bedroom Athlete
Throw Me Away (Live)
Twice Removed (Live)
Jailhouse Rock (Live)
Album Information

Total Tracks: 12   Total Length: 39:47

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Wondering Sound

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Barry Walters


Award-winning critic Barry Walters is a longtime contributor to Rolling Stone, Spin, the Village Voice, and many other publications. His interview with Prince a...more »

James Chance & The Contortions, Buy
2004 | Label: ZE Records / The Orchard

Whereas August Darnell and the actually-not-related Was brothers became ZE's primary disco architects, the Milwaukee-born James Siegfried (but New York reborn James Chance aka James White) was the label's greatest artist on the noisy end of its sound spectrum. After splitting from romantic partner Lydia Lunch and leaving behind in 1978 the group their Teenage Jesus & the Jerks, this saxophonist/singer/provocateur simultaneously released two ZE albums recorded with two overlapping bands one year… read more »

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Appears in an eMusic recommended list, but you can't download it. How crap is that?

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One-hit wonder


I saw James Chance and the Contortions (as well as their other incarnations - was one James White and the Blacks?) back in the day in NYC. I thought the atmosphere of the music was cool at the time, in those post-punk days of gritty violence and spiraling unemployment and inflation. But, after all, this band was a one-hit wonder, with Contort Yourself being a template for the rest of the songs. Live performances were ok, if fueled with alcohol, but listening now makes me wonder how much of my time I wasted back then.

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I actually love it but...


I love this album but I hate that it's not downloadable in the UK. I downloaded this on my laptop about a year ago. As these things do, my laptop packed up and now, being as I'm in the UK, I cannot re-download it. I wonder what to do. I desperately need this music back in my ears.

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A Mutant Classic


I bought this album on vinyl around 1980, and it was like a slap in the face. A *good* slap, though. Almost 30 years later, it still startles. As the main review notes, it's an amazing combination of precision and wildness. For my money, the absolutely essential tracks are "Contort Yourself" and "Designed to Kill", in that order, but it's all worth a download. Also, don't miss "Christmas With Satan" (available on James White & The Blacks or the ZE Christmas album).

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Free jazz avant punk


Released in '79 this is a good taste of the no wave scene in New York. CBGB's, the Knitting Factory et al. I have this cd from when it was re-released in '95 Be warned it is an acquired taste and on first listen the skronky sax and seemingly random guitar takes a few listens to fully grasp. For fans of Lydia Lunch and Brian Eno Start with tracks 3, 6 and 10. If you like those then go for 1, 4 and 5. By then you'll just take the whole thing.

eMusic Features


Who Are…Guerilla Toss

By Paula Mejia, Contributor

Guerilla Toss is a Boston-based collective comprised of four ex-music school nerds and one former gospel-choir singer, each of whom took their respective musical educations and applied it in every way their mentors instructed them not to. The result? Demonic guitar riffs, revving synths, warped time-signatures, funkadelic drums and vocals that shift from whispers to screams in a single turn of phrase. The band's NNA Tapes debut, Gay Disco, is a plucky homage to the days… more »

They Say All Music Guide

In 1979 the quintessential no wave group released two albums simultaneously; Buy was effectively the Contortions’ debut, originally appearing on the indie label ZE, while the same project was released as Off White under the adopted alias of James White, one of the many identities of leader James Chance. The Contortions are considered to be one of the most important and influential groups of the New York no wave scene, which spawned the crazed postmodern persona of James Chance alongside Lydia Lunch, Mars, and DNA, among others. James Chance was a sort of avant lounge lizard personality cult who led numerous projects throughout the ’80s, yet he never quite topped the warped distillation of punk, funk, and free jazz presented here, making Buy a pivotal recording of the New York post-punk era. His hybrid of free jazz sax blowing and agitated funk takes the contortions up a notch from the four tracks the band contributed to the Eno-produced No New York compilation, which debuted the furious angular syncopation of transfigured funk and disco rhythms which became the Contortions’ signature. Chance’s vocals and discordant sax will sound strangely familiar and appealing to fans of early Roxy Music and Television. – Dean McFarlane

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