Escort, JC BROOKS
Simon Phoenix (of Tax Lo)
1811 14th St. NW
Washington, DC, 20009
This event is all ages
ESCORT is big. Literally. Enjoying accolades ranging from the New York Times to Pitchfork, the seventeen-member "disco orchestra" features an incredible cast of musicians including founders/producers Eugene Cho and Dan Balis, and fronted by lead singer Adeline Michle.
Escort burst on to the scene in 2006 with a string of critically acclaimed 12"s that included future classics "Starlight" and "All Through The Night", a pair of DJ staples that get still get plenty of play on dance-floors. As DJs nursed their electro-clash hangover with a seemingly never ending stream of disco edits, Escort stood out, in part, by creating dance music the old fashioned way: with impeccable production, musicianship, and songwriting.
The following several years saw them bring the same uncompromising approach to their live show. In an era where dance music is dominated by samples and computers, Escort took a sprawling ensemble to the stage and developed a reputation as one of New York's most compelling live acts, capable of performing their elaborate recordings note for note. Their extravagant New York City shows prompted a cover story in the Village Voice declaring them "poised to become Gotham's premier live dance act" and reviews of their shows in Time Out New York and the New York Post auspiciously labeled them the "city's best live band."
Escort's debut LP has finally arrived, the culmination of years of painstaking work in the studio. And the wildly enthusiastic critical reception suggests it was more than worth the wait. Pitchfork raved, "Escort isn't just the pinnacle of 21st- century of disco fetishism. It's a great pop album." Spin called it the "Best Disco Album of 2011... disco at it's urbane, hedonistic best." and Rolling Stone called it "a wickedly catchy, note-perfect return to the heyday of disco."
The entire album is steeped in the venerable tradition of clubland's holy trinity - New York, Chicago, and Detroit - but it seems particularly reminiscent of mutant-pop luminaries such as Kid Creole and the Coconuts and Ian Dury, who somehow managed to translate their sardonic sensibilities to the dance-floor. And by embracing the legacy of these forward-thinking but classic acts, they have yet managed to create something strikingly new.
The LP's opener "Chameleon" is a perfect example: a three-act play about the French serial impostor Frederic Bourdin, set to a beat that's equal parts Thriller and the Tom Tom Club. The tracks, "Make Me Over" and "Why oh Why" seem to explore the lost possibilities of another era, rather than simply trying to re-create it. The 1937 standard "A Sailboat in the Moonlight" is twisted into a lost August Darnell classic. The album also includes the definitive versions of their 12" DJ releases - which have been remixed, remastered, rearranged, and re-recorded specially for the LP - to complete an album with absolutely no filler.
Scissor Sisters frontman Jake Shears recently described Escort as the "best disco you've ever heard." He just might be right.
In his 1970 Playboy Interview, Ray Charles described soul as "people who do things from the heart." In performance and on record, it is undeniable that JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound are 100% soul. With a sound that calls to mind the melting pot Chicago Uptown neighborhood they're named for—a meeting of Otis Redding and the Stooges—JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound get crowds twisting and writhing on the floor, something that's been sorely missing from live music.
On Want More, JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound's first album for Bloodshot, the charismatic Brooks erupts with raw emotion, harnessing the Uptown Sound's post-punk reimagining of JB's moves and MG's grooves to unleash pure and uncompromising soul music ranging from sweaty on-the-one workouts ("I Can See Everything"), dance-punk booty shakers (the title track "Want More"), garage rock thump humps ("Baaadnews"), and aching R&B ballads ("To Love Someone (Who Don't Love You)") without a missed step in between. JCBUS are not just another throwback group; they came to be during an age of war, envisioning an aggressive dance music with lyrics that dig deeper and hit harder than the usual "baby, baby" fare.