ESG’s stark blend of funk and postpunk influenced an army of dance-punk bands in the 2000s | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

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ESG’s stark blend of funk and postpunk influenced an army of dance-punk bands in the 2000s


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Listening to 1983’s Come Away With ESG—while never forgetting the cut-and-paste album art—it’s almost as though the Scroggins sisters (Renee, Valerie, Deborah, Marie) didn’t realize that their raw Bronx blend of funk, postpunk, and disco would go on to breed and influence a flourishing dance-punk scene in early-2000s NYC. No way, they were having much too hot a time in the now. You can hear that in tracks like “Dance” and “You Make No Sense,” stripped down to low-in-the-mix bass lines, perhaps a few repeated lyrics—often presented as simple directives—and simple and stark rhythms consisting of drums, tambourine, and, if we’re lucky, cowbell. They’re the kind of fresh grooves that the Rapture and Liars began aping 20 years later, and they sound as relevant today, aging even better than the high-gloss beats laid down by the group’s descendants. ESG have existed in long fits and starts since their inception while continuing to release music. Their most recent record, 2013’s Closure, is often a much more soulful and produced effort than their earliest material, but some of the more simmering, dancier tracks (e.g., “I Feel Tonight”) are true to the old credo. Tonight’s West Fest performance is a rare one, and if you like to get down even a little, it’s also one that should not be missed, rain or shine.   v

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