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An influential part of the New York No Wave scene in the late 70's and early 80's. Featured alongside Lydia Lunch's Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, along with DNA and Mars on Brian Eno's 1978 compilation No New York.

Alto-saxophonist James Chance, along with various bandmembers, created a unique blend of punk, funk, jazz, and new wave with a nihilistic energy firmly rooted in punk and foreshadowing that of the 90's grunge movement. The band never enjoyed widespread success or notoriety, and ended along with the No Wave movement itself in the late 70's. James Chance formed a new band, however, under the name James White and the Blacks, which was influenced more by James Brown, though still infused with Chance's abrasive attitude and sound. Some of The Contortions' better songs include Dish it Out, Flip Your Face (which Steve Albini once cited as his favourite song), Jaded, and I Can't Stand Myself, all of which were featured on No New York.

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