James Chance, a key figure in No Wave,  has been playing a combination of improvisational jazz-like music and punk in the New York music scene since the late 1970s.


Chance differed from some of his no wave compatriots by possessing (and demanding from his band) a certain level of musical skill and talent. His music can be described as combining the freeform playing of Ornette Coleman with the solid funk rhythm of James Brown, though filtered through a punk rock lens.


”James Chance & The Contortions make dance music for people who hate dance music. The Flesh Is Weak,  is the NO WAVE pioneers’ first proper album since the early ’80s. Chance sounds just as wild-eyed and manic as ever, his live-wire howls dancing atop an unsteady groove that seems in danger of spinning off into complete chaos at any second. First you contorted yourself; now get ready to melt yourself down.” —stereogum.com

“From the opening discordant blast of Farfisa organ, to those agitated funk-in-distress cries, Memphis horn blasts and surreally sinister lyrics this is premier James Chance product, fit to be filed alongside Contort Yourself and Bedroom Athlete...” — Mojo4music.com


”Melt Yourself Down” featured on NPR's show All Songs Considered. LISTEN HERE



Buy (ZE-Arista 1979) (The Contortions)

Theme from Grutzi Elvis (EP ZE 1979)

Off White (ZE-Buddah 1979) (James White & The Blacks)

Second Chance (ZE-PVC 1980)

Live aux Bains Douches (Fr. Invisible 1980) (The Contortions)

Live in New York (cassette tape ROIR 1981) (The Contortions)

Sax Maniac (Animal 1982) (James White & The Blacks)

James White Presents The Flaming Demonics (ZE-Island 1983)

Melt Yourself Down (Selfish Records Japan 1986)

Soul Exorcism (tape ROIR 1991) (The Contortions)

Lost Chance (ROIR 1995)

Molotov Cocktail Lounge (Enemy Records / Zebralution 1996)

White Cannibal (ROIR 2000)

Christmas with Satan (single Tiger Style 2002)

Irresistible Impulse (retrospective Tiger Style 2003)

Sax Education (2004)

James Chance & Terminal City - Get Down and Dirty! (Wind bell 4 2005)

Pre-Teenage Jesus, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (EP ZE 1978)

James Chance & Terminal City - The Fix is in (decade 01 / Interbang Records IBR005 2010)

Twist Your Soul - The Definitive Collection 2xCD (History Records 2010)

Incorrigible! James Chance and Les Contortions (LADTK 2012)

The Flesh is Weak (True Groove, 2016) (James Chance and the Contortions)