This isn’t one of those “Pure Disco” compilations that network tv airs infomercials for at 2am, I’m talking about the band “Escort”. This group is a real revival of the disco sound, and just a ton of fun!
Over the years disco has been replaced by techno and electronica and dumbed down so much that musicians and vocalists have been replaced by synthesizers. And if you can’t sing, no problem! We now have auto tuning! Luckily, auto tuning is quickly making it’s way back into the gutter it crawled out of, and real live musicians live again!
I am thrilled that disco, and music with a good beat, played by real musicians, is coming back into the mainstream. I read an article the other day that now, is the biggest time for dance music since the disco era in the 1970’s and early 1980’s. Yeah! Glad to have you back!
My friends will tell you I am Gi-Normous nerd for disco. It’s what I grew up on, and it’s never worn out its welcome with me. Given the opportunity, I will instigate a disco dance party whenever possible and I keep a good mix on my iPod should the occasion arise!
(I plan on doing a whole column on my love for disco later on, so I better stop and focus on the band this column is supposed to be about!) Due to my love of the genre, “Escort” was a natural shoo-in from the moment I heard them.
The first song I heard by them was “Make-Over”, a very catchy, disco driven song. Fantastic! So I went in search of more, with doubt, only because, I’ve been burned before. Bands have come into my life where just one song will blow me away, and I think that the rest of their music has the same or a similar sound. And then I go to listen to the rest of their album or music catalogue, and find that it was all just a tease. That funky song was just a fluke, here’s what they really sound like… (Geez, this sounds like a bad boyfriend analogy too! Let’s go with it!)
But like that tease of what turned out to be a bad boyfriend, there’s a good guy out there that follows through, and this band does just that. They are pure, real disco that sounds like it’s more or less straight out of the era it was born in. They are a genuinely fun surprise!
“Escort” was formed by a duo Dan Balis and Eugene Cho and morphed into a 17 piece performing band (who play real instruments!) including Caleb Burhans from Arcade Fire (who is no stranger to playing in big ensemble bands), and a line-up of backing vocalists including Joy Dragland, Karlie Bruce, Angelica Allen, with most of the main vocals being sung by Adeline Michelle.
Their disco is straightforward, but also just different enough that kids now a days will think it’s a whole new sound. It’s original disco with a bit of new groove to it that keeps the old school going with a fresh sound to it.
“Escort” has released a number of singles and put out their first full length album in November of 2011. The entire record is a smash, full of fun dance tracks with a few standouts (as always I have a few select favorites, although really, the whole album is fabulous!)
“Cocaine Blues” – This song would have been playing on regular rotation at Studio 54 with people trying to hold their pinky nails and tiny spoons up to their noses while they danced!
“Make Over” starts with the bongos and a suttle breathing sound in the background. The vocals and synthesizer come in with some sound effects, building into a funky chorus.
“Why Oh Why” is a straight up disco track that sounds like it could have been another Thelma Houston hit. She proclaims: “I’ve had lovers for at least three lives, I’ve done it all at least a thousand times.” I know girl… Ha! Ha!
“Starlight” sounds like it came straight from 1977. This song should be an instant dance club hit! And if your not in a club, this one will have you turning your kitchen into a dance floor!
“All Through The Night” is another classic made for the dance floor. This is one is more “let’s get to know each other real quick while I put my parts near your parts then see what happens after the song is over!” (Ok, that was silly, but you get the idea!)
If you want to check out “Escort”, (and I can’t see why you wouldn’t!), you might look at their MySpace page. I say might, because their really isn’t much on there. And as for their own band website, it’s pretty useless except to advertise that they have a new album out.
This website has a free download of “Cocaine Blues” which is my favorite song by them, so far!
The band also does not have many videos, but I did I find this live performance
from 2010 complete with a disco ball and hot pants!
By the way, punching in the word “Escort” into Youtube brings up some weird shit. Don’t bother putting in the word “band” after it either. Luckily it doesn’t get weirder, but it doesn’t help in your search for the band’s performances.
And staying on the disco front, for my song of the day, I chose Taste of Honey’s “Boogie Oogie”, 1978 – perfect for Valentine’s Day, yes? This song is made even more awesome because it had women playing guitar and bass – which was quite a rarity back then.
And it became one of the biggest hit disco songs ever.