My latest musicological find…although appreciation for their music has been around for years, ESG are new to me, and what an interesting, unpolished gem it is.
ESG – Emerald, Sapphire and Gold aka the Scroggins Sisters are a bizarre fusion of DIY post-punk-funk pre-disco proto-hip-hop, full of erratic percussion, no wave guitars, killer basslines, cheerleader choruses and other weird and interesting sounds.
The band emerged out of South Bronx, New York during the musically fertile early 80s post-punk and hip hop scenes, releasing a couple of EPs and one album. Ever since the band have been off again / on again, enjoying a short renaissance in the 90s thanks to some exposure through the hip-hop of the day sampling some of their break-friendly tracks.
*For more bio info: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/esg-mn0000167386/biography
The band really tipped their toes in every genre around at the time, but ever-present are the plucky walking bass lines of sister Deborah and repetitive call and response vocals of Renee and Marie, that gave them their unique sound that subtly seeped into later alternative music.
Beth Ditto (with The Gossip) and Luscious Jackson are ESG’s most obvious musical descendants, but the band also fills that sphere of influence between Salt N Pepa and L7 by way of the Go-Gos.
Some highlights below, but their compilation album A South Bronx Story (part 1 and 2) are well worth digging out on the internet.
(*I’ve included the studio recordings, but also check out some of the live recordings on YouTube for a fuller picture of the band…)
My Love For You – a rollicking cow-belling garage punk track that wouldn’t be out of place in any decent breaks or funky club mix…
Dance – the Beth Ditto blueprint, full of spunky attitude, earworm bass line and cool rolling drum breaks….
Erase You – a later track, a sassy girl power anthem – and my favourite by far…featuring some great whiny punk rock guitar and the memorable lyrics:
“…I was out with Tony/he had so much gold/but it was phony” – chorus: “E-race-shoo / just like a draw-ing/flush you like my toilet”
*Thanks to the band Moon Duo – whose forthcoming album Shadow of the Sun, out March 2014, I am really looking forward to – for turning me on to ESG via their Facebook post earlier this week.