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New York City, New York, United States | INDIE

New York City, New York, United States | INDIE
Band Rock


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This band has not uploaded any videos




The temptations are all there right from the beginning of Everyone's Playing. Esque's 5-song EP kicks off with seductive reverb and a dynamic bass riff that dominate the entire record. The rhythm section represented here could easily compete with any other regional act in the genre. Bassist Basil Bayne could give more famous contemporaries, such as Interpol's Carlos D., a run for his major-label money. Following suit, singer Darren O'Brien croons somewhere between the realms of glam and goth, channeling the likes of Davids Bowie and Byrne. The fourth song on the record, "Hard Living," shows Esque writing its own version of Roxy Music's "Love is the Drug." The influences are certainly clear, but that doesn't take away from the impeccable execution. From the standout bass riff to the dazzling synth line, this track captures the compositional essence that made tracks like "Love is the Drug" so memorable. Esque then takes the familiar dance tune into newer and darker territory when a haunting, ghostly chorus bellows throughout the outro, creating an eerie atmosphere reminiscent of Radiohead's "Exit Music (For A Film)." Esque carries on, revealing its secret weapons in the final track, "The Escape Artist." The refreshing, lush piano introduction gives way to, yes, a post-punk dance beat, but it's just so darn delicious. The catchy refrain, with O'Brien's captivating delivery, has chart success written all over it. A delightfully surprising saxophone helps close out the record, which fades out too soon. - Southeastern Performer

"The Phillyist"

"Have you heard of these guys Esque, out of Memphis? The name is pronounced like the suffix, meaning "like" or "having the characteristics of." And what are they like? They're only like the best post-punk, New New Wave band we've heard in a long time is what. We've been listening to their 5-track EP Everyone's Playing, and there's not a track on it we don't love (although "The Escape Artist" is a particular favorite). It's super-fun, extremely danceable, totally tasty pop goodness, and we're not sure why it's not all over the radio right now." - The Phillyist


"Esque is onto something here. All of the songs are strong in the way their parts work together and change without sounding too forced, yet the tension always remains. They have influences that guide their taste, but personal expression still comes through in the end. Smart ideas with lyrics, production, and musicianship make for a great band and a great record. With infectious hooks and clever word-play, Everyone's Playing is as solid a start as any band could ask, and it only touches on the possibilities for Esque if their sound matures into something completely their own." - Localist

"House of Smut"

"Everyone's Playing possesses a power and maturity most new bands can only dream of. The focus of this material is squarely on melodicism, accentuated by a lush production touch awash in chorus, delay, and extremely wet reverb. Fortunately, Esque's songwriting capabilities prove just as impressive as their sound. If Everyone's Playing was the standard color by numbers Cure idol worship so prevalent in this form--and make no mistake, this disc will go over huge with fans of that band as well as disciples like Radio Berlin--there wouldn't really be much worth talking about here. Instead, Esque have managed to dig a little deeper for inspiration than most. This rooted depth combines with genuine and natural songsmithing skills to create a listening experience that's truly worthwhile. An impressive CD that becomes even more so when taking into account it's the band's recorded genesis--what a doozie of a start." - House of Smut

"Memphis Playbook"

"A dark and moody, far-too-short collection of '80s-influenced art rock. 'The Glorious Death of Me' is a grand four-minute drama with an overdriven chorus that will remind many of the Killers but mustn't be construed as a knockoff. 'The Lost Art of Suffering' is a terrific bit of New Wave Bowie with a haunting guitar riff. And on 'Hard Living' O'Brien puts Andy Summer's hanging chords from 'Driven to Tears' to startling new effect. Hopefully Everyone's Playing is just a taste of what's to come." - Memphis Playbook

"Memphis Flyer"

"An active rhythm section that knows its way around the dub- and funk-influenced side of the post-punk world. This is a band that luxuriates in its morosity, and with this water-bed rhythm section, it seems like a worthwhile gambit." - Memphis Flyer


9/06 - Everyone's Playing:
- Game I Lose
- The Glorious Death of Me
- Lost Art of Suffering
- Hard Living
- The Escape Artist
(all played on Sirius/XM, Pandora,, JetBlue/Frontier Airlines, and college radio)

5/10 Double Blind:
- Double Blind (Album Version)
- Double Blind (Free Blood Remix)
- Double Blind (Edie Sedgwick Ah Um Version)
- Double Blind (Omega Jarden Remix)
- Singing In the Dark

?/10: Tonightmares:
- Devils We Know
- Be My Stranger
- Double Blind
- This Wreck Age
- These Are The Things
- Hard Living
- The Protagonist
- The Escape Artist
- The Coward



Esque has always been a project rooted in the reconciliation of disparities. The pummeling rhythms of post-punk and goth meet blissful guitar and keyboard hooks of shoegaze and New Romanticism, all in support of emotionally stirring songs that capture a sophisticated glam sensuality, as well as the transcendental nostalgia of plaintive dream pop. And this is just a jumping off point, a consistent thread around which weavings of techno and electro, soul, disco, jazz, funk, Krautrock, prog, world music, and more find a welcome home.

This lush, often paranoid concoction is the brainchild of singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Darren O’Brien and drummer Chase Anderson, a pair of Memphians with strong ties to New Orleans. Their debut EP, Everyone’s Playing, self-released in September of 2006, was widely praised by Memphis and regional press.

After moving to New York individually, the group began playing shows with original bassist Basil Bayne Whatley, sharing the stage with Health and Crystal Castles, Suckers, the Acrylics, Free Blood, The Hundred in the Hands, Preacher & the Knife, Mirror Mirror, Omega Jarden, and more. A photo from one show is currently featured in a television spot for the New York Times. Meanwhile, the pair was seeking our talented collaborators, including current members Martin Richards and Agustin Cichero, a pair of Argentinian ex-patriate multi-instrumentalists, and steadily working on their first full-length, Tonightmares, a brisk yet menacing, subtly psychedelic work of paranoid art rock of impressive scope co-produced by Toshi Yano, a former member of the Fiery Furnaces, with keyboard engineering from ex-Psychedelic Fur Joe McGinty.

The first taste of Tonightmares is “Double Blind,” a dark and romantic, Moroder-meets-Simple Minds workout released this May as a 12" single with remixes from Free Blood, Omega Jarden, and Edie Sedgwick.