Once in a great while an act comes around that knocks you out on first listen. Esser is one of those acts. A couple co-workers sent a link to Esser's video for the track "Headlock" to me and before I knew it, I was a fan of this new artist I knew next to nothing about. Check it out below and let me know if Esser gets you in a "Headlock" after the first listen as well.
Esser, like one Steven Patrick Morrissey, sports a rather large quiff and goes only by his surname. For those keeping track of such things, his full name is Ben Esser. He's from London, he's 23, and once played drums for trio known as Ladyfuzz. Despite the fact he's a relative newbie, Esser has already gained the attention of fellow musician types. The Kaiser Chiefs invited him along as an opening act for their sold-out U.K. arena tour, and Gnarls Barkley frontman Cee-Lo recruited Esser to lend his production talents to his upcoming solo set. In addition, legendary Clash cohort Don Letts stepped on stage with Esser at a performance in London.
As you heard, "Headlock" sounds a bit like a more accessible version of fellow U.K. artist the Streets. Braveface, Esser's debut album, was created mostly in his bedroom, but later augmented by producer Lexxx. Esser is reportedly obsessed with Joe Meek, the legendary U.K. producer best known for his work on the Tornados' 1962 hit "Telstar," but whose career was tragically cut short after he murdered his landlady and then himself.
Braveface has already hit the streets in the U.K., but won't be released in the U.S. until August 11. A little ditty called "I Love You," the album's first single, was released as a limited edition 300-copy vinyl pressing featuring the original version as well as a remix by hip-hop legend Prince Paul. The clip for "I Love You" proves Esser is no mere one-hit wonder, that he has the charisma to carry a video by merely singing, seated in a chair, and that he has the sense of humor to withstand a barrage of garbage and various fluids. Check it out below.
Despite his love of various production techniques, Esser is not locked in the studio but can strip his music down to its roots and bring it live to the streets. Check out this performance of "Satisfied," another single from Braveface, captured on the street by bandstandbusking.com and let me know if you think Esser has the goods to become a star in the U.S. or is he just another Brit sensation that will be lost in the shuffle in the States.