Anni di piombo, anni di paillettes.

Music from a country on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

[music:] Rats, C’est disco (1981)

with 9 comments

I already wrote about Italian Records and its crucial role in the development of Italian new wave and italo disco in the post about Gaznevada’s first tape (by the way, finally available on cd via Shake Edizioni). The debut album by Rats is one of the lost gems from their back catalogue, lying at the nexus of the label’s two main interests, that is post-punk experiments and alternative dance music – even if the record was actually released through the subsidiary Nice Label.

Founded as Sextons in 1979 in a small town near Modena, Emilia Romagna, they changed their name to Rats, hired a young female singer – Claudia Lloyd – and made their live debut in 1980, soon establishing themselves as one of the most interesting act nationwide and drawing the attention of Gabriele Ansaloni aka Red Ronnie, a dj, agit-prop, pop entrepreneur and key figure in the last three decades of Italian music history, who co-financed their first LP.

C’est disco – recorded by the label’s founder Oderso Rubini and marked by the voice of Claudia – effectively captures their early darkest moments and their dance-punk attitude, while contorting themselves and screeching alongside Siouxsie and the Banshees, Malaria!, Bauhaus, Bush Tetras, Glaxo Babies, Au Pairs, Ludus, Chrisma, and obsessively evokes the unhealthy atmosphere of a sleazy, outlying night club.

Here is the tracklist:

01, Nazi
02, C’est disco (reprise)
03, Bimba (“baby girl”)
04, Please
05, C’est disco
06, Limbo
07, Spacciatori (“pushers”)
08, Off
09, Pill

Get it: Rats, C’est disco (1981)
[edit March 17th, 2009: download link has been fixed with the correct tracklist.]

Songs from the album were aired by the great, late John Peel, leading to a small and short-lived success accross Europe. Claudia Lloyd left the band shortly after the recordings of an unreleased follow-up to the first full-length, tentatively titled Tenera è la notte (“tender is the night”). These two records are longtime scheduled for a box-set reprint by Astroman, but no official release date has been yet announced.

The C’est disco line-up also appeared with “Tattoo” on the legendary double album Mission is terminated /Nice tracks, which featured four tracks by Throbbing Gristle and a cut up of songs by italian post-punk bands and excerpts from movies, interviews, radio broadcasts, field recordings, etc., released as a supplement to Red Ronnie’s magazine “Bazaar” in 1983.

Rats progressively shifted towards mainstream rock, achieving some fame in the early nineties, when they even happened to record with the notorious Italian rockstar Ligabue for the album Indiani padani (“padan indians”, 1992), and eventually disbanded in 1997. They reformed in 2007 and have been touring Italy since then. Here is their official website (in italian).

Red Ronnie has been a successful and influential tv presenter during the eighties and the nineties, and is still active as a promoter, a publisher, a music and pop culture consultant.

Written by alteralter

March 17, 2009 at 12:42 am

9 Responses

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  1. ciao alter,
    anch’io scopro solo adesso il tuo magnifico blog. e comincio subito a scaricarmi questo album che non conoscevo…
    complimenti per le dettagliatissime recensioni!
    ovviamente ti ho aggiunto nel blogroll.
    continua così!
    alla prossima

    titus

    March 17, 2009 at 11:23 am

  2. ottimo blog anche il tuo!
    ti ho aggiunto nella lista dei blog che seguo.

    gianni

    March 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm

  3. ottimo disco!
    l’ho ascoltato tutto proprio ieri…non sapevo che avevamo il pop group in italia…

    ellaguru

    March 18, 2009 at 9:33 am

  4. titus, gianni: grazie mille e a presto!

    ellaguru: addirittura! certo, nei rats manca la componente free e quel tribalismo/primitivismo che fu anche delle prime slits e di alcuni altri…

    alteralter

    March 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm

  5. Come si fa a non amare i Rats? dei tamarri senza se e senza ma🙂

    Questo disco non mi ha mai colpito particolarmente, troppo acerbo, oggi una copia mint costa parecchi euri.

    Rocorderei anche il tour in Unione Sovietica assieme, tra gli altri, ai CCCP.

    Ottime le info nel post

    Vikk

    March 19, 2009 at 10:47 pm

  6. benvenuto vikk.

    d’accordissimo, però dopo l’uscita di claudia lloyd, che wilko afferma essere stata defenestrata perché voleva essere la primadonna e si credeva patty pravo…

    se ritrovo il rockerilla con il resoconto di quel tour ti mando gli scan. se non sbaglio la line-up era litfiba, cccp, rats e i mista & the missis.

    grazie e a presto.

    alteralter

    March 19, 2009 at 11:21 pm

  7. …litfiba, cccp, rats di sicuro ma c’era anche qualcun’altro

    PS io li preferisco in versione tamarra, visti nel 1997, ma di quel concerto ricordo poco o nulla per un evento piuttosto tragico.
    Sudore e attitudine più che altro, li ho sempre inquadrati come il classico gruppo “da paese di provincia”, ed oggi a rivederli fanno la stessa tenerezza dei nostri orsacchiotti di quando eravamo piccoli

    Ricordo anche una loro partecipazione ad “Help” su Videomusic condotta da Red Ronnie, nella quale dichiaravano il loro amore per la new wave e new romantic.

    Comunque molto meglio di Ligabue come dimostra la loro versione di “Fuoritempo”

    Vikk

    March 20, 2009 at 2:19 pm

  8. eh no, io la versione indiani padani con taglio mohicano e chitarroni non la mando tanto giù invece. senz’altro meglio di ligabue, in ogni caso.

    alteralter

    March 20, 2009 at 2:47 pm

  9. ovvio che anche se la band ha lo stesso nome i 2 periodi non sono paragonabili, ma secondo me hanno fatto cose migliori come band di rock-tamarro che con i loro inizi punk-wave piuttosto confusionari, in ogni caso persone simpatiche ed autoironiche

    Vikk

    April 4, 2009 at 10:17 am


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