Posts Tagged ‘post punk’
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:
02, C’est disco (reprise)
03, Bimba (“baby girl”)
05, C’est disco
07, Spacciatori (“pushers”)
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.
Given its commitment for a musica totale (“total music”) and its endeavours to establish a new urban rock form supporting artists such as Eugenio Finardi, Alberto Camerini, Andrea Tich, the same Claudio Rocchi, it made somehow perfectly sense that in the late Seventies Cramps Records directed its attention to the then rising italian punk scene, releasing already in 1978 “Karabigniere blues/Io sono un autonomo”, a single by Skiantos, the “demented rock” band which I already mentioned in the post about Gaznevada’s tape, and then their LPs MONOtono (“MONOtone”, 1978 ) and Kinotto (1979).
Following these first steps, in 1980, during the difficult times after the death of Demetrio Stratos, in the middle of “riflusso” and when its founder Gianni Sassi was increasingly losing interest in the label’s events, a new series of coloured-vynil 7″ by seven (post)punk acts from Central-Northern Italy was launched, under the name of “Rock ’80”. The songs from these singles (with the exception of Skiantos’ b-side “Mi piaccion le sbarbine” and Kaos Rock’s “Oh! Caro amore/Policeman”) were then collected in the same name album, curated and mixed by Paolo Tofani. A record which I consider the most meaningful epitath for this daring, clumsy, glorious independent record company.
Bologna led off the dance with two bands which had debuted on Harpo’s tapes series: just Skiantos, with a bowel-moving delirious funky about beans (“i fagioli son la mia anfetamina, i fagioli saran la mia rovina”: “beans are my amphetamine, beans will ruin me”…) and street rockers Windopen, with their anthem “Sei in banana dura” and the sleazy “La testa”. Skiantos ended up being one of the most influential and long-lived outfits in italian rock history. They’re alive and kicking, and a new album, Dio ci deve delle spiegazioni (“god owes us some explanations”) has been recently released. Windopen founder Roberto Terzani later joined Litfiba as a bass player when Gianni Maroccolo left the band, in 1990.
The Stranglers/2-Tone-oriented Take Four Doses from Rome – featuring Stefano Pistolini, now a well-known journalist and writer – wheezing introduced the Milan contributions: Kaos Rock were Gianni Muciaccia’s band with Luigi Schiavone on the guitars, who later joined Enrico Ruggeri in his successful solo career. Their a-side “Basta, basta” was already included as the opening track in the live tribute to Demetrio Stratos 1979 Il concerto (“1979 the concert”, 1979), but not in their sole album WW3 (1980). Wavey-garage X-Rated also appeared in the legendary Gathered (1982) compilation, together with Diaframma, Pankow, Not Moving, Death SS, Victrola, and others, before disappearing. As for Kandeggina Gang, you can check out my post about Jo Squillo Eletrix’s Girl senza paura, which featured a different version of their b-side “Orrore”.
Dirty Actions from Genoa completed the line-up with their prodigious ironic, messy clang’n’roll (“siamo figli del demonio, vi spacchiamo le vetrine, vi bruciamo le officine, vi alziamo le cantine, vi traviamo le bambine, vi vuotiamo le piscine, vi turbiamo le vecchine”, “we are sons of the devil, we smash your shop-windows, we burn your garages, we lift up your cellars, we corrupt your baby girls, we empty your swimming pools, we upset your little old ladies”). Their song “Bandana boys” was later included in Gathered as well. They seem still active; you can learn more about them on their web page.
Here is the tracklist:
01, Skiantos, Fagioli (“beans”)
02, Windopen, Sei in banana dura (“you’re in a hard banana”, street slang referring to a drug-related state of confusion)
03, Windopen, La testa (“the head”)
04, Take Four Doses, Vita di strada (“street life”)
05, Take Four Doses, La notte che inventarono gli eroi (“the night they invented heroes”)
06, Kaos Rock, Basta, basta (“that’s enough, that’s enough”)
07, Kaos Rock, La rapina (“the robbery”)
08, X-Rated, Blockhead dance
09, X-Rated, Routine
10, Kandeggina Gang, Sono cattiva (“i’m bad”)
11, Kandeggina Gang, Orrore (“horror”)
12, Dirty Actions, Rosa shocking (“shocking pink”)
13, Dirty Actions, Figli del demonio (Dirty Actions S-Ha) (“sons of the devil (dirty actions s-ha)”)
Get it: AA. VV., Rock ’80 (1980)