The Bizarros

The Bizarros – The Bizarros (Mercury) 1979. The Bizarros were one of the bands signed to the Mercury Label’s imprint “Blank Records”. The band recorded their self titled album in 1978. Blank folded before the recording was complete, so the Bizarros album was released on Mercury Records.

Other bands that were on the Blank label included Pere Ubu and the Suicide Commandos. I have no idea why Mercury focused it’s attention on the midwest of all places but all three Blank releases were bonafide classics.

The Bizarros LP sits somewhere between the poppy drive of the Suicide Commandos and the more abstract experimentalism of Pere Ubu. There is a strong Velvets vibe with many of the tracks. Young Girls At Market and White Screen Movies for instance both feature “What Goes On” style riffage. What makes the Bizarros stand out from your garden variety Velvets homage is Nick Nicholis’ totally snide vocals.

I don’t really know what happened with Blank Records. If anyone can fill that part of the story in, please do. My suspicion is that Blank was another example of the record industry’s complete lack of understanding of punk/new wave music in general.

I first heard the Bizarros on the excellent ROIR cassette “Trouser Press Presents the Best ofAmerica Underground” with the cut I Bizarro. This was an amazing comp and introduced my hardcore-lovin’ mind to all kinds of new-wavey stuff I had previously scorned. On a side note, it had an amazing cut by The Suburbs called World War III. I long ago lost this tape. You can hear a sample of this great song here. I wish Twin Tone would offer individual track purchases!

Two of the tracks on this LP were previously on the Bizarros self titled 7inch. I think they benefit from the better production that Mercury/Blank provided. The Suicide Commandos LP is posted on KBD Records for those who are interested. The Bizarros have a very informative website here and seem to be recording again.

side A

Young Girls at Market
The Waves Cry
Seeing is Believing
Quiana Girls
After the Snow

side B

Laser Boys
Artie J
It Hurts, Janey
Lady Doubonette
Mind’s a Magnet
White Screen Movies

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9 Responses to The Bizarros

  1. fherrera says:

    Thanks for this! The blog is g-r-e-a-t!!! I have a Bizarros 7″ EP on tape (Gorilla Records, 1976) with the 4 songs Lady Dubonette, I bizarro, Without reason, Nova. The only song that appears in the LP posted here is Lady Doubonette. The version is very different, it’s not a matter of “better production”, it has a totally different feel. Anyway, I’m liking this LP better than the EP (I’m listening to it for the 1st time, thank you!)

  2. Anonymous says:

    You’ll find the full version here if you are interested.
    http://modulate.blogspot.com/2004_08_01_modulate_archive.html

  3. ian says:

    Fantastic! Rubber City flexes tyred muscle and pops rather than rocks. Seemingly they ventured back into the studio and cut some new material in 1996 ; i wonder how their sound has aged. Thanks, Joe.

  4. Anonymous says:

    thanks for posting it. there were many times on ebay was I was just about to buy this LP. The Bizarros first single on Clone. The LP is great too. The Bizarros I read were once said to be “a thinking man’s Ramones”, at least that’s what some journalist wrote. I think they definitely wrote more mature lyrics than the Ramones and they were a bit more far out than the Ramones. It’s too bad they did not get the attention they deserved.

    At the All Music Guide website, it says this about the Bizarros and Clone Records: “the Bizarros; the first Akron band signed to a national record deal, the group’s frontman Nick Nicholis also operated the fabled Clone label, which issued records by key regional acts including the Waitresses, Tin Huey, Human Switchboard and the Rubber City Rebels. Nicholis formed the Bizarros in late 1976 while a student at the University of Akron, and within months the band signed to Blank Records, the Mercury subsidiary founded by A&R exec Cliff Burnstein for the express purposes of signing Pere Ubu”

    So, it seems like when that Pere Ubu release on Clone failed to make a big success in the USA and when Mercury dropped Pere Ubu all together, the A+R staff at Mercury also dropped the Clone Records projects. Pere Ubu thankfully found another label to keep on going and they found much more respect in Europe than in the USA. The Bizarros although they got the LP released on Mercury got the raw end of the deal.

    I would have loved to seen the Bizarros perform during the 1977-1980 period, but I was born in 1979, so there was little chance of anything like that happening. Hell, I would love to see the Bizarros perform today but they never come near my area.

    The Bizaroos rule forever, it’s the music they made that stays alive.

    Tony

  5. Ian B says:

    Nice one! Wanted to hear more Bizarros since I first copped “Young Girls At Market” c/o Jon Savage’s (ace) England’s Dreaming comp – am REALLY looking forward to hear an entire LP’s worth…! x

  6. Joe says:

    waddya think?

  7. Jim says:

    Thank you so much for posting this. I have that ROIR tape (I buy anything I see with their logo on it) and both “I, Bizarro” and that Suburbs track are killers (as are most of the things on the tape). As soon as I figure out this new set up I got, I’ll copy it to digital.

  8. tradevinyl@gmail.com says:

    i’ve got Bizarros “Laser boys” 7″ Clone Records 1978 and other punk/hc/oi! records for sale. For full list write to tradevinyl@gmail.com

  9. Lee Davis says:

    I really can’t believe I’ve managed to track down info on this band – I have loved them FOREVER! I thought I was the only one who knew about them. The funniest thing is that I first saw the self-titled LP at the Lincoln Center Record Library in NYC. Then, every thrift store I frequented seemed to have a copy or two, but since the 90s, I haven’t found the album again, and I was really jonesing to hear “Qiana Girls”. Thanks to the power of my search abilities, I was able to locate an MP3-version of the album which is good enough for me. I’ll just wait around for the vinyl to make its’ way back from the underground and grab a copy when it does. Time to blast some tracks!!!

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