Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bagarre- Circus (1982) (320kb)

This record fits this blog's mission, but perhaps not its readers. By that, I mean, if you like and read this blog, you probably enjoy early 80s post punk and new wave with female vocals. However, many (at one point in time, myself) 'femme vox' fans have never heard of a genre called italo disco.  This is too bad, as it is essentially the disco version of New Wave, at least in Europe (obviously). Like in many punk and inspired genres (new wave and early electronic music) there was an explosion of female vocalists, and combined with disco's already existing propensity towards female vocals, this means that there is an entire genre of music with loads of female vocals and punk inspiration that most Americans have never heard of. That's just a shame to me, especially since i'm a fan of italo disco and female vocals (also obviously).

For the uninitiated, Italo Disco is essentially minimal electronics akin to the British and French electronic scenes of that era, but with a unique, pop bent- it's not an Italian version of American or British synth pop (electronic music rooted in rock based pop), although the two can overlap, it's disco (electronic music rooted in disco). The distinction makes sense once one emerges themself in the European electronic scenes of the early 80s. It just happen to originate in Italy, and that is a whole different story, for a whole different post. Continuing on...

Video: Bagarre- Lemonsweet (the most common song played in the clubs, back in the day, somewhat ironic as it's about a person who collapses in Studio 54 while on drugs).

That bring us to this post and how it has to do with this blog. Bagarre was an early Italo band that blends the line between New Wave, Post Punk, and Italo Disco, and it's quite fun, and held up very well (and that's saying a lot, in a period where a lot of music has not held up so well...). In fact, Twin Shadows did a cover of one of their songs on this album last year, called "changes" which you should also check out. The album is a mix of awesome guitar loops, with such trendy 80s sheen you can imagine it being played in any John Hughes film. The vocals are quite good for Italo Disco (they often couldn't speak English, so the vocals were often enjoyably horrible) however the singer is part English. This allows her to give the songs some actual lyrics rather than the standard meaningless disco lyrics of the era. It's got saxophones, drum machines, and lots of moaning. Some songs sound like electo disco jams, some sound like they belong on one of Calvin Johnson's infamous female vocal post punk cassettes. Anyways I hope you give it a try, even if you didn't understand a thing I just wrote about. A flac and a 320kb mp3 link are in the comments. Enjoy!

FYI: If you really enjoy the album, a bootleg repressing of the original vinyl can be found on discogs for pretty cheap for italo disco standards (about $20 US, plus shipping). They also put out a number of 12" singles and another album Epitaph in 1985.