• Bizarros/Rubber City Rebels
  • From Akron (Clone) 1977 
  • Bizarros
  • Bizarros (Mercury) 1979 

If not as well known as other Ohio rockers of their late-’70s era (Devo, Chrissie Hynde, Pere Ubu, Dead Boys), Akron’s Bizarros had substantial impact on the early indie scene, through their hard-edged records and singer Nick Nicholis’s Clone label, which released records by the Waitresses, Human Switchboard and others. In a classic case of bridesmaidery, the Bizarros — who have reformed in the 21st century — were more influential than popular.

Playing serious, intense, sometimes hypnotic rock with poetically inclined verbiage and pre-Gang of Four jabbing guitars, Bizarros music is strong and affecting. Their half of From Akron is pretty raw and hard to enjoy. But by the time of their self-titled album (released by a major label, self-produced with an engineer, wrapped in strictly amateur artwork), however, the quintet had developed considerable polish, which they use to good advantage without compromising their strength.

[Ira Robbins]