Friday, 22 April 2011

Slit Me This is Good

All - girl bands aren’t all about hating men and burning bras (partly as this has become an increasingly expensive hobby). They’re punky and fun and enjoy rocking out to an awesome guitar riff. Britain during the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s was sprogging out some of the best in the biz. Yet still, so many are quick to knock female artists. I have no idea why, but if you think girls are untalented and are all angry lesbian pixies who have been messed around by men so many times that they have nothing decent left to sing about (the obvious exception being Kittie, who are just plain awful), then you need to check out The Slits before entirely writing the female sex off as musically dead.

Formed from the ashes of several broken bands, Ari Up, Kate Korus, Suzy Gutsy and Palmolive were the founding members of The Slits in 1976. Damn, I wish I had a name as funky as that. But okay, if we’re going to get technical, The Slits haven’t been an all - girl band from the offset. The line up has changed so many times over the past few decades that you couldn’t keep up with it if even if you tried, but the main thing is that they have always been promoted as an all - girl band. PLUS they supported The Clash AND the Buzzcocks. This is all you really need to know to like them.

Agree or die.

Their first album Cut was a massive hit, and has influenced so many girls to pick up a guitar and release all their anger and frustration through the beautiful power of music. Typical Girls definitely spoke to me the first time I heard it. The lyrics are so punchy and addictive. The meaning of them hits you harder than the morning after the night before, where you knew you should not have had that entire bottle of tequila. Ari’s voice has a Grace Slick - ish element to it; raw and un - altered. A wonderful effect without the harshness of reverb; a far cry away from being a contemporary robot enslaved to the powers of technology. She sounds real.

Their second album also entitled Cut, came 15th in the 20 Sexiest Album Covers Ever. Who could blame the voters - three gorgeous women, wearing nothing but loincloths and caked from head to toe in mud. I mean seriously, check out those ladies below, and tell me you wouldn't be on that faster than a gourmand on a Parisian snail?

If you haven’t heard their version of I Heard it through the Grapevine then shame on you. The intro is epic; acapella harmonies, which goes into what can only be described as an orgasmic bass line. You really can’t help but bob your head in time to the beat, doing the scrunchy, lip pouty face thing (you all know the one I mean).

Up until October 20th 2010, The Slits were still touring. Sadly, the German born lead singer, Ari Up, died after a long struggle with cancer. She will always be remembered as the feisty, dread - locked singer, of a fearsome girl band that rocked the world, and if not that far, then they definitely make Monday mornings just that bit more bearable for me. I’m just sad that I never got to see them live.

You can check out The Slits on Myspace/Twitter/Facebook, and if you like them, have a listen to these bands who are on a similar wavelength: Jerfferson Airplane; Xray Spex; The Capricorns and Mika Miko. The Slits were an absolutely marvellous band and have had an incredible impact on society since the moment they first walked out on stage.

They were very far from being Typical Girls.