Thursday, 1 January 2015


Year:  1979
Country:  UK
City:  London
Label:  Universal
Format:  CD, LP
Tracks:  12
Time:  40 min.
Genre:  rock
Style:        Punk       Dub

This UK feminist punk outfit formed in 1976 with a line-up featuring Ari-Up (b. Arianna Foster; vocals), Kate Korus (b. Katherine Corris, New York, USA; guitar), Palmolive (b. Paloma Romero; drums, ex-Raincoats) and Suzi "Gutsy" Webb (bass).  Korus soon left to form the Mo-dettes and Gutsy quit to team up with the Flicks. They were replaced by guitarist Viv Albertine and bass player Tessa Pollitt and it was this line-up that supported the Clash during the spring of 1977.  The band were known for their uncompromising attitude and professed lack of technique, but their music was as aggressive and confrontational as the best of the punk fraternity. Their failure to secure a record contract during the first wave of the punk explosion was surprising. By the time they made their recording debut, Palmolive had been ousted and replaced by Big In Japan percussionist Budgie (b. Peter Clark, 21 August 1957).   Signed to Island Records, they worked with reggae producer Dennis Bovell on the dub-influenced Cut. The album attracted considerable press interest for its sleeve, which featured the band naked, after rolling in mud.  The departure of Budgie to Siouxsie And The Banshees (replaced by the Pop Group's Bruce Smith) coincided with the arrival of reggae musician Prince Hammer and trumpeter Don Cherry, whose very young stepdaughter, Neneh Cherry also joined for a short period. A series of singles followed, including a memorable version of John Holt's "Man Next Door".  By 1981, The Slits had lost much of their original cutting edge and it came as little surprise when they disbanded at the end of the year. Ari-Up revived The Slits in the new millennium for a series of low-key live sets.
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"return of the giant"
Year:  1981
Label:  Universal
Format:  LP, CD
Tracks:  8
Time:  40 min.
Genre:  rock
Style:        Punk        Dub

"Return of the Giant Slits" is a slippery, glorious mess that will infuriate anyone expecting the Slits to revisit their debut. The nervous energy that powered "Cut" is seemingly replaced with a relaxed smoked-out vibe that belies the group putting their Jamaican influences-- as well as their interest in other world musics-- front and center. At times, this might make the record sound like aimless noodling, the band just biding time on the label's dime while someone behind the mixing board packs a new bowl. However, while this tact has little in common with the pogo grind essayed by their more traditional punk rock contemporaries, they're right in line with the off-the-wall antics of their more open-minded countrymen, like This Heat and especially the Pop Group. For "Return...", it's not a case of less energy, but repurposed energy.
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