Monday, August 09, 2004

The Slits

Typical Girls Won't Pay More Than $8.00 So Why Should You? Don't
Basic Records, 1981

(image courtesy Typical Girls Slits Online

So when Ioki posted the Slits cover of Heard it Through the Grapevine, well the challenge was on! Here we have a rather good "bootleg" from the Slit's 1980 tour - but released in 1981 around the time they got the CBS contract. Hear them in their unrestrained glory - side one (my preferred side) is set in San Francisco and side two in Cincinnati.

Albertine, Ari, Tessa Pollit
The Slits, New York City, 1980 or 2980 or 980
Photo Courtesy John Harp's Audiophile Reference Site
Photo credit: Fran Pelzman / Ebet Roberts Posted by Hello

Ari-Up is perhaps the biggest revelation -- "Newtown" and "Soar with It" and some other cuts suggests that a certain Icelandic young lady was out in the audience taking notes. "Newtown" is my favorite cut. We can also hear what would become an eventual morph into Dub/Reggae ("A Little Pig Cry", "Fade Away") starting here. "Typical Girls" was, I think, their try at a single and is different enough from the other cuts, starting with a sorta VU groove and then that poppy riff that was so typical of the '80s (get it?) - the studio version is on their recently released "Cut" (best price found at Forced Exposure - link on the right). I'm not in love with all the cuts -- some have a tendency to, ah, wander around (I think they call it noodling in the University). Some of the in-between song patter is unintentionally funny - I'll have to make a sample of it sometime.

The Where Are They Now Part: - Ms. Up appears with her own NYC band - check out that hair, she hasn't cut it since 1980. She played at Morrissey's Meltdown, rumors that there was going to be a more substantial Slits' reunion didn't come to pass. Here's one review that said her performance was "exuberant" (somehow I'm not surprised) but disappointing that she was relegated to a foyer. Viv Albertine is a film-maker, although she hasn't worked since 1992 - her last film starred a pre-Titantic Kate Beckinsdale and Chris Eccleston (available nowhere). Tessa Pollitt is still around and doing interviews at least. Palmolive, who was long gone by the time this one came out left music to go to India and find God -- she's now an evangelical Christian in Massachusetts - she was to play at the Cobain-inspired Raincoats reunion (but he shot himself instead) and still plays "FM" with her husband but they've changed the lyrics to be about Jesus Christ - a horrid-sounding version is available here as well as a 2002 interview with her that says McClaren wasn't their manager because she didn't want anything to do with him... huh... that's not what I read, but okay.

The Samples:

Newtown (edit) - I removed about 15 seconds of drums in the beginning that had a weird sort of interference
Typical Girls

For a band with relatively little "legitimate" output, they've inspired a pretty rabid and wide fan base as google and alltheweb searches attest. Here's just a few that I found:

The Slits - concise history of the band - did you know that the founding members got together after Sid Vicious kicked them out of his first band?
Typical Girls Online (Unofficial Band Website) - good resource, lyrics, discographies, etc.
The Slits - a Punk Band Page
A Brief History of the Slits
Animal Space - and it just goes on and on....

1 comment:

Jim H said...

So I just realized that Kate Beckinsdale WASN'T the Kate in the Titantic as I said above -- but she's still the one in Viv's unfindable movie Rachel's Dream. Kate B. is of course the best thing about Van Helsing and my unobtainable love object after her slutty bad girl role in Last Days of Disco (I spit on Sevigny, ptoo, ptoo).