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DAILY FIX: The Slits

Posted by: Necci – Oct 21, 2010

Ari Up, founder and lead vocalist for The Slits, passed away yesterday at age 48. A highly influential figure in the history of punk, postpunk, indie and rock music, she formed The Slits, the first all-female band of the punk era, when she was only 14 years old. Their first album, Cut, released in 1979, fused the harsh sound of punk rock with significant tinges of reggae, helping to create a new, funkier sound that would come to be called "postpunk." Perhaps more significantly, Ari Up's role as a powerful, confrontational female lead vocalist helped to create a new paradigm for the role of women in the music world, and paved the way for singers like Kathleen Hanna and Karen O.

The Slits broke up in 1982, but had reformed in recent years, featuring only Ari Up and bassist Tessa Pollitt from the band's original lineup. They released an LP, Trapped Animal, in 2009, and the video above is for the song "Lazy Slam," from that record. It was the last work the Slits completed as a group, and was released posthumously according to Ari Up's wishes. The song is a straight-up reggae jam, with Ari adopting a Jamaican accent for her vocals, and sounds quite a bit different from the early work that The Slits are most famous for. Both the song and the video are quite entertaining, though, especially the latter, with Ari cavorting on the streets of LA in one of her trademark bizarre, colorful stage outfits. Chloe Sevigny also makes a cameo, seeming more like the New York hipster characters she was originally identified with than she has in a long time. The whole thing is certainly worth watching, though for those not familiar with the music of The Slits, it might not be the best introduction. For that, we've got this special bonus video, for "Typical Girls," the first single from their album Cut and possibly the band's best song:

Ari Up, 1962-2010. R.I.P.

By Andrew Necci

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