Playing with a Different Sex – Au Pairs (1981)


“Pointed, biting and sharp without collapsing into either heavy-handed sloganeering or vitriolic gnashing; the sexual and gender disparity and displeasure that form the back-bone of Playing with a Different Sex’ intention are as dexterous as they are striking. Faced with both a lack of recognition during their tenure, and the fact that these lyrics are as depressively on-topic today as they were in 1981, the LP becomes a sort of self-enclosed watershed, an intimate catharsis for a woman made as infuriated, discouraged and tired as a being can get. Most every erotic and political aspect that plagues modern co-existence gets a nod here – open relationships forged under false pretenses, erotic sojourners posing as prime fetishists, domestic abuse, emotional manipulation, the cult of dieting, sex turned into little more than another suburban chore and on and on, all of which reaches a boiling point on the unflinching and jagged ‘Armagh,’ with the lead singer Lesley Woods chanting ‘We don’t torture!’ as she dives headlong into the rumours of rape and debasement that swirled around Northern Irish political women’s prisons, an issue raised and re-raised that ultimately gained no worldwide exposure. The track, made insidiously catchy by an elastic bass-line that flings itself around searing guitar salvos is a shuddering marvel, earworm writing and grimly meaningful subject matter pulsing away in obscene apposition. …”
Sputnik Music
W – Playing with a Different Sex
Genius
YouTube: Set Up – OGWT (Live), Come Again
YouTube: Playing with a Different Sex (Full Vinyl)

Urgh! A Music War (1982)


Urgh! A Music War is a 1982 British film featuring performances by punk rock, new wave, and post-punk acts, filmed in 1980. Among the artists featured in the film are Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD), Magazine, The Go-Go’s, Toyah Willcox, The Fleshtones, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, X, XTC, Devo, The Cramps, Oingo Boingo, Dead Kennedys, Gary Numan, Klaus Nomi, Wall of Voodoo, Pere Ubu, Steel Pulse, Surf Punks, 999, The Alley Cats, UB40, Echo & the Bunnymen and The Police. These were many of the most popular groups on the New Wave scene; in keeping with the spirit of the scene, the film also features several less famous acts, and one completely obscure group, Invisible Sex, in what appears to be their only public performance. …”
Wikipedia
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Urgh! A Music War 26 videos

Au Pairs – Inconvenience / Pretty Boys (1981)


“Blasting into the post-punk consciousness with a tremendous debut album, the Au Pairs, fronted by lesbian-feminist Lesley Woods, played brittle, dissonant, guitar-based rock that shared political and musical kinship with the Mekons and (especially) the Gang of Four. The music was danceable, imbued with an almost petulant irony, and for a while, very hip and well-liked by critics. Unlike many bands of the day, however, the Au Pairs (at least initially) backed it up with searing, confrontational songs celebrating sexuality from a woman’s perspective. Also, they took swipes at the conservative political climate sweeping England after Margaret Thatcher’s election as Prime Minister. Occasionally, Woods‘ commitments to sexual and social politics made her sound inflexible, doctrinaire, and hectoring (especially on their OK second album). But, at first blush, the Au Pairs were a mighty intimidating proposition, able to take on so much and deliver great music in the process. After a desultory live album in 1983 (Live in Berlin), the band split up, and Woods and her bandmates have maintained a low profile. ”
allmusic
Genius (Audio)
Discogs
YouTube: Inconvenience / Pretty Boys

You/ Domestic Departure / Kerb Crawler – Au Pairs (1979)


“Au Pairs was formed in Birmingham and was fronted by lesbian feminist Lesley Woods (vocals, guitar). Other member were: Paul Foad (guitar), Jane Munro (bass) ja Pete Hammond (drums). Band played brittle, dissonant, guitar-based rock that shared political and musical kinship with the Mekons and (especially) the Gang of Four. The music was danceable, imbued with an almost petulant irony, and for a while, very hip and well-liked by critics. Their lyrics were about celebrating sexuality from a woman’s perspective and they also took swipes at the conservative political climate sweeping England after Margaret Thatcher’s election as Prime Minister. …”
PUNKNET 77 – Au Pairs
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: You – Domestic Departure – Kerb Crawler