Cut – The Slits (1979)

“Here are some things you might already know about Cut, even if you haven’t heard one note of the Slits’ music: This is the first time the album’s been released domestically in the U.S. on CD (with the obligatory bonus tracks). The album cover features three members of the group wearing nothing but mud and loincloths. When the group first formed, they couldn’t play their instruments for shit. The songs on the album offer an amalgam of punk’s abrasive DIY WTF-ness and the spacious relaxed rhythms of dub reggae. This album is a keystone for any and all punk-based grrrl movements. And– though it goes without saying, it’s often said anyway– this album is terribly, terribly important in the history of the rock music and the grand scheme of canonical flippity floo flap. Funny thing is, for all its import, Cut is actually a lot of fun. Fun in the way Ari Up trills and coos and yelps across the songs like a precocious schoolgirl taunting all the boys and teachers. Fun in the way Viv Albertine scratches and waxes her guitar. Fun in the way Tessa’s bass and Budgie’s drums slip in and out of grooves like lovers test-driving the Kama Sutra. …”
Guardian – Mud, music and mayhem: why the Slits’ Cut is still up for a fight
allmusic (Audio)
W – Cut
YouTube: Cut 32:01


Return of the Giant Slits – The Slits (1981)

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. The inclusion of Pop Group drummer Bruce Smith in the group has a lot to do with the album’s success. He provides a deceptively primal backbeat that meshes perfectly with the odd angles the group explores. On ‘Earthbeat, he pounds out a simple tribal beat, a fine backdrop for the song’s two-note bass motif and Ari’s environmentally-conscious warbling. …”
W – Return of the Giant Slits
Genius (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: Earthbeat (Official Video)
YouTube: Return of the Giant Slits 16 videos

The Slits – Typical Girls / I Heard It Through The Grapevine (1979)

“This evening, as some of the world’s most bold-named and beautiful women make their way to the Met Gala in honor of ‘Punk: Chaos to Couture,’ the scene will be a full 180 degrees from what made the original punk promise so compelling for many women: It was about the rejection of popular standards of female attractiveness. Most of the women who self-identified with punk would not have imagined a day when Vogue or any mass magazine would canonize their nonconformist stance. With names like the Muffs, X-Ray Spex, and the Castrators, these ladies were trying to put as much distance as possible between themselves and the subscribers of those magazines. … Watch lead singer Ari Up perform crazy dance moves in a public park before an unsuspecting group of ‘normals.’ She looks pretty great with her short skirt, boots, red blazer, and long bangs. …”
Watch: The Slits Perform Their Classic Punk-Feminist Anthem ‘Typical Girls’ (Video)
YouTube: Typical girls, I Heard It Through The Grapevine

Various Artists – In the Beginning There Was Rhythm

“Angular guitars, funk- and disco-influenced rhythms, dabblings with electronic gadgetry, leftist politics, a dash of irony, and vocals that aren’t so much yelled or sung as they’re chanted or detachedly intoned must mean one thing and one thing only: post-punk. At the time of In the Beginning There Was Rhythm’s release, the level of resurgent interest in the style was so high that one might’ve expected a ten-part documentary series from Ken Burns. In reality, even Burns himself could’ve told you that there wasn’t a need for a ’23 Skidoo: Ken Burns Post-Punk’ compilation by the end of 2001. (Well, actually, he would’ve left them out of the series, so the point is probably moot.) After all, that artery was plugging quickly — even the smallest blips on the U.K. 1978-1982 radar were re-registering with releases that paired small-time pressings of singles with live shows and otherwise abandoned material. … Within its tightly wrapped confines, In the Beginning demonstrates post-punk’s breadth, showcasing within the grooves, jabs, and rattling waves of static the style’s influences (disco, funk, reggae, Krautrock, electronic experimentation) and the styles that the style influenced (indie rock, post-rock, almost every stripe of dance music that followed) at the same time. … Topping it off is a thick booklet full of photos and liner notes that cover each band and tie the music in with the social climate they were residing in. And while one might bemoan the exclusion of Public Image Limited, Associates, the Normal, Magazine, or other bands crucial to the ideology, there’s no denying that In the Beginning There Was Rhythm is a great gateway into this expansive, fruitful, trailblazing era.”
allmusic (Audio)
Discogs (Video)
YouTube: In The Beginning There Was Rhythm 11 videos