The Go-Go's, L7, the Donnas, and a few other bands made strides regarding serious acceptance of all-female by critics and audiences, but the prototype for wild musical gals that honestly didn't give a shit if anyone "accepted" them or not was the Slits. They formed in Britain in 1976 and by '77, armed with more gumption than technique, they'd landed a spot on the Clash's White Riot tour of England.
By the time of their first studio album Cut (1979), the Slits had for the most part supplanted unfocused punk fury by heavily rhythmic roots-reggae with a satirical and feminist sensibility. By 1981's Return of the Giant Slits, they'd fully embraced Jamaican dub, African sounds, and hints of the avant-garde. Then they disbanded. The present Slits, featuring original members Ari Up and Tessa Pollitt and new additions Hollie Cook (daughter of Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook), Adele Wilson, and Anna Schulte, are back and picking up where they left off, albeit absorbing some hip-hop influences. They're still angry, bless 'em: "Ask Ma" takes on men bringing their "mother" issues into relationships, "Issues" is about breaking cycles of abuse, and "Peer Pressure" is about just that and the influence of media on the young. Ari Up's vocals (likely an influence on Björk, btw), while smoother with age, are still exultant and vinegary, the Jamaican rhythms are deep, righteous, and entrancing, and the spacey crackle of dub adds spice to their already heady stew. Also, "Cry Baby" is a sweet, soul-drenched slice of velvety lovers' rock. Welcome back, ladies. (Narnack)
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