Listen: Typical Girls / The Slits SlitsTypical.mp3
Did testing one’s musical tolerance begin in the 60′s via prog rock, or was it an on going process starting with jazz in the 50′s? It certainly hit full swing by the late 70′s. When art met punk, the first requirement seemed to be an inability to play. But the resulting cringe factor was admittedly addicting. There were a bunch of labels that bent over backwards to like the unlikeable, and then it started to spill to the majors.
I ended up being sucked into The Slits despite my intensions otherwise. A strong image, great sense of reggae/dub, spot-on producer choice (Dennis Bovell) and top packaging helped launch their Island period (about a year in length) during ’79. After all, they were the new GTO’s in my book, but to others, it all hid behind No Wave or some such genre.
Most of the plays I give ‘Typical Girls’ still result in a second spin, or lead me on to a couple of other tracks.
Listen: Man Next Door / The Slits SlitsManNextDoor.mp3
How does anyone resist a cover of John Holt’s classic ‘Man Next Door’. I love the original. I love Massive Attack’s and I love this.
Listen: Earthbeat / The Slits SlitsEarthbeat.mp3
Then there’s always ‘Earthbeat’, their fourth single. Have to say, I basically preferred this one. By now they’d absorbed the studio tricks Dennis Bovell had passed along, and working with Nick Launay and Dick O’Dell as producers, seemed to have replicated themselves successfully. It was a time when they were almost mainstream, and could’ve had a hit. After all, John Peel favorites like Killing Joke and The Fall were finding their way into the UK singles charts. Howard Thompson signed this to CBS, if corporate proof is needed of that possibility.
Listen: Earthdub / The Slits SlitsEarthdub.mp3
Definitely search out the 12″, as the B side, dub version, ‘Earthdub’, is worth owning.