Ari Up remembered


It’s already been a bad year for losing musicians -and I’m absolutely gutted to learn today that Ari Up, lead singer of The Slits has died, at the age of cancer at the age of just 48.

If punk was supposed to have a scorched earth policy, there were certain acts who showed just how conservative peole might be, underneath it all. One act that might apply to was Suicide, but another was the Slits. At just fourteen Ari (born Ariane Daniele Forster) was the singer of the Slits, and they were touring and terrifying the life out of people. I was privileged to interview guitarist Viv Albertine earlier this year. She talked of it being a difficult time being in The Slits were people were incredibly anatgonistic, and where John Peel was the only person prepared to support them.

But Island Records released their debut album Cut, which plays as I type this. Not only did the cover unnerve people – the Rough Trade allegedly had a meeting about whether they should be stocking it, but this take on punk and reggae was something new and very raw. Yet like many records of that year – The Pop Group’s Y and PIL’s Metal Box being two other examples – shows just how ahead of the game they were. After a second album in 1981, Return Of The Giant Slits, the band split. But not without influencing a huge number of female artists – most notably Madonna. Ari also contributed vocals to one of my favourite cover versions ever the New Age Steppers’ ‘ take on Junior Byles’ ‘Fade Away.’

Having spent much of her time travelling and raising her sons, as well as being ivolved in the Dancehall scene, Ari reactivated the Slits in the last decade, releasing the Revenge of the Killer Slits EP and the Trapped Animal album.

A true original, responsible for music that was both ground-breaking and gere-bender, the press may be commenting on whose step-daughter she was, but first and foremost, she was the leader of one of the most wonderful bands Britain ever produced.

My favourite Slits song…

The Slits -‘Typical Girls.’ mp3

Two awesome covers…

The Slits -‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine.’ mp3

New Age Steppers -‘Fade Away.’ mp3

Thank crunchie it’s Friday


…does there have to be a reason? Just fancied posting some great covers, frankly.

New Age Steppers -‘Fade Away (Junior Byles cover).’ mp3

Schneider TM -‘The Light 3000 (The Smiths cover).’ mp3

Teenage Fanclub -‘Nothing To be Done (Pastels cover).’ mp3

X-Lion Tamer -‘Starsign (Teenage Fanclub cover).’ mp3

Biffy Clyro-‘Umbrella (Rihanna cover).’ mp3

Cud -‘You Sexy Thing (Hot Chocolate cover).’ mp3

Voxtrot -‘Love Vigilantes (New Order cover).’mp3

Kaiser Chiefs -‘Golden Skans (Klaxons cover).’ mp3

The Streets -‘Your Song (Elton John cover).’ mp3

My Bloody Valentine -‘We Have All The Time In the World (Louis Armstrong cover).’ mp3



There’ll be sad songs…

…to make you cry, as Billy Ocean once sang (not long after pointing that that ‘When the going gets tough, the tough get going, if memory serves).

It’s sunday night, and as always, seem to have those sunday blues.

Oh well, sad songs say so much (uh, cheers Elton).

Anyway, here’s a few beautifully sad songs. See what you think.

Have a good week.


This Mortal Coil -‘Song To the Siren (Tim Buckley cover).’ mp3

Peter Murphy -‘A Strange Kind Of Love.’ mp3

New Age Steppers -‘Fade Away.’ mp3

Bang Bang Machine -‘Geek Love.’ mp3

Great compilations #1: Rough Trade Post-Punk Vol 01

The legendary Rough Trade Shops in London have also put out some amazing compilations over the last few years. In 2003, this was one of them. The album was a mixture of acts from the ‘first’ wave of ‘Post-Punk’, such as Public Image Limited, Essential Logic and Magazine, as well as acts from more recent times, whose sound owes a lot to post-punk, such as Chicks On Speed, The Futureheads and The Rapture.

It’s disc #1 I’d like to present some choice cuts from today.

First up, Ari Up from The Slits features on the New Age Steppers version of the Junior Byles reggae classic.

New Age Steppers-‘Fade Away (Junior Byles cover).’ mp3

Kleenex hailed from Switzerland, but legal action from the tissue makers forced them to change their name to Liliput. This trak shows just how cool whistling is.

Liliput -‘Die Matrosen.’ mp3

Chicks On Speed later covered this number from Leeds’ Delta 5. a song that makes you sit up straight, apologise for mumbling and stutter apologetically (wonder of I can find a way to teach some of my students to do this?)

Delta 5-‘Mind Your Own Business.’ mp3

I don’t know how many other songs have been written about the police harassment of prostitutes (there is a comments box if you know about them, and no, ‘She Works Hard For The Money’ does not count). The Au Pairs are one of mnay of the first wave of post-punk bands I wish I had seen (mind you, given that I was only four when this came out. Ah well…)

The Au Pairs -‘You.’ mp3

if you like what you hear, please buy the album and investigate what you hear.