Search This Blog

Saturday, September 25, 2010

191. "Typical Girls" by The Slits

Requested by... several people. This request is an example of how the request side of things is rapidly becoming its own kind of sub-forum here and on Facebook. It's fun for me, and along the lines of what I was imagining when I conceived this project. Jokes and meta-jokes sort of dictating what I play and maybe even informing my take on it. Keep it up; it is much appreciated.

The Slits might be the most recent ascendants to my personal pantheon of all-time favorite artists. I'm floored by what they achieved, and deconstructing this song reinforces almost everything I love about them... the original, and indeed most of their material, sounds amazingly intuitive, raw, even, but every thing about it is actually really complex. The vocal arrangement alone, for all of the unrestrained primal energy of Ari Upp's voice, is really intricate and took way more time than usual for me to reconstruct (and, frankly, grossly simplify). The wonder of it all is that I'd known of The Slits forever, and heard a track here or there on compilations, but for some reason I didn't take them seriously as something I really needed to check out in depth. I think I imagined, and it's probably because of rock journalism I'd read, which, no, is not usually a good reason to imagine anything, a primitive precursor of Riot Grrl music or at best a rough dress rehearsal for what The Raincoats (whom I adore) would go on to do. But a few years ago the blogosphere vastly expanded the amount of semi-casual sampling of music one could do, and I, typically, used it to unearth old stuff instead of catching up with new music. It was a chance to hear all the bands I'd heard being namedropped as part of one scene or another through the years, and find out which decently respected artists really clicked with me (as well as unearthing numerous cases of the emperor's new, or old, as the case may be or have been, clothes).

Anyway, The Slits. Mind-bending stuff. I don't think I would have been ready for it when I did my first forays into the original punk scenes. It seems to demand an understanding of what was going on at the time well beyond the Pistols and The Clash, although The Clash's dub experiments are germane; certainly my few go-rounds with reggae and especially my recent dabbling in dub were key, and my long-standing interest in arty and/or beaty bands that have ties to punk but sure don't sound like what the kids think of when they hear the word started to prepare me. Sort of. I dunno. It was a big deal discovering this stuff-- the seeds of borderline obsession. Both of their original albums are essential (like so many bands of the era, the second record is vastly underrated). I can't really say much more; I'd definitely recommend that you at least give them a listen, because if you end up liking them, you'll realize you would've been much the poorer had you never heard them. Then again, most people will find it to be some kind of weird animal noise stuff, but what's 45 minutes of your life listening to that? Cut at least has an interesting sleeve.

On my version, a fair slice of the drums come from Slits followers The Au Pairs and some others come from The Fall, whose "How I Wrote Elastic Man" has a certain kinship with this tune. The 13-string gets a prominent workout, including me taking a slide to it. Too much fun.

Personnel: Rex

No comments:

Post a Comment