Many bands emerged from the British punk rock explosion of 1976 and 1977 determined to shock and outrage, but few of them had such a lasting impact as the hardcore all-girl band The Slits. They were an amalgam of two other bands, Flowers Of Romance and The Castrators. The uncompromising attitude, forthright style and odd voice and accent of singer Ari Up - flanked in the most popular line-up by Palmolive, Viv Albertine and Tessa Pollitt - chimed a chord with the times and became a symbol of female empowerment. They came to wider attention supporting The Clash on their 1977 White Riot tour, mixing raucous, angry punk with reggae rhythms and their debut album Out (1979) was produced by Dennis Bovell - notable for a record sleeve showing them naked, clad only in mud and loin cloths. As the line-up changed, their sound became more ambitious and experimental and while they remained resolutely non-commercial, they maintained an avid following into the early 1980s; forming an alliance with post-punk band The Pop Group, sharing personnel and releasing a joint single In The Beginning There Was Rhythm/Where There's A Will. They broke up in 1982 with Ari Up joining the New Age Steppers collective before settling in Jamaica. Up and Tessa Pollitt put The Slits back together again in 2005, releasing an EP, Revenge Of The Killer Slits, also featuring ex-Sex Pistol Paul Cook and his daughter Hollie. In 2008 they released a new album Trapped Animal and Ari Up continued to perform both solo and with the Slits until her sudden death from cancer in 2010.
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