R.I.P. Ari Up of the Slits

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More sad news for music fans this morning: Ari Up of the Slits (real name: Arianna Forster) died yesterday. She was 48. John Lydon of the Sex Pistols broke the news via his website. (His wife, Nora, is Up's mother.) A cause of death was not immediately known; Lydon's note only mentioned "a serious illness."

The Slits, who toured with the Clash and Buzzcocks, was one of the more abrasive -- but forward-thinking -- punk groups. Formed in the late '70s, the female-dominated troupe was known for matching reggae/dub rhythms and punk riffs and attitude. As it evolved, the band aligned itself with rhythm-heavy post-punkfunk acts such as the Pop Group (witness "In the Beginning There Was Rhythm"). The Slits split in 1982, but Up and long-time member Tessa Pollitt reactivated the band in 2005; it's been touring and recording since.

1979's Cut is generally considered the band's essential work. (A 2009 deluxe edition of the album features the band's also-essential John Peel sessions.) Watching the below video for the Cut clip "Typical Girls," it's amazing to observe how many singers in the '80s mimicked the band's moves and attitude. Few matched the unfettered, outspoken nature of the band's lyrics, however.

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