Monday, February 25, 2008

A rifle through the vinyl-The Au Pairs



The Au Pairs were part of the late seventies and early eighties post-punk scene that has come to be known as...well, post-punk, though I get the feeling it wasn't really called so at the time. The band consisted of guitarist Paul Foad, guitarist and vocalist Lesley Woods, bassist Jane Munro and drummer Pete Hammond. Woods was one of the few 'out' lesbians in the music industry at the time, even within the left-wing politics of much of the music scene of the time, and the band were considered important on the riot grrl (sic) movement of the 1990s.

There are probably many better people out there to write critiques of the politics involved, but the music is what i want to focus on. If you have heard Gang of Four and Delta 5 (both of whom I have featured here before) then they were in a similar vein but very much an influential group in their own right.

This is there second single, from 1980 'Diet'/'It's Obvious.' I should warn people that the sound is a little crackly (and not available on emusic or iTunes, at least in the UK, I did try). But it's a great record that should be heard, as should the debut Playing With A Different Sex. 'Diet' is a sympathetic but frustrated look at the life of a housewife, who doesn't have political views and spends her time cleaning and washing.

Au Pairs -'Diet.' mp3

Au Pairs -'It's Obvious.' mp3

There is a good Au Pairs site here and their Wikipedia entry is here as well as an article here at Fact magazine.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

hey, i've still got the playing with a different sex album somewhere, going to have to dig it out because i remember it being a good album, although from the tracks you've posted it doesn't seemed to have aged that well, a product of it's time?
A.J

Ed said...

Neither of the tracks I posted were on it, i've just looked at buying it off iTunes, the anthology is £16!

Ed

JC said...

I have to confess that this was a band who came and went without ever registering on my radar....had a listen and i'm with AJ...

Ed said...

Oh well, i guess you can't win 'em all... : ))

Ed

Anonymous said...

Nice one Ed, their third single "Insignificance" was mighty too.

Now how about a Medium Medium mini-feature ;-)

"Hungry So Angry" is one of THE great tracks of 1981.

cheers, Craig

Huge Grunt said...

Aye, never really got excited the Au Pairs. It's Obvious is on the Diving For Pearls Vol. 1 compilation which I have on tape, that's about the best thing I can say about them.

I loved the Foxface interview though, saw them supporting Roddy Woomble when he was touring My Secret Is My Silence.

Anonymous said...

with all the recent peely related musings and tunes thought i'd let you know that the sailor jerry blog has posted the damned's first peel session from early '77, and bloody good it is too
A.J

Ed said...

Craig -I am afraid to admit I don't have any medium medium stuff, though I have heard the name...

Huge - Guess I'm the only one out there who really got into the Au Pairs posthumously then *sigh*, but glad you liked the Foxface interview, it was great fun doing it!

A.J. Cheers for the tip-off mate, will investigate.

Ed

JC said...

Ed.....you'll never win 'em all and that's the beauty of all that we do.....

Michael said...

Well I still enjoy their early stuff do hats off to you, Ed (probably influencd by being at Birmingham University 79-82). Gang of Four supported by The Au Pairs is a cherished memeory from those times. Good to hear of Lesley Woods' subsequent career - I'd read of a far more ominous demise somewhere else.

Ed said...

fair play to you sir!

Darren said...

Brilliant band, though I'd admit that the second album was a bit of a let down.

Check out their Peel Session recording of 'Dear John' if you can.