Au Pairs

Formed in 1979 in the UK, the Au Pairs attacked gender, sexuality, and politics with their funk-based blend of female fronted post-punk.

More in line with James Brown than with Bauhaus, Au Pairs would record two full length records, a series of singles, and a handful of BBC Sessions before breaking up in 1983, just before they were slated to record with legendary post-punk producer Steve Lillywhite. Despite their brief splash, the band’s gender-charged lyrics, scathing guitar hooks, and catchy dance rhythms would serve as a major influence for the Riot Grrrl movement in the 1990s.

After the band’s demise, lead singer Lesley Woods would form an all-girl band called the Darlings, who split quickly. Lesley would leave the music industry all together soon after, and now practices law. Other members of the band joined jazz and funk outfits after their Au Pairs tenure.

For your listening enjoyment, I’ve plucked a track each from the band’s two studio records. The first, ‘We’re So Cool’ kicks off their first record, 1981’s Playing With a Different Sex and the slower, more atmospheric dub track ‘Sex Without Stress’ hails from their sophomore effort, Sense and Sensuality, released in 1982.

download Au Pairs – ‘We’re So Cool’
download Au Pairs – ‘Sex Without Stress’

Though the band remained a cult-classic before and after their run, they enjoyed a bit of buzz from the post-punk/underground music documentary Urgh! A Music War, featuring a series of captivating live performances. Here’s their spot from the film, performing ‘Come Again’ live in London.

2 Responses to “Au Pairs”

  1. I LOVE Au Pairs! Playing With A Different Sex is one of my favorite albums ever.

  2. I love them, too! I have the URGH! Music Wars (on a freakin’ cassette, no less :0). They are one of the best things on there!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.