Nothing did more to further the cause of Alternative Nation-building than 120 Minutes, MTV’s Sunday-night video showcase of non-mainstream acts. For nearly two decades, the program spanned musical eras from ’80s college rock to ’00s indie, with grunge, Britpop, punk, industrial, electronica and more in between. MAGNET raids the vaults to resurrect our 120 favorite and unjustly forgotten videos from the show’s classic era.
#67: Straitjacket Fits “Hail”
For some reason, describing Straitjacket Fits as “a second-wave Flying Nun band” seems like it might not mean much to 99.9 percent of any demographic. Better put, the Dunedin quartet was a really good New Zealand band in a long line of really good New Zealand bands that stretched back to the early ’80s. 1988’s “Hail” isn’t the best Fits track (fairly sure the comments section won’t come alive with a debate on what is the group’s best song, but more surprising things have happened), but it paints the picture: noisy, twisted-up guitars trying in vain to bury some perfectly nice melody. A double bill of the La’s and Straitjacket Fits toured the U.S. in the early ’90s; that’s one reason we’re still working on a time machine.
Worth seeking out: 1999’s Take In The Sun by Bike, led by Straitjacket Fits singer/guitarist Andrew Brough. Reasonably priced on Amazon, but surely available from other retailers as well.