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.
#106: The Mekons “Ghosts Of American Astronauts”
Jon Langford likes to say that his Mekons bandmate Sally Timms has the voice of an angel and the mouth of a sailor. 1988’s “Ghosts Of American Astronauts” proves the first part; the Mekons were rarely as lovely as they are here, which is not an insult for the Leeds, England, punk band that often had other musical goals (namely, raucous takes on U.K. folk and American country music). Truth is, the Mekons are a hard nut to crack. Like the Fall, they’ve been around a long time and have assembled an imposingly long discography that took up almost a whole column in The Trouser Press Guide To 90s Rock; they’re über-political, but that’s confusing when listening to a decades-old album in their catalog; and they do funny art projects like 1996’s sea-shanty Pussy, King Of The Pirates with writer Kathy Acker. So, yeah; there is a mountain to climb. Is this documentary out yet?