Straitjacket Fits - C/D

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I recently purchased Melt for $.01, and think it's a great album. Hook-heavy, real catchy, but with a blissed-out gauzy production that places it forever in 1991. Brittle, their contribution to the ever-present '93 comp No Alternative, is also pretty great. What's the general consensus on these Kiwi post-punkers?

Brandon Gentry (Brandon Gentry), Wednesday, 30 April 2003 13:20 (seventeen years ago) link

Funny...those records are cut-out bin staples, and I've been undergoing a similar (re-) discovery of them. "Melt" is a good record; its predecessor, "Hail" is better. Particularly the American version which folds in the better part of the "She Speeds" ep. "Classic," or at the very least quite good indeed...

M Specktor (M Specktor), Wednesday, 30 April 2003 14:43 (seventeen years ago) link

Classic, but I don't really rate what they did after Andrew Shough (is that his name?) left - he wasn't the main songwriter but my fave tracks of theirs mostly seem to be his. "Such A Daze", "Down in Splendour" (easily one of my favourite tracks ever), "Sparkle That Shines" are all wonderful, wonderful songs.

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Wednesday, 30 April 2003 22:22 (seventeen years ago) link

Total classic. Even parts of Blow, the final album, are worth hearing -- and in most places, it can be found for around $2 (or less).

I've never heard the pre-SF band, the Doublehappys. Anyone care to enlighten me?

paul cox (paul cox), Wednesday, 30 April 2003 22:57 (seventeen years ago) link

They were my fave band of all when I was 15. I don't quite hold them in the same esteem now - call it growing up - as Shayne Carter's lyrics don't seem so substantial and his tunes seem to plod. Andrew Brough was a lot more consistent, only (1) he only wrote half a dozen songs, and (2) none of them were "She Speeds", which I still consistently claim is the greatest NZ achievement since Hillary.

Doublehappys had one great moment ("I Don't Wanna See You Again", best anti-necrophilia song ever) and a lot of mildly exciting stuff. I prefer the post-SJF bands Bike and Dimmer.

b.R.A.d. (Brad), Wednesday, 30 April 2003 23:16 (seventeen years ago) link

if you made a top ten of sj fits songs a majority would be andrew brough songs even though he only wrote a fraction of the total. but 'down in splendour', 'hand in mine', 'fabulous things', 'in spite of it all', 'such a daze', 'take from the years' and 'sparkle that shines are all briliiant'. the bike album was pretty excellent too much better than the horrendous 'blow'. the dimmer album was good for laughs.
doublehappys were ok, 'needles and plastic' was a very sj fit moment.

keith (keithmcl), Thursday, 1 May 2003 01:20 (seventeen years ago) link

the only DHappys song I've got is "the others way" which I adore

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Thursday, 1 May 2003 01:32 (seventeen years ago) link

'The Others Way' is worth a bit nowadays, too (if you have the 7"). I'm also partial to the Double Happys 'Needles & Plastic'. Bike's 'Save My Life' is utterly superb if you can find it (from memory it's on the Scarfies soundtrack) and Bored Games (Shane's early band) stuff on the Dunedin Double 12" is snottily fab! Search! Search! Search!

Bill E (bill_e), Thursday, 1 May 2003 01:58 (seventeen years ago) link

shayne carter had everything one needs to be a star including the cheekbones, wrong place wrong time i guess.

keith (keithmcl), Thursday, 1 May 2003 02:07 (seventeen years ago) link

"Wrong label" is the default NZ rockcrit explanation (signing to Arista, the idiots)

b.R.A.d. (Brad), Thursday, 1 May 2003 02:10 (seventeen years ago) link

bored games aren't on the dunedin double are they? i thought it was verlaines, chills, sneaky feelings and the stones

keith (keithmcl), Thursday, 1 May 2003 02:13 (seventeen years ago) link

D'oh, you're right of course, I was thinking of the Who Killed Colonel Mustard 12". I am ill & at work, which I humbly proffer as my excuse

Bill E (bill_e), Thursday, 1 May 2003 02:54 (seventeen years ago) link

Ok, so like I'm a huge NZ music fan, but I always assumed that Straitjacket Fits were rubbish. The only album I've owned was Blow, but I think I'm learning from this thread that that particular record was an anomaly. I mean, I'll buy anything from NZ but that record was so bad that I just couldn't be bothered to check out the earlier SJF stuff.

I guess I made a mistake? Should I ignore the horridness of Blow and check out the earlier material?

I love the Double Happys, which is one of the main reasons why it was so distressing to me to discover that Straitjacket Fits were so bloody average. I mean, I love Shayne Carter's voice. I guess he jsut ran out of tunes. But yeah, "Needles and Plastic" is a classic. "I Don't Wanna See You Again" is another good one.

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Thursday, 1 May 2003 06:05 (seventeen years ago) link

you need "Melt", definitely

electric sound of jim (electricsound), Thursday, 1 May 2003 06:06 (seventeen years ago) link

Yeah? Cool, I'll look for it then.. So the consensus is basically that Blow just sucked?

Mr. Diamond (diamond), Thursday, 1 May 2003 06:28 (seventeen years ago) link

Blow wasn't terrible, but it was outdone by the "Done" single which preceded it. The Fits' last great gasp (and the title track may be Carter's best since "She Speeds".)

jon dale, Thursday, 1 May 2003 10:20 (seventeen years ago) link

""Wrong label" is the default NZ rockcrit explanation (signing to Arista, the idiots)"

Yeah, I was wondering about that. Arista is SUCH a crap label, why did they sign to it? SJF seems more like a Sire-type band. Did they not realize that, like, Kenny G. released stuff on Arista? And the Grateful Dead? Brutal.

Brandon Gentry (Brandon Gentry), Thursday, 1 May 2003 11:22 (seventeen years ago) link

Also, "Missing Presumed Drowned" is momentarily my favorite track off Melt.

Brandon Gentry (Brandon Gentry), Thursday, 1 May 2003 11:24 (seventeen years ago) link

hail and melt are both necessary. you could get missing from melt too.

blow was perfectly titled, it blew. they lost all the prettiness that undergirded shayne carter's intensity when andrew brough left. is orange any good? the pre-sj fits brough band?

keith (keithmcl), Friday, 2 May 2003 02:03 (seventeen years ago) link

two weeks pass...
yes, "Melt" is a lovely album. Get it, quick!

fernando, Sunday, 18 May 2003 13:03 (seventeen years ago) link

"nerves" and "some fantasy" are both crucial doublehappys' songs (the whole "cut it out" ep is actually) and also "big fat elvis", which, along with "i don't wanna see you again" and a great version of "anyone else would" appear on a live ep called "how much time left, please?" on a scottish label called avalanche, who also released "shotgun blossom", the first snapper album.

cameron, Monday, 19 May 2003 14:47 (seventeen years ago) link

Regarding the Doublehappys, just get the compilation album Nerves and be done with it. It has all of the songs mentioned above. "Others Way" has one of those great moments of self-deprecation: "I'm such a cripple, I'd just get in the way...in the others' waaaaaaay." I mean, Jesus. Anyway, FYI, the Cat's Miaow do a nice cover of "Others Way," and the Verlaines do an outstanding cover of "Some Fantasy" on the Red Hot + Bothered compilation.

Ernest P. (ernestp), Monday, 19 May 2003 15:46 (seventeen years ago) link

two years pass...
Classic, but I don't really rate what they did after Andrew Shough (is that his name?) left - he wasn't the main songwriter but my fave tracks of theirs mostly seem to be his. "Such A Daze", "Down in Splendour" (easily one of my favourite tracks ever), "Sparkle That Shines" are all wonderful, wonderful songs.

I second these wise words.

I listened to Melt for the first time in ages last night in a hypnagogic state while in bed, and Andrew Brough's tracks sounded like some heavenly Kiwi distillation of John Lennon and George Harrison's best Beatles traits. The man is a fuggin' genius, yet he only received George-like song rations. Scandalous.

Dave Segal (Da ve Segal), Thursday, 30 June 2005 04:47 (fifteen years ago) link

i thought he was just less prolific.

the songs he recorded with Bike were not terribly inspiring IMO, especially next to the stuff on Melt..

shine headlights on me (electricsound), Thursday, 30 June 2005 04:51 (fifteen years ago) link

When I get round to it I'm going to strip off my SJ peel session from cassette tape and YSI on this thread, it has an amazing version of Roller Ride.

mzui (mzui), Thursday, 30 June 2005 06:45 (fifteen years ago) link

SHOM (AKA Electric Sound) OTM: in light of Bike, too much Brough is kinda meh, tho I still like the Bike album.

David R. (popshots75`), Thursday, 30 June 2005 12:58 (fifteen years ago) link

eleven months pass...
Bought the American version of Hail circa 1990 but never really got into Melt and so stopped paying attention.

However, I've been listening do the DoubleHappys CD a lot recently (as well as "Randolph's Going Home" by Carter/Jeffries) and am now of the opinion that they were perhaps par with the great FN bands: The Clean, Verlaines, Chills, and Bats. The DoubleHappys managed to take the classic organ 'n' guitar Dunedin sound and infuse it with Crampsy roots/rockabilly as well as snotty teenage brattiness. Amazing. One wonders what they could have achieved had Wayne not died young. They probably would have been bigger (and better) than Straitjacket Fits--though I have to admit I've gotten a strong urge to check the latter out again, and Dimmer, too.

goldwax (goldwax), Friday, 23 June 2006 00:49 (fourteen years ago) link

i never much warmed to the doublehappys, sj fits added that brooding ambience which was the missing ingredient for the doublehappys. dimmer are an odd happening. it's actually very much like prince in spots. The first single was awesome but it's been pretty dud since. I think he has the same intensity just that sometimes it's a difficult pill to swallow and i don't really think it is worth the time. i wish graeme humphries or peter keen would do something on their own. able tasmans were the true underappreciated gem of the fn stable.

keyth (keyth), Friday, 23 June 2006 02:55 (fourteen years ago) link

Shayne's on the new Bic Runga album now.

San Diva Gyna (and a Masala DOsaNUT on the side) (donut), Friday, 23 June 2006 04:35 (fourteen years ago) link

Shayne Carter was Jeff Buckley several years before there was a Jeff Buckley...

I just found Hail for fiddy cents in a used vinyl store...hails yeah!...take away the Cohen cover and you've got a bona fide classic...I prefer Melt, though the CD version of Melt (at least the Flying nun version) was mastered terribly...no-fi, to be sure...

Andrew Brough as great unheralded songwrite seconded...

hank (hank s), Friday, 23 June 2006 12:17 (fourteen years ago) link

incidentally, it should come as a surprise to no one that "Straightjacket Fits" is one of the very best rock band names, ever...

hank (hank s), Friday, 23 June 2006 12:18 (fourteen years ago) link

that's not their name

Good Dog (Good Dog), Friday, 23 June 2006 12:18 (fourteen years ago) link

er, "STRAITjacket Fits"

hank (hank s), Friday, 23 June 2006 12:19 (fourteen years ago) link

you guys is quick!

hank (hank s), Friday, 23 June 2006 12:19 (fourteen years ago) link

i have listened to the american version of hail at least 200 times over the years. maybe more. i love every song on it. nothing else really compares for me, but what the hell, that's more good stuff than most people come up with. (i did like melt okay way back when.)

scott seward (scott seward), Friday, 23 June 2006 12:28 (fourteen years ago) link

i musta listened to hail 200 times, too. that and bailter space 'tanker' recall very specific time back in NZ. SF were really good live, too

Good Dog (Good Dog), Friday, 23 June 2006 12:39 (fourteen years ago) link

one year passes...

Somehow it escaped me all these years that the Flying Nun and Rough Trade versions of Hail had almost completely different tracklistings (I'm only familiar with the RT version). Anyone have the FN version, and is it good enough to track down?

Johnny Fever, Sunday, 11 November 2007 06:25 (twelve years ago) link

the rough trade version is best. they took the worst songs off of the original version and replaced them with the life in one chord ep. the andrew brough song 'take from the years' is another of his classic pop songs though. there used to be a copy of the version with all of the songs on it in nearly every other bargain bin that i passed.

keythkeyth, Sunday, 11 November 2007 16:35 (twelve years ago) link

one year passes...

Listened to Melt and Done repeating all night and, even though the knowledge of how great they are is always with me, I forget how great until I'm actually playing them.

Shit luck that I didn't put Hail next to those in my cd box, because now I don't know where it is. Off to the rar blogs!!!

Johnny Fever, Monday, 29 June 2009 09:16 (eleven years ago) link

A little too EMO for me. I prefer the rawer garage-like sound of the DoubleHappys.

I DIED (u s steel), Monday, 29 June 2009 10:06 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

RIP David Wood. Sad to hear.

aerosmith: the acid house years (underrated aerosmith bootlegs I have owned), Monday, 22 November 2010 10:36 (nine years ago) link

Very sad, never saw them live to my lasting regret.

let's all go down the strand.....galifianaaakis (MaresNest), Monday, 22 November 2010 10:39 (nine years ago) link

Just read about this. Has anyone heard a cause of death yet?

R.I.P.

Lightning Is For Babies (Johnny Fever), Thursday, 25 November 2010 05:23 (nine years ago) link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=urZKvcLzUQg

zvookster, Thursday, 25 November 2010 06:26 (nine years ago) link

And this:<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/7cnq_p2X8Qw?fs=1&;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/7cnq_p2X8Qw?fs=1&;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

Hinklepicker, Thursday, 25 November 2010 06:35 (nine years ago) link

heres a wee bit of documentary about them: don't know how to embed properly but you get the idea.

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/7cnq_p2X8Qw?fs=1&;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/7cnq_p2X8Qw?fs=1&;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

Hinklepicker, Thursday, 25 November 2010 06:39 (nine years ago) link

I think i like the song hail the most. i used to play this very very loud in my bedroom as a wee lad.my parents didn't like it so much.

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/v/KM5dBt8k5v4?fs=1&;hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/v/KM5dBt8k5v4?fs=1&;hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

jeez andrew brough looks so hurt by the end to this band.

Hinklepicker, Thursday, 25 November 2010 06:45 (nine years ago) link

No need to post the whole embed code...just post the link.

Lightning Is For Babies (Johnny Fever), Thursday, 25 November 2010 06:46 (nine years ago) link

ok sorry bout that. i have trouble programming my video player to record the waltons.

Hinklepicker, Thursday, 25 November 2010 06:48 (nine years ago) link

apparently it was suicide. sad.

cb, Friday, 26 November 2010 09:37 (nine years ago) link

rip :( didnt even know they'd reformed for a lil while, wish i'd been back in nz for that

just sayin, Friday, 26 November 2010 09:54 (nine years ago) link

so sad. lucky enough to catch them on their (only?) uk tour, they put on a great show in front of one of the most disparate crowds i've ever seen. rip.

zappi, Friday, 26 November 2010 12:47 (nine years ago) link

RIP, saw the Fits play a couple of great shows in London around 1992-ish, Hail and Life In One Chord still sound good today.

Blackening Electrical Connections (Matt #2), Friday, 26 November 2010 12:55 (nine years ago) link

Very sad..

I was supposed to see them at a gig with The Clean and arrived too late, it was some sort of rotating bill, totally gutted! That was 1995-ish maybe?

let's all go down the strand.....galifianaaakis (MaresNest), Friday, 26 November 2010 14:38 (nine years ago) link

Y'know they did a kickarse Peel Session just before the release of Melt and all four songs sounded 100x better than the album, including a rampantly good 'Roller Ride'. I'd love to hear that again.

let's all go down the strand.....galifianaaakis (MaresNest), Friday, 26 November 2010 14:40 (nine years ago) link

yeah, i saw them performing a lot of those 'melt' songs prior to them being recorded for that album (with its weird aqueous production) and they were so much more fierce live. ('roller ride' and 'quiet come' being particular standouts)

cb, Friday, 26 November 2010 15:27 (nine years ago) link

Yep, the production on Melt is really boxy, pity really.

This is weird.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NuejVMkOkA
Can anyone in NZ confirm if She Speeds is some sort of alt music anthem or something?

let's all go down the strand.....galifianaaakis (MaresNest), Friday, 26 November 2010 16:37 (nine years ago) link

yeah i can confirm that it is

just sayin, Friday, 26 November 2010 17:02 (nine years ago) link

down in splendour's pretty huge also

just sayin, Friday, 26 November 2010 17:02 (nine years ago) link

In 2001, as part of the Australasian Performing Rights Association's 75th anniversary, a poll was conducted to vote on New Zealand's top 100 songs of all time. Straitjacket Fits' song "She Speeds" was named at number nine, and "Down In Splendour" at number 32, and "If I Were You" at number 88 on this list[1].

just sayin, Friday, 26 November 2010 17:03 (nine years ago) link

This makes me happy!

let's all go down the strand.....galifianaaakis (MaresNest), Friday, 26 November 2010 17:03 (nine years ago) link

one year passes...

Still love Hail, still love Down in Splendour, still kicking my own ass at missing this band pay in London years ago.

music of the squares (MaresNest), Thursday, 8 November 2012 21:13 (seven years ago) link

Love the first two albums, "Done" is mostly crap to my ears. The last two Dimmer albums are killer as is Andrew Brough's Bike album.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Friday, 9 November 2012 01:30 (seven years ago) link

seven years pass...

New Zealand news is reporting that Andrew Brough has passed away: https://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/music/119259795/ex-straitjacket-fits-guitarist-andrew-brough-dies

aphoristical, Monday, 3 February 2020 23:15 (seven months ago) link

Oh no

Johnny Fever, Monday, 3 February 2020 23:29 (seven months ago) link

aw what

ymo sumac (NickB), Monday, 3 February 2020 23:47 (seven months ago) link

Aw.

I love so much NZ stuff, but for some reason this band (and the Verlaines) never clicked with me. I should give them both another belated shot. In the meantime, despite not being a huge Fits fan, this has remained one of my favorite songs for decades:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCnSEb61BTE

Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 00:37 (seven months ago) link

This is too bad. He and Shayne Carter were quite the manic duo, complementing each other perfectly. "Lay Down in Splendor" is an eternal classic, and not just in Kiwipop. RIP.

henry s, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 01:56 (seven months ago) link

Well that's bloody awful. Jeez, was he even 60? I loved everything he did, the Bike album is a hidden gem worth discovering.

Gerald McBoing-Boing, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 02:25 (seven months ago) link

Just awful.

Ned Raggett, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 02:41 (seven months ago) link

Whoa! Didn't anticipate that reason for the revive. :(

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 04:37 (seven months ago) link

I do get a bad feeling when I see an out-of-the-blue revive for a band whose heyday was in the 80's or 90's...

henry s, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 12:27 (seven months ago) link

Terrible shame, I always liked what he brought to the band, a song like Sparkle That Shines is a perfect compliment to Carter's more angsty leanings.

Maresn3st, Tuesday, 4 February 2020 13:30 (seven months ago) link

The Peel session version of Roller Ride is so damn great, especially compared to the awful, boxy album production, I love the dissonant notes and passages that they thread into the song.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JOdkv3aeFfc

Maresn3st, Monday, 10 February 2020 13:12 (seven months ago) link


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