She Speeds

I spent the formative first six years of my life in Wellington, New Zealand, a beautiful windswept city framed by a magnificent harbour in one direction and a stunning collection of green, rolling hills in the other. It was here, on a return visit many years later and deep amongst the clipped accents and ruddy faces of the weather-beaten locals, that I stumbled upon the vast catalogue of the then Dunedin based record label Flying Nun. And what a roster of acts they housed — The Chills, The Bats, The Clean, Tall Dwarfs, The Verlaines, and my favourite guitar-pop band, Straitjacket Fits. The music that Flying Nun released during the mid-80s to mid-90s was largely low-fi, unpolished indie genius. It was melodic, simple and unaffected. It had a sense of realness about it, as if it were recorded for the band and a handful of fans only, and if anyone else got it, then that was just a bonus. Yet many did. The Flying Nun roster gained cult status in Europe and amongst those in the know on the US college circuit before, in the finest traditions of great pop bands, they all imploded or just gave up or morphed into something else altogether. So all we have left is a pile of memories and a great heap of poorly mastered CDs. Oh, and this clip from the Straitjacket Fits for their song She Speeds, one of the highlights of this low-fi rebellion.