120 Reasons To Live: Aztec Camera

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.

#117: Aztec Camera “The Crying Scene”

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Hailing from East Kilbride, Scotland (the same town that birthed the Jesus And Mary Chain), Aztec Camera gained early notoriety for 1983 single “Oblivious,” whose video features boyish frontman Roddy Frame as new wave’s own Peter Pan. (In a now-familiar theme, that clip would have been the obvious choice here but is not available online.) By the time of 1990’s Stray, Aztec Camera was no longer relying on eyeliner and strummy, lightweight songs. Stray wasn’t pure gold, but first single “The Crying Scene” represents a respectable toughening-up of Frame’s songwriting with a peculiarly American touch. Frame was Aztec Camera’s sole constant—the band cycled through approximately 25 members over its lifespan, including former “fifth Smith” Craig Gannon for a spell—until he began recording under his own name in 1995.

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