The 1990s were a great time for music videos. Production budgets ran high and bands were pumping out a steady stream of visual accompaniments that we’ll never forget. While iconic Canadian artists like The Tragically Hip, Alanis Morisette, Blue Rodeo, Sloan, and Rascalz churned out videos that garnered awards and climbed the charts on the MuchMusic Countdown, many lesser known bands were busy crafting unique videos that stand as some of this country’s finest musical gems.
Many of these videos were created with assistance from grants via MuchFACT and VideoFACT, and we’re all better for it. Here is part one of our look at some of the most unique and coolest videos from the 90s that you probably forgot existed.
Eric’s Trip “Stove” (1993)
Eric’s Trip Love Tara is low-key one of the most influential albums in Canadian history. “Stove,” both the single and video, encapsulates their penchant for beautifully crafted lo-fi perfection. The song would later be covered, along with “Smother,” by Sloan for the 1993 compilation record DGC Rarities Volume 1.
Doughboys “Shine” (1993)
Montreal-based pop-punk outfit Doughboys landed some mainstream success with “Shine” from their 1993 major label debut Crush. You may recognize the song as the one-time theme song from the MuchMusic alternative rock show The Wedge.
The Gandharvas “The First Day of Spring” (1994)
The Gandharvas earned heaps of praise for their single and video “The First Day of Spring” off their 1994 debut record A Soap Bubble and Inertia. They even scored a nomination for Video of the Year from MuchMusic.
Furnaceface “If You Love Her (Would You Buy Her a Gun?)” (1994)
This hard rock video serves as a mini action move. It combines motion animation with real life action scenes to tell the story a woman who lives a double life as a wife and a superhero. In this video, she goes after a bunch of grimy robbers while her husband waits at home, wondering what his wife is up to. Nearing the end of the video, he confronts her and we never really find out if she reveals her secret identity to him or not.
Shallow North Dakota “Auto Body Crusher” (1994)
Not from North Dakota, but rather Hamilton, Ontario, Shallow North Dakota were a breath of fresh air on the music video scene for metal and hardcore fans. Their sludgy noise metal vids were usually seen on Power 30 and later Loud and notable for Tony Jacomes ability to not only pound the ever-loving piss out of his drums, but also serve as the band’s singer.
The Hardship Post “Watchin’ You” (1995)
For a brief moment, Halifax, Nova Scotia was the next Seattle. The Hardship Post, who formed in St. John’s Newfoundland before relocating, were one of the early-to-mid 90s highlights.
The Monoxides “I’ve Got an Idea” (1995)
Riverview and Moncton, New Brunswick stand as one of the most underrated hotbeds for punk and alternative in the 90s. The Monoxides never really made much of an impact on the national scene, but their goofy energy is on display in the video for “I’ve Got an Idea.”
Salmonblaster “Freeway” (1996)
London, Ontario-based alternative rockers Salmonblaster scored a moderate hit with their song “Freeway” in 1996, which landed semi-regular rotation on MuchMusic and helped the band hit the road with the likes of The Gandharvas, I Mother Earth, and Econoline Crush.
Limblifter “Tinfoil” (1996)
Age of Electric brothers Ryan Dahle and Kurt Dahle formed a side project in the mid-90s and found themselves moderate mainstream success upon the release of their self-titled 1996 debut. “Tinfoil” was a top-40 hit in Canada.
Pluto “Paste” (1996)
Pluto came and went without making a whole lot of noise, but their song “Paste” was a hit with the punk and alternative kids in the mid-90s thanks to regular rotation on Much and a spot on the inaugural Big Shiny Tunes record.
The Inbreds “North Window” (1997)
The Inbreds, singer/songwriter/bassist Mike O’Neill and drummer Dave Ullrich, made some of the catchiest, heartfelt indie-pop songs of the 90s. “North Window” from It’s Sydney or the Bush is shining example of their ability to craft great pop songs and hit all the emotional notes.
Tristan Psionic “Divided” (1997)
Sonic Unyon Records did so much for the Canadian indie scene in the 90s that it’s impossible to express enough gratitude. Tristan Psionic were one of the lo-fi treasures of the label, and its band members are also the label’s founders.
Kittens “Great Dane” (1997)
Winnipeg noise rockers Kittens were one of this country’s most unique sounding bands. Their raucous riffage and thundering rhythm section created a wall of noise behind frontman Pony’s (Shawn Fedorchuk) wild shouting of near-indecipherable lyrics. Luckily, their video for Great Dane includes subtitles, so normies found themselves exposed to the lines like “Bete, fence hop a zoo/sick a Swede on a brace face.”
SIANspheric “Static” (1998)
Another gem of Sonic Unyon Records, SIANspheric are a fine example of the label’s willingness to eschew ordinary in favour of creativity.
Chore “General Warning” (1999)
Dundas, Ontario’s Chore landed a Best of the Wedge 1999 nod from MuchMusic for their video for “General Warning” from their sophomore record Take My Mask and Breathe. The video was produced by Kittens frontman Shawn Fedorchuk and directed by Canadian 90s music video mainstay Christopher Mills.