Posts Tagged ‘The Clean’

From his earliest days as a member of the legendary New Zealand band “The Clean” onward, singer/songwriter, David Kilgour has come to be known as one of the most respected & admired songwriters of his generation & certainly one of the greatest rock musicians to come out of New Zealand. His signature guitar twang & languid, carefree melodies are readily identifiable. Kilgour is a guitar god for guitar atheists. 

Releases September 20th, 2019

The Band:
Thomas Bell: bass, keyboards, hand chimes and percussion.
Tony de Raad: guitar.
Taane Tokona: drums and percussion.
David Kilgour: guitar, vibes, keyboards and piano.

Piano on “Swan loop” played by Matt Swanson.

From the album “Bobbie’s a girl” out September 20th, 2019 on Merge Records.

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From his earliest days as a member of the legendary The Clean onward, singer/songwriter, David Kilgour has come to be known as one of the most respected and admired songwriters of his generation and certainly one of the greatest rock musicians to come out of New Zealand. His signature guitar twang and languid, carefree melodies are readily identifiable. Kilgour is a guitar god for guitar atheists. He’s worthy of worship, but his style neither demands nor expects it, all of which only serves to increase his otherworldly cool.

“It’s moody—as in low, subdued,” says David Kilgour of his new album. The atmosphere of “Bobbie’s a girl” does feel a bit mysterious. Largely missing the jangly distortion of Kilgour’s other work, the album’s ten songs exude a hazy warmth, with a light psychedelia that recalls ’60s outfits like The Byrds and The Velvet Underground.

Four decades into his career, Kilgour remains as creatively restless as ever. Wherever that drive takes him next, you’ll want to follow.

Releases September 20th, 2019
The Band
Thomas Bell: bass, keyboards, hand chimes and percussion.
Tony de Raad: guitar.
Taane Tokona: drums and percussion.
David Kilgour: guitar, vibes, keyboards and piano.

From the album “Bobbie’s a Girl” out September 20th, 2019 on Merge Records

The Kiwi Pop giants and lo-fi all-stars with only the fifth LP in their storied career.

The Clean the Halley’s Comet of indie-rock, appearing after prolonged absences in a flash of brilliance, only to disappear just as quickly and practically be forgotten about again . This New Zealand trio’s output has been notoriously sporadic over their 32-year lifespan, their releases have been fortuitously timed to capitalize on their unyielding influence: After a brief string of legend-making singles in the early 1980s, the band’s relatively prolific 1990-96 run coincided with the ascendance of Clean acolytes Pavement and Yo La Tengo; their last release, 2001’s Getaway, dovetailed with the Strokes and the Shins’ back-to-basics ethos; while the new “Mister Pop” was only their fifth full-length release at a time when a new generation of lo-fidelity all-stars (Jay Reatard, Bradford Cox, Crystal Stilts, Love Is All) is displaying a voracious appetite for Kiwi pop.

But the Clean have always exuded a casual grace that suggests they’d still be making the same records even if no one was listening, employing the same set of devices– ramshackle locomotive rhythms, buoyant basslines, swirling organ lines, and wide-smile melodies irrespective of prevailing fashions, technological developments, or geopolitical unrest. And yet, the Clean’s periodic resurgences serve as a reminder that, in a world of uncertainty, there are still some things you can rely on.

Despite the eight-year layoff since Getaway, “Mister Pop” effectively picks up right where we left off, with a pair of warm-up exercises– the metronomic organ-grinding jam “Loog” and the possibly self-referential dream-pop ditty “Are You Really on Drugs?” that feel like vapor-trail echoes of its predecessor’s distended, psychedelic haze. Even in light of the Clean’s lo-fi legacy, the tracks feel demo-grade, built on single ideas that, while lasting only three minutes each, still feel run into the ground, begging the question of whether eight years was actually long enough for the song reservoir to replenish itself again. But such quibbles are cast aside 30 seconds into “In the Dreamlife You Need a Rubber Soul”, a headlight-bright jangle-pop pleaser (possibly about the new Beatles reissues?) that boasts all the hallmarks of classic Clean. On another track, David Kilgour makes an even more explicit reinforcement of Mister Pop’s return-to-form intent: over a paisley-toned, mod-rock swing, he repeats, “It puts me right back in the day.”

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The Clean member Hamish Kilgour’s second-ever solo album, Finklestein, flips the singer/guitarist/drummer’s path taken on All Of It And Nothing. Having previously gone for intimate, minimalistic performances, Finklestein displays a chock-full production quality akin to a fairytale. It’s a fitting change, seeing as the songs are based around a children’s story Kilgour conceived for his son about a kingdom that invents a way of dealing with their depleting gold resources. The songs include organ, saxophone, pedal steel, piano, vibraphone, harmonica, even footsteps (Hamish is renowned for his stepping), most of it performed by Kilgour and his producer/collaborator Gary Olsen at Olsen’s studio, Marlborough Farms in Brooklyn. Originally conceived as being a children’s book as well as album, Finklestein rides roughshod through this fairytale world with grace.

Finklestein took a year to record, as Hamish’s involvement with a large part of the Brooklyn music scene, as well as dates with recent New Zealand Music Hall of Fame inductees The Clean, split his time. His songs benefit from this elongated recording period, as each track creates its own space within the Finklestein world, mixing instruments and melodies in a rainbow of ways. Yet it’s Kilgour’s songwriting sensibilities that hold the album together, his charismatic and loose arrangements within a congenial environment of musical play.

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For those early birds who love their Hamish, there’s a Finklestein Special Edition, which includes Funklestein, an entire second LP of music created to complement it’s cohort release. This bonus LP, limited to 50 copiesand vinyl only, provides two psychedelirious side long tracks (Side A: “Reaction” & Side B: “Action”) using the same musicians and studio as Finklestein proper.

Hamish Kilgour’s new album “Finklestein” out June 22nd on Ba Da Bing Records

The Clean is one of our favorite bands ever, and one of the most influential guitar bands of all time. The band–brothers David and Hamish Kilgour (Hamish is also in the band Mad Scene) along with Robert Scott (also of the Bats and the Magick Heads)–has been around for more than 20 years and made consistently, uniquely amazing records the entire time. Getaway is a typically mind-blowing array of sunny, chiming guitar pop, moody psychedelia, and melodic garage simplicity.

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The Clean

After rejecting the Hall of Fame accolade twice in the past five years, members of The Clean have agreed to accept it at this year’s Silver Scrolls ceremony on September 28th.

“I think when we were asked it just didn’t feel right for us,” Robert Scott, the band’s bassist, “We feel we are outside the industry, and in the past we were shunned and dismissed, and it seems like by saying yes we would be forgiving the industry for that.

“Of course, with time they are proved wrong as our music has stood the test of time.

“It’s a strange thing dealing with other people’s perception of your music and what you stand for as a band.”

The Clean pulling faces in the back of a car

Inspired by obscure sixties garage and psychedelic bands, as well as the punk revolution of the 1970s, The Clean helped introduced New Zealand to what would later become known as ‘The Dunedin Sound’.

It was 1981 when a young Roger Shepherd was in the process of launching his new label, Flying Nun Records. He wanted to promote the many post-punk alternative bands that were springing up in his hometown of Christchurch, and further south – Dunedin.

Shepherd chose The Clean’s ‘Tally Ho’ as one of the two singles he released to the launch the label. It made it to No. 19 on the NZ singles chart, much to the delight of those involved. Not many people realised it at the time, but it was the start of something that would influence music and culture in NZ – and beyond – for decades to come.

The Clean helped cement The Dunedin Sound’s popularity – and Flying Nun’s finances – with their EP Boodle, Boodle, Boodle, also released in 1981. Surprisingly, it reached number four in the NZ charts and remained in the Top 20 for nearly six months. “To make Boodle and then it be so successful was just incredibly encouraging for everybody involved … like, ‘Hey, we’re on the right track here. Maybe we aren’t so crazy,’ David Kilgour recalls.

The band’s members include guitarist Kilgour, his brother – drummer Hamish Kilgour, and bassist Robert Scott. Each has forged a life in music including multiple bands and projects including The Bats, The Great Unwashed, Bailter Space, The Heavy Eights and more.

But it was The Clean that made it onto US college radio in the 1980s; garnered an enduring fan base in Australia, the UK and Europe; and influenced generations of NZ musicians and fans. And they’re still touring successfully across the world today.

As a reminder of how great The Clean really is, and to get you in the mood, here’s some quality gear to binge on:

The story of Boodle Boodle Boodle (2012)

“By the time we got to do Boodle Boodle Boodle, The Clean … were such a wonderfully great live band. Most of those songs were done in one or two takes.”  Boodle producer Doug Hood

A video tracing the history of The Clean’s iconic first EP. Featuring Hamish Kilgour, David Kilgour, Robert Scott, producer Doug Hood and former band member the late Peter Gutteridge:

Earlier this year Boodle Boodle Boodle was awarded the 2017 Independent Music New Zealand Classic Record Award. We spoke to David Kilgour about the record“We only [play live] every three years, so that’s how we do it. We take the mickey out of each other, in a kind and caring way. You can have a laugh at someone’s expense, but to a certain degree, and then you cross a line and the expression changes, and you know you’ve gone too far.”
Robert Scott

The Clean: selected discography

  • Boodle, Boodle, Boodle – 1981
  • Great Sounds Great, Good Sounds Good, So-so Sounds So-so, Bad Sounds Bad, Rotten Sounds Rotten – 1982
  • Odditties – 1983
  • Live Dead Clean – 1986
  • Vehicle – 1990
  • Modern Rock – 1994
  • Unknown Country – 1996
  • Getaway – 2001
  • Mashed – 2008
  • Mister Pop – 2009

There’s something great about a three-piece – think The Cocteau Twins, The Clean, Galaxie 500 – and the way that irreducible nucleus takes its strength from its limitations, making a virtue of its purity. So it is with London trio Flowers, returning with their second album “Everybody’s Dying To Meet You”. Over the course of ten intensely thrilling pop songs, singer Rachel Kenedy’s ethereal vocals and Sam Ayres textured guitar are backed by the powerful, metronomic beat of drummer Jordan Hockley.

For Everybody’s Dying to Meet You the band retreated to Bark Studios in Walthamstow to work with producer Brian O’Shaughnessey (The Clientele, Primal Scream, My Bloody Valentine), a return home for Sam, who was born and spent most of his life in the area. It proved to be the perfect fit for Flowers, the sessions enabling them to capture the essence of both their dynamic live sound and their distortion-laden home demos. Effortlessly blending pop songs with noise while leaving space for more stripped back elements, the recordings strike a perfect balance between the sweetness of Rachel’s voice and Sam’s abrasive guitar stylings. Their musical inspirations, from shoegaze, C86 and New Zealand’s Flying Nun label, are now evident.

Armed with a youthful intensity and determination that shows in their songs, Flowers have succeeded in harnessing their singular magic. Exuberant and electrifying, Everybody’s Dying To Meet You crackles with confidence.

Flowers are heading to a rock venue near you soon.

25 February – MANCHESTER – Fallow Café
26 February – COVENTRY – Kasbah
27 February – LIVERPOOL – Leaf Tea Shop
28 February – GLASGOW – Broadcast
02 March – NOTTINGHAM – Rough Trade
03 March – READING – Oakford Social Club
04 March – CARDIFF – The Moon Club
05 March – PENRYN – Stuart Stephens Memorial Hall
11 March – LONDON – Sebright Arms
09 April – LEICESTER – Leicester Indiepop Alldayer

Originally released in August of 2001, the double-LP reissue will mark Getaway’s first appearance on vinyl and it includes an 18-song bonus CD that compiles the hard-to-find, tour-only releases of Syd’s Pink Wiring System and Slush Fund. A double-CD version includes the full album plus the bonus disc.

There is a live version of the pulsing, soaring “Stars” along with a couple of other Getaway songs and The Clean classics like “Fish,” “Side On,” “Quickstep,” and “Point That Thing Somewhere Else” appears on the rare 2003 album Syd’s Pink Wiring System. That record will be included with the Getaway reissue, along with the more experimental, piano-driven EP Slush Fund from the same era.

These bonus tracks reinforce the idea of the Getaway-era Clean as especially plugged in, generating inspired and beautiful music almost on instinct.

Indeed, they’ve done justice to Getaway, It was a key album in The Clean discography ,a record that honors the band’s origins as garage-rock-loving New Zealand kids, excited just by the hum of a good, cheap amplifier. Songs like the twangy, easygoing “Crazy,” the jaunty acoustic snippet “Cell Block No. 5,” and the trance-inducing “Circle Canyon” are more fine examples of Robert Scott and the Kilgour brothers’ interest in immediacy and a strong vibe, applied to catchy melodies.

Due On December 2nd, the deluxe version of 2001’s Getaway in honor of the album’s 15th anniversary.

the-clean-anthology.jpgA busy year for the Kilgour Brothers both releasing solo albums and the reformation for the first family of New Zealand The Clean, David Kilgour and his band the Heavyweights plus Hamish Kilgour with his solo album “All of It and Nothing” with their rough honed jangle guitars and glimmering guitar rock. Anthology serves as a celebration of The Clean, a band whose influence extends so far beyond their New Zealand home that even if you have never heard of The Clean before, you have surely heard of some of the bands (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Superchunk, to name a few) who have been influenced by their unique blend of homemade garage rock, hook-filled melodies, and psychedelic experimentalism.

The album is a compilation of songs from across The Clean’s legendary musical career, which began in 1981 and continues today. Merge originally released the 2-CD Anthology in 2003, but in celebration of our 25th anniversary, we felt the time was right to release this essential collection on quadruple LP.

Hamish and David Kilgour formed The Clean in 1978. Hamish played drums, and David picked up a guitar and figured out how to play it as he went along. Various other folk passed through the Kilgour Brothers’ orbit during the first two years or so before Robert Scott (The Bats) joined on bass. Hamish, David, and Robert all wrote songs and sang in The Clean, who made their first recordings for the renowned New Zealand label Flying Nun in 1981.

Anthology kicks off with The Clean’s call-to-arms debut “Tally Ho!”; the story of the infectious track’s $60 recording bill is now legendary. From there, it continues with the early EPs Boodle Boodle Boodle and Great Sounds Great in their entirety. The hits—“Billy Two,” “Anything Could Happen,” “Beatnik,” and “Getting Older”—and live favorites like “Point That Thing Somewhere Else” and instrumentals “Fish” and “At the Bottom” all serve up memories of the joyous noise that characterized The Clean of that time. These recordings, mostly made by the band with Chris Knox and Doug Hood at the helm of the 4-track, capture the bright, raw sound of a classic garage band.

After a brief breakup, the band recorded Vehicle, their first full-length, in 1989. Vehicle was made in three days and engineered by Alan Moulder (later to become one of the top producers of the alternative era, recording the Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, and My Bloody Valentine). The sounds of Vehicle and the two albums that followed it, Modern Rock (1994) and Unknown Country (1996), make up the bulk of discs 3 and 4 of the vinyl Anthology. The Clean used organ and other keyboards to mix bouncing pop tunes with continued experimentation.

In addition to selections from these full-length recordings, Anthology includes two songs released only on an American 7-inch and two that appeared on a bonus flexi-disc with the Modern Rock LP.

The Clean’s story is on-again/off-again purely by design. It suits the trio’s creative desires and keeps them clear of the machinery that threatened to interfere with that process from the moment they threatened to get awfully popular awfully quickly over thirty years ago. The Clean’s modern age has seen them splitting time and hemispheres: David Kilgour has a reputable solo catalog; Robert Scott has The Bats; and Hamish Kilgour has been an endearing and enduring fixture in New York City, playing with assorted combos.

David Kilgour & The Heavy 8s from the album– “End Times Undone”  The Clean co-founder’s latest with his longtime band, The Heavy 8’s, is all chiming electric 12-strings, tuneful feedback and jangling grooves. Possessor of a pretty much perfect tone, Kilgour is a guitar hero who actually doesn’t go in for heroics all that much. He’s more interested in riding the wave of the music, effortlessly tossing out shimmering lines with a casual grace, always finding pleasantly unexpected places to take his solos.