Hamish Kilgour of the Clean Releases Album

hamishI spent my weekend going over some singles that I didn’t really feel got the deserved love in my rotation last week, and this tune from Hamish Kilgour was one of those that stuck out the most to me.  Sure, he was one of the founding members of the Clean, so I’ve got some nostalgic allegiance, but I think the approach taken on this track really makes it stand out.  There’s this stuttering guitar playing with a nice wash of varying instruments playing in the distance…all the while, Kilgour carefully walks you through with his vocals.  His first solo album All of It and Nothing will be released by Ba Da Bing Records on September 16th.

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Slacker Pop from Bitch Prefect

Our friend Toby over at Finest Kiss just ran a great re-cap on an article that ran over in Australia highlighting all the excellent bands working in Melbourne area.  There’s tons of great artists on the list, but one that I’ve taken a liking to is Bitch Prefect.  My ears can see The Clean reference from the write-up, but I also think it speaks to the approach many of the acts overseas have taken, seeming to maintain a certain nonchalance about their writing and recording.  That’s probably not the case, as the songs on the group’s Big Time LP from Bedroom Suck Records are too good to be taken lightly.

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Show Pics: Chaos in Tejas (6/2)

After taking a night to relax and sweat at Stubb’s, it was back into the Chaos. Primary venue choice was Club DeVille, but I did pop next door to see the goings-ons.

Club DeVille scored a great lineup for the indie kids with Sea Lions, Royal Headaches and The Clean. I saw more Japanese hardcore at The Mohawk courtesy Zyanose, full mosh pit included. Ironically, I took an elbow to the face while shooting Royal Headache.

Here come the pics…

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Chaos in Tejas Preview: The Clean

We continue our Chaos in Tejas coverage with one of the bands that I’m most excited to see, New Zealand’s The Clean!

Anytime you listen to some jangling garage pop track, or off-beat power pop, the odds are, that band was influenced by the Clean, who’ve been releasing songs since 1981; their first single is the track we’re featuring below.

They didn’t actually release a full-length album until almost a decade into their career, instead compiling tons of singles to release as compilations on the legendary Flying Nun label in their home country.  But, disbanding and focusing on different groups, often incestuous groups with other NZ acts like the Chills, saw them sort of sputter out, barely making the radar outside of their island home.  Hopefully, that all changed when Merge released their album, Mister Pop, a few years back, bringing the band some new fans.

For me, I say start with the Anthology, as that was my first introduction to the band many years ago; it’s got tons of great singles waiting to be your favorite track.  Within those songs you’ll see the energy and wit that defined the group’s sound, leading them to be one of the most revered, yet underappreciated acts, of all time.  I’ve never seen them though, and I know it won’t be the same as watching them back in the day, but just to hear some of these songs live will further complete my life as a music fan.  They’ll definitely be worth your time.

They play at 11 PM at Club Deville on Saturday, June 2nd.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/03-Tally-Ho.mp3]

Download:The Clean – Tally Ho [MP3]

New Tunes from The Bats

batsJudging by the look of this picture, you would think that New Zealand band The Bats might be just a touch to old to bring sweet tunes to your ears, but rest assured, they don’t have a 25 year old history for nothing.  Just like The Clean, they still have what it takes to spin phenomenal gems out of thin air, ones that inevitably get stuck in your head. Try this one on for size. If you dig it, you can find it on the 7″ over at Slumberland Records.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/bats-face-inside-the-sun.mp3]

Download: Bats – Face Inside the Sun [MP3]

The Clean – Mister Pop

misterRating: ★★★★☆

It’s hard to tell where a band will end up after remaining rather quiet since 2001, yet alone to see how they’ve progressed in a career that has spanned over three decades.  Still, New Zealand’s The Clean have left their jangling influence all over the map, and with the release of Mister Pop on Merge Records, they look to reestablish themselves in your listening rotation, if they aren’t there already, as they probably should be.

Of course, the jangling has diminished a bit, and we have seen the band expand their sound, completing the expansion of their sound to include slow surf-psychedelia such as they do on the album’s opener “Loog.”  Despite the lack of a proper lyrical track, you cannot really pull yourself away from the song. “Simple Fix” works similarly, though it has a standard beach appeal to the instrumental, while the other instrumental track wavers on a more space-influences structure.

Then they move on to the meat and potatoes in “Are You Really on Drugs.”  Although the lyrics may resonate with many, there’s not much to them overall, but what will get listeners is the subdued strumming with the hollow, yet moving, vocals that seemingly bounce off the background of the song.

Never satisfied the group goes into a territory that will seem familiar to everyone, combining that classical indie guitar sound that distinctly belongs to them along with the female backing vocals.  You’ll also find one of the staples of the album inside “In the Dreamlife U Need a Rubber Soul” as guitar licks cut through the blank spaces; it’s something that the band uses to near perfection on this album, without ever overdoing it.

“Back in the Day” and Factory Man” are two of the strongest songs on the album, stuck right smack dab in the middle.  Vocals are delivered in that classic Lou Reed delivery circa “I’m Waiting for the Man” while the rest of these songs come off like similar artists such as Comet Gain.  There is something in these songs that immediately makes them feel familiar, as if you’ve been listening to them all of your life, and in fact, you probably have.  Whether or not The Clean have influenced hundreds of bands will never be discovered, but if they didn’t, then people have done a great job approximating their sound without admitting to common thievery.

An odd bit in the midst of the album is “Tensile.”  The vocoder effect used just sort of throws off the mood momentarily, although it clearly portrays the expanding horizons of the group.  Still, it’s a bit off, which is somewhat shocking, as the rest of the album has seemed to fit perfectly up until this point. But rest assured that the group close the album properly with “All Those Notes,” a song drenched in the electronic cloak of a keyboard. Such a slow number as this is a fitting end to Mister Pop, an album filled to the brim with interesting listens you’ll keep coming back to as you graciously thank the heavens for the return of The Clean.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/3-the-clean-in-the-dreamlife-you-need-a-rubber-soul.mp3]

Download: The Clean – In the Dreamlife you Need a Rubber Soul [MP3]

New Tunes from The Clean

clean You may not know about The Clean, but odds are, you’ve been jamming to something that’s been influenced by this seminal New Zealand band. Long ago, they made Flying Nun a indie household name, but now they are working with Merge Records. They have a new album, Mister Pop, slated for a release in September, and this new track definitely has the ATH offices salivating. Here’s to you!

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/3-the-clean-in-the-dreamlife-you-need-a-rubber-soul.mp3]

Download: The Clean – In the Dreamlife you Need a Rubber Soul [MP3]