Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Tally Ho

No posts for almost a week due to the Northwest blow out that has left you B&M crew battle torn and broken. Thanks Portland you were great, especially Fred The Barber, Ken Dirtnap, Mike Napkin, The Ranch and the East End. Thanks to everyone who came - I'm sure we'll cover some more Portland ground, but I for one was just blown away by the record stores, we only hit about 4, but they were all fantastic staffed by lovely folk and jammed packed full of great records. I spotted both of the Zambian psych records I talked about a few weeks back. One of my fave stores was Exiled Records on Hawthorn, packed full of obscure goodness and with a true fan behind the counter. A couple of us walked away with the record the dude was playing while we shopped - The Clean - Compilation LP. It seems everyone else was hip to this band except me....my loss. Amazing Indie punk from New Zealand circa 83...the missing link between the Wedding Present, The Fall and C86.
The Clean were an influential first-wave punk band that formed in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1978. Led through a number of early rotating line-ups by brothers Hamish and David Kilgour, the band settled down to the well-known line-up with bassist Robert Scott. Early incarnations of the Clean included Peter Gutteridge on bass (who wrote "Point That Thing"), Doug Hood on vocals (who later worked with Toy Love and founded the "Looney Tours" touring company). The Clean soon forged a distinctive and quirky sound that relied heavily on organ melodies and simple, Ramones-style chord progressions.
In 1981, a fan of the Clean founded the Flying Nun label to release their first single, "Tally Ho." A follow-up track off one of their early EPs, "Beatnik", also achieved success, as did the second single, "Getting Older".
The Flying Nun label went on to be New Zealand's biggest independent record company, championing the Dunedin Sound, a loosely-connected style of music largely produced by bands from this southern city. Others artists on the label included The Chills, The Verlaines, The Bats, and Sneaky Feelings. The line-ups of these bands were often interrelated, with Peter Gutteridge being a founding member of the Chills, David Kilgour briefly in the Chills off-shoot band Time Flies, and Robert Scott being the founder of The Bats.
During much of the 1980s, the Clean disbanded, and during this time the Kilgour brothers worked together on an experimental album and ep using the deliberately punning titles "The Great Unwashed" and "Clean Out Of Our Minds". Reforming in the late 1980s, the band explored a slightly poppier vein of music while still retaining their experimental edge.
Although they released several chart-topping singles in their native country, the Clean are a little-known cult band outside of New Zealand, although their influence is surprisingly far-reaching.
The Clean continue to produce music, with Flying Nun recently issuing a comprehensive collection of their previously hard-to-find singles. Output from the band has been sporadic over the years, with members involved in other projects and Hamish Kilgour living in New York. Other projects involving members of the band include The Bats and The Magick Heads (Scott), Stephen, The Heavy Eights (David Kilgour), and The Mad Scene (Hamish Kilgour).
In June 2008 a live album recorded during the 2007 New Zealand tour, was released in New Zealand on Arch Hill Records, entitled 'Mashed'. The Clean are now putting the finishing touches to their new studio album, to be released later this year, also on Arch Hill.
I will now be tracking down all their recorded output...thanks Exiled!

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