The Clean Revival

definition of a seminal band

It’s been quite a couple days for fans of the Clean. The seminal New Zealand band announced that they will be releasing a new record called Mister Pop on Merge in September and a few US tour dates have started to trickle out. This is the first album of new songs since 2001’s Getaway. The Clean have always operated in a sporadic way, breaking up, reforming, going off to do their own thing and then getting back together out of the blue to put out another album out. They started way back in 1978 and were the impetus for Roger Shepherd starting the Flying Nun label. The band released some singles and eps and then broke up with the Kilgour brothers forming the Great Unwashed and Robert Scott starting his own band the Bats. The band reformed in the late 80’s for some gigs in the UK and only then decided to release their first album Vehicle on Rough Trade in 1990. After that flurry of activity, the band went on another hiatus only to reform again in 1994 and release another album entitled Modern Rock. Unknown Country followed in 96 and then Getaway in 2001, all the while David Kilgour put out solo albums, his brother Hamish made records as Bailter Space and the Mad Scene, and Robert Scott kept busy with the Bats and the Magick Heads.

These days, It seems like every other new band that I like is directly or indirectly influenced by the Clean. Bands like Real Estate, the Ganglians, Surf City, Eat Skull, Crystal Stilts, Jay Retard and a half dozen others that escape me right now can all trace their influences back to this seminal New Zealand band. Being influenced by the Clean is nothing new, just ask Yo La Tengo and Pavement. So it seems like the perfect time to reform for another album, with the band reverently looked upon as kind of the godfathers of a new golden age of DIY garage rock here in the States. The other day I half jokingly said that I hoped that the Clean would see fit to make out to Seattle on a long overdue US tour. This morning my wish was granted when I found out the band would be doing a gig here in September at Chop Suey (19 September to be precise). I don’t think that they’ve actually toured the US since 1990 to promote the Vehicle album. The band played a handful of shows a couple years ago at the Cake Shop in New York, but that’s been about it for Clean fans.  The wait is finally over.

mp3: The Clean – In the Dreamlife You Need a Rubber Soul (from Mr. Pop)

Here are a few more songs from the Clean.  Most of, if not all can be obtained by purchasing the Anthology double CD from Merge.

mp3: The Clean – Tally Ho!

mp3: The Clean – Beatnik

mp3: The Clean – Point That Thing Somewhere Else

mp3: The Clean – Draw(In)G To A (W)Hole (from Vehicle)

mp3: The Clean – Do Your Thing (from Modern Rock)

mp3: The Clean – Late Last Night (from Dark Beloved Cloud 7 inch)

mp3: The Clean – Happy Lil Fella (from Unknown Country)


  1. Pingback: The Clean « Lado B (el blog)
  2. hoh · June 7, 2009

    The Clean toured the U.S. in 2003 opening for Yo La Tengo on the West Coast.

  3. Toby · June 7, 2009

    hoh, thanks for the info. I missed that tour, I was living down in San Diego, a city everyone seems to skip when they tour. I like to refer to my time down there as my wilderness years. Found this blurb on NZ message board, it lists all the dates from that 2003 tour.

    American and Canadian fans of NZ music legends The Clean will be pleased to hear the band are doing a North American tour in June, playing alongside New Jersey’s finest underground heroes Yo La Tengo. The tour culminates in the Matt Groening curated LA leg of the UK/US music festival ‘All Tomorrows Parties’ (that section of which this year also includes The Breeders, Coldcut, Jah Wobble, The Fall, Throwing Muses, Wire and Mogwai).

    The Tour Dates:
    (all but first gig with ATP and Yo La Tengo)

    June 2003:

    Wednesday 4 – Knitting Factory, New York
    Friday 6 – Majestic Theatre, Detroit
    Saturday 7 – Riviera Theatre, Chicago
    Sunday 8 – First Avenue, Minneapolis
    Monday 9 – First Avenue, Minneapolis
    Wednesday 11 – Venue TBA, Denver
    Friday 13 – Showbox, Seattle
    Saturday 14 – Crystal Ballroom, Portland
    Sunday 15 – Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, Canada
    Wednesday 18 – Fillmore, San Fransisco
    Thursday 19 – Fillmore, San Fransisco
    Friday 20 – Fillmore, San Fransisco
    Saturday 21 – All Tomorrows Parties, Hollywood Palladium, Los Angeles

  4. Toby · June 10, 2009

    Wish ungranted. According to L’Etranger the entire Clean tour has been canceled. No word on if their Gonerfest appearance is still on.

  5. lePetiteCrab · June 30, 2009

    There’s a cool interview with Robert Scott talking about the Clean and the Bat’s new albums, which you can check out here:

    Looking forward to them both!

  6. JJ Gildersneeze · July 25, 2009

    has been canceled


    I’m crushed.

    Btw, during the ’03 tour they also played an in-store at the Haight Street Amoeba Records on June 19.

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