Kings of Kiwi-Pop 

This Thursday night one of the most imitated and influential bands in indie rock comes to the Hi-Tone. Started in 1978 by brothers Hamish and David Kilgour, The Clean have long been considered the embodiment of Kiwi Pop and the go-to band when researching the epic Flying Nun record label. Along with their peers in bands like the Bats, the Chills, and the Verlaines, the Clean helped make the scene in Dunedin, New Zealand, world renowned, and bands like Pavement, REM, and Yo La Tengo have all cited the Clean as a major influence.

click to enlarge The Clean - TIM SOTER
  • Tim Soter
  • The Clean

So what exactly is Kiwi Pop? By today's standards, it's equal parts psychedelic rock, Brit-pop, and post-punk, which means most of it is mellow, off-kilter, and played by musicians infinitely cooler than everyone else. Most of the Clean's recorded output has stood the test of time, and their music wouldn't be out of place on any modern college radio station across the country today. And while some of the more obscure releases on Flying Nun fetch insane prices on eBay, modern indie labels like Merge, Captured Tracks, and Goner Records have been diligent about keeping The Clean's output in print and available to consumers.

While drummer Hamish Kilgour played an acoustic set at Gonerfest 9 a couple of years back, this will be the first time the Clean plays Memphis with their reunited full lineup. They should be well received, as a contingency of Memphians have been trying to get The Clean to play here for the past four or five years. On tour with The Clean is Brazilian band Boogarins, a psychedelic garage rock band on Fat Possum Records that owes as much to the Kiwi Pop sound as they do the Kinks.

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