Live at Other Music: The Clean (Episode #4)
The Clean are without a doubt one of the keystones of the sound that we have come to know as indie rock, and their early releases on the Flying Nun label helped craft a blueprint for the passionate independent labels that are the backbone of what Other Music is about. When the group started making music in near-isolation in New Zealand in the late '70s, they might have thought that they were a punk band, but their music is totally without the sharp anger that defines that genre. Instead, it is so full of joy and longing and reckless abandon that even close to 30 years after the fact, hearing their songs makes my heart jump like a teenage crush. Robert Scott and the Kilgour Brothers have all continued to make amazing music throughout the years, both together as the Clean, and separately -- Robert leading the Bats, another seminal N.Z. pop band; David in several incarnations including a stellar solo career; and Hamish with Bailter Space, the Mad Scene and many others. But together as the Clean they are legendary, and we were thrilled to get this rare stripped-down, shambling performance on film, capturing the band as they prepared for a run of sold-out shows at NYC's Cake Shop, in their first live appearance in years, playing for a crowd of longtime fans and close friends. Enjoy!
Watch earlier episodes of Live at Other Music with Tinariwen, No Age, and St. Vincent
This Week's Featured Download
Lumerians - EP
Other Music Digital Exclusive
Listen & Buy
Here we've landed this exclusive download from Lumerians, and I still can't give you much more biographical information about them other than San Francisco is their home base and that you may also be able to find this EP in limited pressed vinyl somewhere, and only if you look really hard. But the slight mystery enshrouding the band is apropos given the group's penchant for crafting slow building, crepuscular psychedelia that pulls from the late-'80s/early-'90s era of taking drugs to make music to take drugs to. It's the kind of music that you want to listen to at twilight, or dawn even, when small patches of glowing reds and oranges break through the gray backdrop of the sky. The enigmatic singer's stoned melody in the opening track, "Corkscrew Trepanation," recalls J. Spaceman, as organ and guitar drone through a single chord with the bass being the main source of propulsion. "Turquoise Towers" takes a more atmospheric turn, completely vocal-less as washes of synths and white noise undulate atop a hypnotizing circular rhythm, the sustained notes of the vibraphone making the piece ever more haunting. "Orgon Grinder" continues down the one-organ-chord path of the other songs, but the hues are brighter here, the female singer's airy melody cutting through the shimmering din of gliding vibrato guitars and fuzzy keyboard. There's much to be loved in these five songs by fans of Spacemen 3, Loop and even early Stereolab, not to mention more recent carriers of the psych-torch, like Psychic Ills and San Fran's Wooden Shjips. At the same time, Lumerians have found their own trip, good stuff.