Anthology (Reissue)

The Clean

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MRG220R | Release Date July 15, 2014

Anthology serves as a celebration of The Clean, a band whose influence extends so far beyond their New Zealand home that even if you have never heard of The Clean before, you have surely heard of some of the bands (Pavement, Yo La Tengo, and Superchunk, to name a few) who have been influenced by their unique blend of homemade garage rock, hook-filled melodies, and psychedelic experimentalism.

The album is a compilation of songs from across The Clean’s legendary musical career, which began in 1981 and continues today. Merge originally released the 2-CD Anthology in 2003, but in celebration of our 25th anniversary, we felt the time was right to release this essential collection on quadruple LP.

Hamish and David Kilgour formed The Clean in 1978. Hamish played drums, and David picked up a guitar and figured out how to play it as he went along. Various other folk passed through the Kilgour brothers’ orbit during the first two years or so before Robert Scott (The Bats) joined on bass. Hamish, David, and Robert all wrote songs and sang in The Clean, who made their first recordings for the renowned New Zealand label Flying Nun in 1981.

Anthology kicks off with The Clean’s call-to-arms debut “Tally Ho!”; the story of the infectious track’s $60 recording bill is now legendary. From there, it continues with the early EPs Boodle Boodle Boodle and Great Sounds Great in their entirety. The hits—“Billy Two,” “Anything Could Happen,” “Beatnik,” and “Getting Older”—and live favorites like “Point That Thing Somewhere Else” and instrumentals “Fish” and “At the Bottom” all serve up memories of the joyous noise that characterized The Clean of that time. These recordings, mostly made by the band with Chris Knox and Doug Hood at the helm of the 4-track, capture the bright, raw sound of a classic garage band.

After a brief breakup, the band recorded Vehicle, their first full-length, in 1989. Vehicle was made in three days and engineered by Alan Moulder (later to become one of the top producers of the alternative era, recording the Smashing Pumpkins, Nine Inch Nails, and My Bloody Valentine). The sounds of Vehicle and the two albums that followed it, Modern Rock (1994) and Unknown Country (1996), make up the bulk of discs 3 and 4 of the vinyl Anthology. The Clean used organ and other keyboards to mix bouncing pop tunes with continued experimentation.

In addition to selections from these full-length recordings, Anthology includes two songs released only on an American 7-inch and two that appeared on a bonus flexi-disc with the Modern Rock LP.

The Clean’s story is on-again/off-again purely by design. It suits the trio’s creative desires and keeps them clear of the machinery that threatened to interfere with that process from the moment they threatened to get awfully popular awfully quickly over thirty years ago. The Clean’s modern age has seen them splitting time and hemispheres: David Kilgour has a reputable solo catalog; Robert Scott has The Bats; and Hamish Kilgour has been an endearing and enduring fixture in New York City, playing with assorted combos. 

Track/Song Title Artist Duration Price MP3 Track
Tally Ho The Clean 02:41
Platypus The Clean 03:16
Billy Two The Clean 02:22
Thumbs Off The Clean 02:58
Anything Could Happen The Clean 02:38
Sad Eyed Lady The Clean 03:02
Point That Thing The Clean 05:27
Fish The Clean 02:24
Flowers The Clean 03:25
Side On The Clean 02:03
Slug Song The Clean 03:19
Beatnik The Clean 01:57
End Of My Dream The Clean 04:08
On Again / Off Again The Clean 01:46
At The Bottom The Clean 03:50
Getting Older The Clean 04:18
Scrap Music The Clean 01:30
Whatever I Do Is Right The Clean 02:32
Two Fat Sisters (Live) The Clean 02:54
Oddity The Clean 02:33
Quickstep (Live) The Clean 05:52
At The Bottom (Alternate Version) The Clean 03:26
Drawing To A Whole The Clean 02:03
I Wait Around The Clean 02:40
The Blue The Clean 01:46
Someone The Clean 01:52
Big Soft Punch The Clean 02:32
Diamond Shine The Clean 03:13
Big Cat The Clean 01:41
Outside the Cage The Clean 05:07
Safe In The Rain The Clean 02:55
Secret Place The Clean 03:32
Do Your Thing The Clean 04:13
Linger Longer The Clean 02:27
Too Much Violence The Clean 03:50
Trapped In Amber The Clean 03:15
Psychedelic Ranger The Clean 02:50
Late Last Night The Clean 02:48
Ludwig The Clean 02:10
Wipe Me I'm Lucky The Clean 03:11
Franz Kakfa At The Zoo The Clean 01:58
Clutch The Clean 02:15
Balkans The Clean 01:20
Indigo Blue The Clean 02:33
Chumpy The Clean 03:45
Twist Top The Clean 02:04

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MP3s eliminate audio data in order to reduce file size. FLAC files are by definition 'lossless' and are a perfect digital copy of the original source material. Because of this, a FLAC audio file is much larger in size than an MP3 file. While FLAC audio is ideal if you listen to your music on a higher-end home stereo, or enjoy close-listening on headphones, it does not have as widespread playback support as the MP3 format.

*Note: FLAC files do not work in iTunes.

What is the difference between MP3 and FLAC files?

Merge offers the highest quality MP3s possible. They are encoded without DRM using the LAME version 3.97 encoder at non-variable rate of 320 kbps. At this quality level, the sound is essentially indistinguishable from a CD.

We also offer FLAC digital music files. FLAC stands for Free Lossless Audio Codec, an uncompressed audio format. As such, FLAC files provide a perfect digital copy of a given piece of music.

MP3s eliminate audio data in order to reduce file size. FLAC files are by definition 'lossless' and are a perfect digital copy of the original source material. Because of this, a FLAC audio file is much larger in size than an MP3 file. While FLAC audio is ideal if you listen to your music on a higher-end home stereo, or enjoy close-listening on headphones, it does not have as widespread playback support as the MP3 format.

*Note: FLAC files do not work in iTunes.