Record of the Month: Clean Out of Our Minds by The Great Unwashed

Chris, is the owner of Quattro Music Company located in scenic Thomas, West Virginia, he specializes in used and vintage instruments.  He fills DIBS in about his record of the month and if you are in the area make to check out his cool shop.

Name of record/artist:  The Great Unwashed - Clean Out of Our Minds

An About: “The Clean is an indie rock band that formed in DunedinNew Zealand in 1978, and have been described as the most influential band to come from the Flying Nun label, whose repertoire included many major components of the "Dunedin Sound".[1][2] Led through a number of early rotating line-ups by brothers Hamish and David Kilgour, the band settled on their well-known and current line-up with bassist Robert Scott.[1] The band name comes from a character from the movie Free Ride called Mr. Clean.[3]

What do you do when you’re a little independent rock band that suddenly writes a hit song?  The Clean managed to do just that.  Their single “Tally Ho” is still were guarded among audiophiles as being one of the better pop songs ever written. Probably the best song that ever came out of New Zealand for sure. But the pressures and the expectations placed upon the small band became too much and pretty quickly.

They took a break, Robert Scott started the amazing band The Bats but David and Hamish keep working.  Enter The Great Unwashed.

DIBS: What emotion does this record invoke for you?

CHRIS: Pure inspiration.  The idea that it takes good equipment, money, a perfect voice, flawless talent and a marketable face is what it takes to make music is such a farce.  This is the sound of thrift store guitars, grandma’s autoharp, cheesy keyboards, a cheap tape recorder, a little reverb, a great dose of boredom and the need to create. Those are the true elements of lasting music.  The lack of expecting a return on the investment one makes to write music.

DIBS: What is your favorite instrumentation part on this album? 

CHRIS: I mean... all of it.  I just think it’s a spare sounding record, all the pieces are important.  If I have to choose one thing it’s the low fidelity of it. There is so much constant texture (especially on vinyl) that its the instrument that isn’t being spoken of but it would be missed if it wasn’t there.

DIBS: Does this record bring back any memories for you?

CHRIS: Mostly it takes me to the place of when I first started writing music.  It’s not off-putting.  It doesn’t say to the listener “hey, you can’t do this, kid... leave the rock stardom up to the gods among humans”.  I feel like so much music is regarded as otherworldly, as stars aligning and making a once in a lifetime achievement.  Music should be more terrestrial than that.  We all can make music if we want to.

DIBS: What are the highlight tracks?  

CHRIS: I could name my favorite tracks, but I won’t.  We live in an age of the “Single” of rapid disinterest and instant gratification.  This a record to listen to from start to finish.  On a little bit of too early morning with coffee and a book, maybe slightly hungover, and let it be the way it was meant to be heard.

DIBS: Describe the album artwork

CHRIS: Ambition is not a word I would use to describe this records art.  It’s almost an afterthought.  Also a hands-on design.  The “outside the lines” flowers and the old school punk collage back cover just says “we did this” from back to front and start to finish.  A true independent record.

DIBS: RAPID WORD ASSOCIATION - What is the FIRST word that comes to your head when this album comes on?  

CHRIS: Boredom. This is the sound of people with time on their hands, maybe it’s a gen x thing.   The need to create while also destroying.  Knowing that this isn’t going to be played on the local rock station but there is a need to make in spite of a bleak outlook at the world. 

DIBS: Why should WE listen to this record?

CHRIS: Being from 1982/1983 as far the song writing and recording goes it’s important.  We have a preconceived notion of what the 1980s sort of felt and sounded like as far as music goes. I think we know, there’s always music in the scenery, the periphery. But I think there are some records that really doesn’t sound of their time. This is certainly one of them.  I certainly would think that Pavement probably wouldn’t be quite Pavement without this record, as well as a lot of other indie acts certainly knew and owe a great deal to The Brothers Kilgour.   It just displays a record collection that I don’t believe was being overly represented at this time. Now, I think we all agree how brilliant some of the middle era Kinks records were, Syd Barrett, The incredible string band, The Byrd’s county records and the post-punk scene as a whole... bands like Television Personalities, Swell Maps, Young Marble Giants and The Undertones specifically.  Just the fact that this is the New Zealand band.  If you aren’t aware, there has been an incredible underground music scene in NZ for many many years. I’m always fascinated by What small pockets of a community can create independently of the world as a whole. It’s definitely something that doesn’t happen as much anymore because we're all interconnected.  But there was a time region cities and entire countries developed unique fingerprints of sound based solely on the fact that they were isolated. It’s an important lesson to learn, live where you live.