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Ear to the Ground: David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights’ “Comin’ On”

The founder of seminal indie-rock band the Clean returns with a new single that’s both dreamy and full of energy.

You don’t have to be familiar with seminal New Zealand indie-rock band the Clean to appreciate the new recordings by founding member David Kilgour and his band the Heavy Eights. But if you are, then you already know that they directly influenced bands like Pavement and Yo La Tengo.

Kilgour and crew recorded their upcoming album, End Times Undone, between 2012 and 2014 in their native town of Dunedin, but that doesn’t mean it took them two years to craft these songs. The recording sessions were intermittent—every few months, Kilgour and the Heavy Eights would congregate in the studio and immediately roll the tape in order to capture that lightning-in-a-bottle energy.

As “Comin’ On,” the album’s first single, reveals—it totally worked. With the analog fidelity, the live-to-tape approach, and some very subtle mistakes left in the mix, it almost sounds like you’re hearing the band play right in front of you. The song abounds with electric 12-string arpeggios and gauzy vocal harmonies, but “Comin’ On” isn’t a Byrds derivative—it sounds more in tune with the dreamy power-pop of the C86 sound born in Great Britain during the late 1980s.