From his earliest days as a member of the legendary Clean onward, singer/songwriter David Kilgour stood among the most important figures on the New Zealand pop landscape.
A native of Dunedin, Kilgour first emerged in 1979 as the guitarist of the Clean, the highly influential trio he co-founded with his drummer brother Hamish; when the group disbanded three years later, the brothers reunited in the Great Unwashed, which proved even shorter-lived. After a few years out of music, the mercurial Kilgour formed Stephen, a trio that also included former Goblin Mix bassist Alf Danielson and drummer Geoff Hoani; the group released a 1989 EP titled Dumb, but sessions for a full-length LP were abandoned when Kilgour signed on with a re-formed Clean. When Clean again disbanded, Kilgour briefly joined Snapper before finally going solo in 1990. A year later he recorded the pastoral, melodic Here Come the Cars; the follow-up, the trouble-plagued Sugar Mouth, appeared in 1994. That year also brought about another Clean reunion, and Kilgour began recording and touring with his old mates again. Modern Rock was released in late 1995, followed by Unknown Country in 1996. The group disbanded after that record and Kilgour returned to his solo career, releasing David Kilgour & Heavy Eights in 1997. The Clean returned yet again in 2000, touring and releasing Getaway on American indie giant Merge Records. Kilgour and Merge decided to stick together when Clean inevitably went their separate ways again and the label issued A Feather in the Engine in 2001. That same year his status as one of the premier figures in New Zealand music was cemented when he was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, an honor similar to the English OBE. In 2004, Merge released Frozen Orange, perhaps his strongest solo record to date and a testament to his ability to sound fresh after many, many years on the indie rock treadmill. The follow-up, 2006's The Far Now, continues Kilgour's string of under-appreciated (everywhere but in New Zealand, that is) gems. After reuniting with old mates Clean for 2009's Mister Pop, Kilgour recruited a new band of Heavy Eights (Taane Tokona on drums, Tony de Raad on guitar and keyboards, and Thomas Bell on bass and keyboards) and recorded Left by Soft, which was released in April of 2011 by Merge. The same group of players worked 2014's End Times Undone. ~ Jason Ankeny & Tim Sendra, Rovi