Let’s say the modern era of indie-rock nostalgia began in 2004, the year Frank Black and his Pixies bandmates realized their foundational, not-especially-lucrative catalog had aged well enough to pack stadiums. New Zealand’s The Clean was ahead of its time in the late ’70s and early ’80s, when it pioneered a wry, nonaggressive brand of jangle rock before R.E.M., The Feelies, and Yo La Tengo had the chance, and it was ahead of its time nearly a decade later, when it reformed after spending much of the intervening period in hibernation. But give The Clean credit for more than just beating reunion culture by 15 years: With each record, David Kilgour and Co. has refined its smart-kid swoon pop, building better textures, incorporating Krautrock and other far-flung influences, and getting noisy when necessary. As for the band’s legacy, look to the steady stream of San Francisco and New Jersey lo-fi acts that find new ways to rip off The Clean’s 1981 classic “Tally Ho” each year. The kids, it seems, are still catching up.
The Clean performs with Times New Viking at 8 p.m. at Rock & Roll Hotel, 1353 H St. NE. $13–$15. rockandrollhoteldc.com. (202) 388-ROCK.