Tales from the Bargain Bin: Clothes Make The Man

I recently picked up Clothes Make The Man’s self-titled record in a dollar bin on Queen West. The bin was actually on the sidewalk a couple feet from the store. It was almost as if the store was saying “please, take these off our hands.” I know that it’s more of a statement against the CD format than the content (as these days audiophiles are eager to pay $30 for a less convenient yet more collectible format) I can’t resist. So I dig. And I unearth a gem. Clothes Make The Man was one of the many unheralded indie rock (as opposed to “indie rock”) bands in Toronto.

They’re long gone. They packed it in at the end of 2010 and digitally released their posthumous record “Distance” over Soundcloud in 2011. I had no difficulty finding it, so we can count that as another victory for the digital format.

Anyways, I digress. Clothes Make The Man was a pretty hard rocking band in a scene where it wasn’t necessarily cool to play hard rocking music. While bands were pittering and pattering around with affected dance-punk, neo-folk or dragging a laptop on stage and combining sample collages with esoteric singing to create a mess of performance art, these guys were providing stripped-down, straight-forward rock with killer hooks. Proof: I’ve been unable to get the chorus to “Chile” out of my head for the last three days and I don’t mind one bit.

Gone, but not forgotten.