Clothes Make The Man
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Clothes Make The Man

Band Rock Alternative


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"Clothes Make the Man - Disc Review"

4 out of 5
This Toronto-by-way-of-Ottawa quartet are a ragtag-looking bunch of young dudes who play frenetic, jerky rock bolstered by bold, crunchy chords. Lead singer Ryan McLennan is probably already getting sick of the Dave Grohl comparisons, but the truth in that can't be denied. That isn't to say, however, that they're some kind of Foo Fighters derivative. CMTM have raw, primal power that pours out of the stereo and makes one itch for the live experience. McLennan's lyrics have a personal, diary-like appeal, without the irritating emo-boy trappings. CMTM capably bridge the gap between traditional bar rock and quirky indie-rock musings.
- Shannon Whibbs - Chart Magazine

"Clothes Make The Man"

I absolutely love a band that has the uncanny ability to write a hook. And I'm ALWAYS a sucker for a good hook. Well, Toronto's Clothes Make The Man are one of those bands. In fact, those very hooks not only grab you but they positively refuse to let you go.
What makes their music so appealing and catchy is that it's the right blend of raw emotional energy and smooth musical ability. For example, when the cymbals chime in on the standout track "Chile", you'll be immediately drawn in by the addictive nature of the melody. But just wait for Ryan McLennan to belt out the chorus, "It's all that I can do not to break down and cry over ... (cue possibly the greatest gut-wrenching rasp in indie music history)...YOU!!" Ryan has a growl that would make Dave Grohl jealous.
What is also impressive is that this band has done it themselves. From artwork, booking shows, accounting, the website, etc, they have created a buzz without the help of a major (or even a minor) label. And it's that determination that shines through in their music. So if you miss the distinguished college rock guitar sweat-laden chomp of Sebadoh and Dinosaur Jr, then Clothes Make The Man is a good place to start. - Indie Music Project

"Clothes Make The Man Work"

Clothes make crisp pop-rock chimingly reminiscent of mid-period Sebadoh, Nirvana and Dave Grohl's earliest Foo Fighters sojourns (albeit with a measure of hum-along hooks that puts the last two Foos records combined to shame). As well, there's a smattering of candied Dinosaur Jr./Husker Du crunch for those old enough to remember when "alternative" was still called "college rock." It's gruff and heavy enough for the boys — thanks in no small part to frontman/guitarist Ryan McLennan's serrated yowl — but also blessed with a melodic, post-break-up vulnerability that the young ladies will find quite appealing. It's what those in the biz might call "radio friendly," too, but not in the icky, tailored-to-playlists manner that would no doubt tarnish a similar project completed under the auspices of a major label. The foursome, after all, has risen to a level where it's on the radar of major labels and national booking agents on its own terms. "We are `D.I.Y.'" McLennan says. "We're four, hard-working dudes and we're proud of that, but the end goal is not to be D.I.Y."
-Ben Rayner - Toronto Star

"Good Art Comes From Pain"

Clothes Make The Man shouldn’t be classified as a band, but as a sort of incurable pandemic. The band’s music forces itself upon you, grapples with you, and finally attaches itself to you permanently. Then it victimizes your friends the same way after you’ve grown to enjoy it, which to their credit, doesn’t take long at all.
“We want to generate a buzz on our own,” McLennan says. “And it’s just getting easier to do it ourselves. We want to release records and make a living making unconventional pop music."
Much of the buzz circles around the band’s ironic name, which they refuse to discuss even under intense pressure. But one could guess from their appearance that Clothes Make The Man is substance-over-style, given the addictive musical hooks and candid lyrics born out of isolation, longing and unrequited affection.
“It’s unfortunate, but good art comes from pain,” McLennan says. “To me, the music that sounds the best always comes from a dark place, but has a glimmer of hope. People seem to have a natural connection and relation to that."
-Brian Towie - Metro Toronto Newspaper

"Clothes Make The Man - Disc Review"

Toronto quartet Clothes Make the Man hit the ground running on their debut full-length album and never flag in passion or zeal, carrying out the good work with their hard hitting rock and radio-friendly songwriting. Ryan McLennan’s distinctive voice will be one of the most compelling things heard all year, like Dave Grohl with a smoker’s cough. The ragged grind paradoxically sounds sweet and lively, and will win listeners over with it’s distinctiveness. The interesting thing is, the grittiness of McLennan’s doesn’t come across as a hindrance, but sounds more like the sound an amplifier makes when it is pushed to the limit, overdriving and distorting in the beautiful way only a well-loved amp can do. But the entire focus of the band isn’t centered around McLennan’s voice – Clothes Make the Man are tight and cohesive, and it’s obvious that band understands what kind of hard-edged sound they want. The band shifts easily between quiet and loud dynamics without losing pace or white-knuckled intensity, and still brings loud and beautiful choruses into focus seamlessly, right up front where they belong. Enough craft has gone into each track to create varied, intricate song structures that stay interesting after repeated listens. Each track sounds well-defined and different, which is surely a feat for any rock band on their debut album. The drums sound crisp and tight, the guitars are clear and bright and the bass fills out the sound without muddling everything up. When slinky background vocals slip into the mix, it helps build the sonic atmosphere the band expands throughout the mix. Every single song across the album demands the listener’s attention – it’s hard to pick favorites. Just start at the beginning, because this is practically a perfect album.
File next to: Whatever you listen to music on for the next year.
–Ty Warner - Wavelength, Toronto

"Clothes Make The Man - Feature"

Seems that Clothes Make The Man have taken the old saying "If you want it done right, do it yourself" to a level that borders on obsessive. When I call vocalist and guitarist Ryan McLennan, he's at the tail end of a long day devoted to getting out press kits for the band's new album. "We do everything ourselves. From artwork to booking shows, accounting, promoting, the website – whatever, it's all us," he tells me. "We don't like having to rely on other people to get things done, so from the beginning we decided to be a total DIY band. Right down to putting together press kits and getting them out."

So far it's working just fine for the Ottawa-spawned, Toronto-based hard-rocking garagey quartet. In short order, they've generated a lot of buzz on the local scene with two solid EPs and super-high-energy live shows with enough decibels to attract the cops, if not A&R executives.

That, of course, may change with the release of their self-titled debut full-length album, which finds the band maturing at a dizzying pace, with tight melodies, crunching guitars and lyrics that read like they came right from a personal diary. It's the total package, and has enough radio-friendly tunes to take them to the next level – a place where most bands usually have to start to delegate some authority. Even a known control freak like Neil Young doesn't book hotels personally.

"I guess at some point things will have to change," admits a steadfast yet very affable McLennan. "It started out of necessity, but now that we've been doing it for a while, we really like the control it gives us, and I'd like to keep it this way as long as possible.

"We finally broke down and had someone help out with the new album: producer Geoffrey McPeek, who did a great job. It was a very positive experience, so I guess things are changing a little. Who knows, we may even have someone else booking shows someday."

The production is first rate, with a big, beefy sound that has more in common with that of bigger acts like the Strokes or Supergrass than many of the DIY bands that CMTM rub shoulders with. Does this mean these hardcore indie boys are shooting for the big time, hoping to sip a little gin 'n' juice with the likes of Kanye or Bono?

"Oh yeah, definitely. Total world domination, for sure," answers a sarcastic McLennan. "I can't say we wouldn't want that type of success, but it would have to be on our own terms. In the near future we'd be totally happy getting to do a full tour of Canada.
- Brent Raynor - Now Magazine

"Clothes Make The Man - Disc Review"

4 out of 5
When rock acts stop paying homage to other decades and look to the '90s for inspiration, they'll be following the lead of Toronto quartet Clothes Make The Man. Specifically on Tuz and Let It Go, CMTM's sound has a definite Lou Barlow-ishness, but less stripped down and with more shoulder, somewhat like that excellent first Foo Fighters record. Poppy, and with potential for radio play and crossover appeal, this might just be "the summer album," with Chile being an excellent contender for that great-unknown-song-you'll-hear-at-every-party-this-summer status.
- Dave Jaffer - Hour - Montreal

"CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN at the Bovine Rating: NNNN"

June 19, 2008
CLOTHES MAKE THE MAN at the Bovine Rating: NNNN

These workmanlike locals play 90s rock better than 90 per cent of bands from the 90s. While a busted kick drum skin meant they had to shorten their set (skipping my favourite tune, Singles Only), elements of Archers of Loaf, Dinosaur Jr. and Pavement came together nicely, and the overflowing crowd at the Bovine ate it up. Link.
- NOW Magazine

"Clothes Make The Man NXNE Review"

June 16, 2008

It's not hard to see why Clothes Make The Man’s star has been on the rise: Their hook-heavy tunes are radio friendly, and they're a bunch of lookers to boot. Shame about the broken bass drum skin, but at least it happened right before their last song.
- Chart Attack


June 16, 2008

You know their name is satirical when you see their refreshingly non-hipster, non-anything threads. And that's the same no-frills, no BS honesty in their gritty and energetic rock balladry.

I don’t want to use that all encompassing and useless word Indie on them, like alternative in the 90's. They are a legit rock band and were unfortunately dealt a lackluster crowd considering the venue. Throwing down some excellent melodies they actually managed to smash in their bass drum during one powerballad. Errrr... duct tape anyone?
- CBC's The Hour, Blog


Dreamless Nights / Privy digital release (Dec 29, 2008)
Self-titled full-length album (Feb. 2006)
Two EPs (2003)




'Distance" full-length album (to be release late 09)
Dreamless Nights / Privy digital release (Dec 29, 2008)
Self-titled full-length album (Feb. 2006)
two EPs (2003)

PREVIOUS GIGS INCLUDE: VirginFest, EDGEFEST, NXNE, Canadian Music Week, TulipFest, Halifax Pop Explosion

FAVOURABLE MEDIA COVERAGE: MuchMusic, CBC Radio One, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Metro, 24 Hours, NOW Magazine, Exclaim !*@#, Eye Magazine, Chart Magazine, ECHO Weekly, Hour (Montreal), Wavelength, Ottawa XPress, Steel City Music, Threeohsix, Pulse Niagara

When I first encountered Clothes Make The Man, I was half-assedly surfing the newswires on a Thursday night in 2006, looking for some banal StatsCan press release to eat up space in our national editions. Kitty corner to me was my music editor, sorting through the endless miasma of CDs and releases we get on a daily basis, shilling whatever group of doe-eyed, Gibson-wielding sprites the PR lackeys had passing through town that week.

We have a joke for it in the office: "Dear (MEDIA OUTLET), enclosed is the hot new release from (CLIENT), the latest band to make waves on the (MUSIC GENRE) scene. Influenced by (SERIES OF NOTABLE ARTISTS), their single (NAME OF SONG), has appeared on (SERIES OF CREDIBLE MEDIA OUTLETS)...blah blah blah, give us a review and/or a story and we'll fellate you."

The editor was clearly exasperated, grumbling, "It's all crap!" as he flipped back and forth between the discs. He had an effective system: Pick a couple of major label acts to review, and maybe a local yokel to give the section some edge. Pressed for time, he hands me this disc, the front design looking like a page from an elementary school workbook, glued over some cream-coloured wallpaper bearing the name Clothes Make The Man. The back featured a list of the songs juxtaposed over the skyline of what looked like one of those booming Chinese cities with smog on a cancer-inducing scale.

"150 words by next Tuesday. Sound like you know what you're talking about," he says to me.

The next afternoon, I'm strolling back from grocery shopping, 12-pack and Chicken Cordon Bleu in hand and the weekend ahead of me. I was getting fucked off with music journalism in the short time I had been in the game. Review after review, I began to realize all I was doing was moving the product along, an unpaid monkey rattling a cup as he dances for the organ grinder of the rock PR machine.

Listening to it was like gasping for air upon hitting the surface after pearl diving without scuba gear. They had "it," and "it" howled honestly to you through chord and lyric: The emasculating adolescent storm of failed romance, the crippling insecurity of youth, the unshakeable desire to transcend an anemic hometown and climb to glory - it was the story of the suburban male, genuine and resonant. No big-money studio patina, no bullshit press release. It was something real in a genre of manufacture. The words came easy:

"Clothes Make The Man shouldn't be classified as a band, but as a sort of incurable pandemic. The band's music forces itself upon you, grapples with you, and finally attaches itself to you permanently. Then it victimizes your friends the same way after you've grown to enjoy it, which to their credit, doesn't take long at all."

Following an interview, the Toronto-based foursome (originally from Ottawa) invited me to a gig they had on a mid-week night at Sneaky Dee's. It didn't take long for a quizzical audience to get roped in by the aggressive grit of the guitars and pained wails, roaring post-breakup sensitivity like a serrated table-saw blade tearing through sheet metal. You got the sense that McLennan, if he wasn’t putting it all on paper, would be 40-stories up on a ledge, ready to swan dive to a merciful pavement that would crack open his skull and relieve him of the unrequited longing that gripped his brain like a vice. They had the live charisma to match the disc’s garage-born acumen: It was big-venue rock a scant five feet away, and the crowd left wanting more.

It was at least the better part of a year until I saw CMTM again. The boys went on a self-financed cross-country tour, where they clocked in more than 30,000 kilometres in a van, playing hash-houses and sticky-floored venues from Newfoundland to British Columbia.

They regaled us (being several girls I knew from the north end looking for something to do that night and me) of their travels at The Boat, a plucky little establishment nestled in the heart of Kensington Market that could double for the lower decks of a 1800s schooner. Like grizzled sailors back from months of sailing stormy oceans they told us of long hours driving on the prairie, crowds in from the coast drunk on screech and looking to rock, scrambling to a gig only to find out it was cancelled: If that isn't dedication, you tell me what is.

The hits went off without a h