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Sunday, July 1st, 2007

Sunday Cleaning – Volume 72

This is me celebrating Canada Day with an all-Canuck edition of Sunday Cleaning. Happy birthday, Canada! You rock! Yah!

The Assistants / The Assistants (independent)

I first saw Toronto’s Assistants last Summer at the shoegaze tribute show I sorta DJ-ed (made mix CDs and hit play, basically) and they didn’t make that much of an impression. I commented at the time that “their pedigree (is) more C86 than shoegaze” and they seemed to be about five or six years out of time, as far as the eras they drew influence went. On their debut album, however, they sound immeasurably more “in time” and impressive – while name-dropping the Jesus & Mary Chain and Smiths as influences might be more fashionable, I’m more taken with the Go-Betweens, Lloyd Cole and even Dire Straits in their music (are Dire Straits still the epitome of uncool? Because they really shouldn’t be). Janglesome, melodic and far more assured than you’d expect from a debut, file this one under bands I’m proud to share an area code with. Recommended.

MP3: The Assistants – “This Time”
MP3: The Assistants – “Planet News”
MP3: The Assistants – “Free To Believe”
MP3: The Assistants – “White”
MySpace: The Assistants

Fox Jaws / Goodbye Doris (Chaulk Records)

I barely missed catching Barrie’s Fox Jaws at last year’s Over The Top Fest (when they were still known as the lawsuit-inviting Doris Day) by a number of metres – namely, they were playing on the roof of the Drake and I was in the basement. Fast-forward a year to their debut full-length (slyly named for their identity change) and alls I can say is better late than never. The six-piece turns out taut and hooky rock with an energy and effervescence that belies the density and sophistication of the music but their secret weapon is singer Carleigh Aikins, whose whiskey-shot voice evokes a classic soulfulness without sounding out of time or place in a gang of young, indie-rock toughs such as these. Big things are inevitable. The band’s next show is July 20 at the El Mocambo.

MP3: Fox Jaws – “Karmonica”
MP3: Fox Jaws – “Quarantine Girl”
MySpace: Fox Jaws

Immaculate Machine / Fables (Mint)

Since I first saw them some three or four years ago I’ve been convinced of Immaculate Machine’s potential but not that they were delivering on it. Well their third full-length is finally delivering on that promise – it’s entirely possible that they’d have gotten to this point on their own but you can’t discount the education vocalist/keyboardist Kathryn Calder has gotten in both songwriting and performance from being a member of The New Pornographers the last couple years. But wherever the schooling came, Fables is a top-notch slab of power pop, blending upbeat boy-girl vocals with jangly guitars, burbling synths and melodic hooks aplenty. It doesn’t re-invent the wheel but it does offer a pretty good example of what a well-executed wheel can be.

MP3: Immaculate Machine – “Dear Confessor”
MySpace: Immaculate Machine

By : Frank Yang at 1:07 pm
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Thierry says:

    Funny you should mention Dire Straits – I was listening to some of the tracks in Jefito’s Idiot Guide on the band, and it dawned on me that Nels Cline’s playing on Sky Blue Sky is often very similar to what Knopfler was doing on the long Dire Straits songs or his movie soundtrack work. That headband is still the epitome of uncool though…

  2. Frank says:

    yeah, that headband cost em. But as tragically uncool as Dire Straits may be – and may always be – they wrote some GREAT songs and deserve more respect.