From the town that hatched such folk as Hot Hot Heat, Carolyn Mark, No Means No, the Buttless Chaps and others, Victoria BC's Immaculate Machine is Mint Records' latest find, a band we -- and others -- are pretty nuts about, and hope you will be too. Having built an enthusiastic following thus far with two full Canadian tours under their youthful belts, Immaculate Machine is primed to make an even greater impression this fall. Why? Here's three reasons: Ones and Zeros, their great Mint debut album, one member of the band's contribution on the New Pornographers' upcoming Twin Cinema, and a full-on-to-die-for Canada/US tour supporting the New Pornographers.
Inspired by sweat, dancing, love and political dissent, Immaculate Machine is a tight trio that sings in three-part harmonies and strangled shouts above crashing drums, catchy keyboards and electric guitar. Rotating lead vocals and songwriting contributions from all three members result in a style that is truly hard to pin down.
Growing up with grunge and punk, they quickly developed an appetite for all types of music, new and old; the threesome has a particular appreciation for music that makes political messages fun and accessible. Their energy and enjoyment of the music rubs off on the crowd, and shows frequently end up as frenetic dance parties!
Long-time friends Brooke Gallupe (vocals/guitar), Kathryn Calder (vocals/ keyboards), and Luke Kozlowski (vocals/drums) played in many bands together before settling on their current lineup in October 2002. The trio independently released two albums, The View (EP 2003) and Transporter (LP 2004), which charted prominently at Canadian college radio, reaching #1 on both coasts. In the spring of 2005, Immaculate Machine became a Mint band, and began recording with JC/ DC, the production team behind Tegan & Sara, the New Pornographers, Destroyer, Rodney Graham, The Softies, young & sexy and others.
Incidentally, AC "Carl" Newman, frontman of The New Pornographers, is related to the band by more than just his Mint Records labelmate status; he is also Kathryn's long lost uncle. Kathryn plays piano and sings on much of The New Pornographers' new album.
Some recent press for Ones and Zeros
NOW: In all the kerfuffle over the discovery that singer/keyboardist Kathryn Calder happens to be Carl "A.C." Newman's long-lost niece, it's easy to overlook the fact that Victoria's Immaculate Machine were kicking out unpretentious, artfully catchy pop jams way before they had any connection to either the New Pornos or Mint Records.
Ones And Zeroes continues the trend of retro keyboard-propelled new wave librettos about Hot Topic-style fake punks colonizing authentic culture, 20-something anxiety about the future and romance that IM established on their indie Transporter disc. But the harmonies are sweeter, the stylistic range slightly wider and the production (courtesy of JC/DC) much cleaner than their last outing. The lyrics are a tad wide-eyed (see So Cynical), but they match Calder's reedy mezzo, which, oddly, evokes Joan Baez.
BITCH: Immaculate Machine's yelly, catchy anthems are both quirky and powerful. With energy to spare and an outlook. that's quintessentially youthful, defiant anthems like "Army" or the live- for-the-moment "No Such Thing as the Future" could be themes for a geeky TV-cartoon-superhero squad. The trio-consisting of creative writing, art history, and French literature scholars from British Columbia ‹ are smart and poetic, bolstered by solid craft yet unfettered by pretension, boundless ego, or the high cost of healthcare. Alongside social observations and lovelorn angst, an exuberant beat is never far behind to buttress Immaculate Machine's chiming voices, soaring keys, and big guitar. Urgent and alive. Ones and Zeros has meat, muscle, and meaning.