Broken Social Scene

Event has passed (Fri Aug 10, 2018 - Fri Aug 10, 2018)
The Independent




Broken Social Scene was started in 1999, born of a theme that has become the stalwart of the band's existence - friendship in tough times. Kevin Drew was a talented, but essentially unknown musician who specialized in lovely bedroom instrumentals.

Brendan Canning was a vet of several Toronto almost-made-its, including hHead, Len, Spookey Ruben and By Divine Right. His was a theme shared by nearly all local musicians who had their kick at the American can - Canada's best artists seemed destined to be ignored outside the confines of home.

After a year of gigging around town with the fairly solid line-up of Drew, Canning, Peroff, Whiteman, Spearin, Crossingham, as well as vital support from Feist, Cranley, and Metric's Emily Haines and James Shaw, the band decided to record a new album. At a meeting in a west-end bar, the band debated and narrowed a list of some 28 songs into a more manageable 16 tunes. The recording, at the studio of local wunder-producer Dave Newfeld, was to be handled with strident focus. But nothing in BSS works as planned...

What eventually happened next, (after months of recording, rerecording, and countless mixes), is now well known - You Forgot It In People was released in October 2002 to great local praise, a fanfare that slowly but surely grew in volume and breadth. Instead of the spate of Canadian shows and quick return to studio that most expected from any Toronto group-dujour, Broken Social Scene spent the next two-and-a-half years on tour in the U.S., Europe and Japan. Drew and managers Jeff Remedios and Daniel Cutler also launched their own imprint, Arts & Crafts, which became home to BSS and its numerous satellite acts, such as Apostle of Hustle and Stars. All the while, You Forgot It In People sold over 150,000 copies worldwide. Despite the scheduling headaches, trauma, and ulcers it entailed, BSS managed to tour continuously over 2003-04 by sharing members with busy acts such as Stars, Metric, Do Make Say Think, Jason Collett, Feist, and Raising The Fawn. Unlike so many touring acts, the line-up of the band changed from leg to leg, even night to night - no Broken Social Scene show was ever the same.

Somewhere in the spring of 2004, the band began to focus on recording their follow-up to YFIIP. Of course with offers for Coachella, Lollapalooza's (failed) resurrection, and Europe's hot festival circuit, the studio was proving quite elusive. Even when time was available, the band had further considerations - Canuck director Bruce McDonald had asked the band to score his new film, The Love Crimes of Gillian Guess.

This is where Dave Newfeld's Stars and Sons studio became most vital. As George Martin was to The Beatles, Newfeld is a vital part of BSS's success. After the intense experience of YFIIP, the producer became the band's "sixth man" - a workhorse whose dedication to recording the band knew no boundaries. The band stole studio moments wherever possible, knowing that as they toured, Newfeld was working maniacally, shaping each tune into another of his trademark headphone masterpieces.

As the band closed 2004 with a triumphant run at NYC's Bowery Ballroom (not to mention a coveted Pixies opening slot at the Hammerstein), it was time to leave the stage. With the dawn of 2005, the band's typically Herculean recording energies went into not one but two separate album projects - the first with Newfeld, the second with Do Make Say Think member Ohad Benchetrit at the helm. To make the recording schedule complete, Drew, Canning, Spearin and Benchetrit flew to London in early September 2005 to work on yet another soundtrack, this time for the film Snowball.

Most likely in your hand now is the result for the extensive Newfeld session. Broken Social Scene is a fitting title for the band's third record as this album is an apt aural representation of the band's friendship. It is messy, overrun, irregular but spirited, passionate, honest and hopeful. Throughout all of this, BSS has still managed to check schedules, find extra chairs, and host its live ten-person dinner parties night after night. It isn't the easiest way for a band to exist, but once you've experienced the conversation and camaraderie that occurs, there really is no going back.

Complete and utter chaos - who doesn't like to be surprised by what the new day will bring?


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