Last year, TUiW went to Coachella based on its stellar lineup, and this morning we have the lineup for this year’s festival, one that seems equally enticing. The fest, held in Indio, CA from April 15-17, will be headlined by Kings of Leon, Arcade Fire, Kanye West, and the reunited Strokes, with featured bands including the Black Keys, Interpol, Robyn, Animal Collective, Mumford & Sons, Bright Eyes, the National, and Death From Above 1979, who evidentially have reunited. If those names weren’t enough, throw in Broken Social Scene, Crystal Castles, Lauryn Hill, Sleigh Bells, Cee-Lo, Lightning Bolt, the reunited Big Audio Dynamite and Suede, Duran Duran, Erykah Badu, the Black Keys, Titus Andronicus, Best Coast, the Kills, the New Pornographers, Lil B, HEALTH, OFF!, Odd Future, and the Chemical Brothers. Damn. Find out more here.
Tag Archives: Broken Social Scene
2010 has been a fantastic year for music, making it especially difficult for us to narrow our list down to 15. After much deliberation, we’ve made our choices and now bring you TUiW’s picks for the Best Songs of the Year.
15. Local Natives – “Sun Hands”
Local Natives have all the sophistication and worldliness of Grizzly Bear without the austerity. There’s no better example of that than “Sun Hands,” an energetic, wide-eyed indie anthem with all the pastoral trappings and Talking Heads influences that you need to Make It on a blog in 2010. And yet Local Natives is more than the sum of their parts, and “Sun Hands” is a catchy song that is hard to get out of your head once it takes up space there. (J)
14. Broken Social Scene – “Forced to Love”
When the record came out in May, I wrote that “Forced to Love” is “the type of song that demands loud speakers on a sunny day,” a description that holds true even in the cold days of winter. It’s the standout track on Forgiveness Rock Record, one that has the band at their best, not only playing to the rafters, but over them. (M)
13. Wavves – “Post Acid”
Wavves mostly ditched the lo-fi in favor of a different quintessentially 1990s sound: the power-punk of Lookout Records. Like someone else you’ll be seeing a little higher on the list, Nathan Williams distilled his self-loathing and public meltdowns into some of the most infectious and catchy music of the year. On “Post Acid,” Williams turns in a ranging, stomping piece of SoCal punk with energy and hookiness to spare. Its hard to think of a song that earned an intro from John Norris more than “Post Acid.” (J)
12. The Morning Benders – “Excuses”
A lush, beautiful song that recalls the Wall of Sound, “Excuses” kicks off Big Echo in grand fashion. The crashing drums and wobbly strings, combined with the “la-la-las” make the song incredibly catchy, and one that won’t leave your head for days. (M)
11. Wye Oak – “Emmylou”
My Neighbor/My Creator, like a lot of EPs, expanded Wye Oak’s slowcore-leaning musical aesthetic, nowhere more so than on the infectious rocker “Emmylou.” The song reshapes the Wye Oak aesthetic, adding a punkish energy and a slight power-pop edge, while not losing their confessional, sharply lyrical style. Like other Wye Oak songs, “Emmylou” is pretty, but it isn’t nearly as fragile.
10. Best Coast – “Boyfriend”
Best Coast had a breakout year in 2010, and the lead off single from Crazy For You is about as catchy as they come. Bethany Cosentino shares her yearning for a boy, while also adding that he has a better girlfriend already that’s “prettier and skinnier.” It’s a charming track that’s just as fun to listen to one the hundredth time as it is on the first. (M)
9. Arcade Fire – “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)”
Even given the expanded sonic palate of The Suburbs, the album concluding Blondie/disco of “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” comes as a bit of a surprise. The only song that features Regine on lead vocals, “Sprawl II” makes great use of her voice, setting it against a rising synth line that betrays a kind of innocence. “Sprawl II” summarizes the entire album, finding a measure of beauty in the “Dead shopping malls” that “rise like mountains beyond mountains” while still showing how stifling living there can be (“quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock”). (J)
8. Robyn – “Dancing On My Own”
One of the most infectious dance songs of 2010, “Dancing On My Own” displays a vulnerability not often found in the genre. Frequently aggressive in her songs, here Robyn has a sad side to her tone, offering up a song that is both moving and catchy as hell. It’s hard to listen to “Dancing On My Own” without hoping that all pop songs could be this good. (M)
7. Deerhunter – “Desire Lines”
On “Desire Lines” Bradford Cox digs deep into his library, merging everything from 1960s doo-wop to shoegaze to ambient noise to make an anthem to being bored and disappointed. With lyrics about outgrowing enthusiasm, “Desire Lines” feels like a great anthem for a time when a lot of us were struggling just to find jobs we didn’t want. And yet there’s a quality of serenity to the song, as if Cox is at peace with the notion of forever cycling through desire and disappointment. (J)
6. Superchunk – “Digging for Something”
After a nine year absence from the studio, Superchunk returned, with “Digging for Something” kicking off Majesty Shredding. It’s a swift and insanely catchy rocker, and it’s probably the year’s best rock song. With John Darnielle providing some back up vocals, “Digging for Something” is the type of song that you can listen to and start over right away.(M)
5. Big Boi – “Shutterbug”
Being the straight-man in a group is a difficult and unrewarding task. Ask Jason Bateman or Chico Marx. So it was easy to, if not overlook Big Boi, then at least expect a more straightforward album than you’d look for from Andre 3000. However Big Boi smashed that expectation, nowhere more so than the infectious bass-rattler “Shutterbugg.” Big Boi rattles off classic lyrics like machine gun bursts, climaxing in the catchy bridge and a command to “throw your deuce up in the sky for the shutterbugg.” (J)
4. Joanna Newsom – “Good Intentions Paving Co.”
With a nod from Joni Mitchell and Carly Simon, Joanna Newsom offered up one of her catchiest and most accessible songs. Always a fan of long, flowing narrative, Newsom her crafts a song full of pop sensibility without giving up her unique sound in the process. If you’ve been hung up on Newsom and her love it or hate it voice before, be sure to give this track a try before writing her off. You won’t regret it. (M)
3. Beach House – “Walk in the Park”
For such a melancholy song, “Walk in the Park” is oddly soaring. That contrast, one that permeates Teen Dream, somehow makes “Walk in the Park” all the more heartbreaking. Depicting a shattering relationship with Beach House’s usual ambiguity (“the face that you saw at the door, isn’t looking at you anymore”), before switching to its equally wrenching conclusion. “Walk in the Park” is a beautiful, fragile, sad song and one of the best of the year. (J)
2. LCD Soundsystem – “I Can Change”
James Murphy hasn’t been shy about getting introspective in the past, but on “I Can Change,” he starts to question the idea of we change one another to be in love. “Love is a murderer” he cries in the song, offering a serious rumination on love in complete contrast to the goofier “Drunk Girls,” found previously on the record. Murphy has said there might not be any more LCD Soundsystem records, but if he keeps putting out singles like this, we’ll have more than enough great songs to keep us satisfied.
1. Kanye West – “Runaway”
What better way to summarize 2010 – a year that gave us The Decision and Rand Paul and the continued success of Jersey Shore – than with an infectious toast to douchebags, assholes, and scumbags. On “Runaway,” Kanye confronted his public persona, his award show escapades, and his outspokenness and generally agreed with the haters, while at the same time showing how that side of his personality is inseparable from his genius. From 35 minute music videos to moving paintings to epic SNL performances, Kanye reminded us all of his outsized ambition, and nowhere did he cash in on that more than our Song of the Year. (J)
Be sure to come back tomorrow as our Best of 2010 coverage wraps up with the 15 best albums of the year.
It’s that time of year folks! Jonah and Michael have spent the last couple weeks debating the best of 2010, and this week, we’ll unveil our picks! We start today with our personal Honorable Mentions, the ones that didn’t make our master lists, but our personal ones. Stay tuned the rest of the week for our official picks!
Jeunet’s latest film is inspired by everything from Buster Keaton to Pixar, blending it with an Ocean’s 11 style heist into a movie that is whimsical and fun and just a little sad. If you found Amelie too precious, Micmacs won’t change your mind, but if you’re already on board with Jeunet, you should hunt down Micmacs immediately.
Film Performances: Jeff Bridges, True Grit
Unfortunately, we had to make these lists without seeing all the 2010 releases that are still making their way around the country. So consider this a placeholder a nod towards a film that we’re both eagerly anticipating.
TV Show: Justified
Few new TV characters crackled to life in 2010 the way Raylan Givens and Boyd Crowder did. The fish-out-of-water premise and early case of the week structure were a little frustrating, but by the time the show moved to its season ending masterplot, the elements blended together to make the most compelling cop show on TV right now.
Album: The Books, The Way Out
On their first album in five years, The Books pushed their aesthetic in bold new directions, layering electronic, funk, and even hip-hop to make the catchiest sound collage record of all time. Stand-out tracks like “A Cold Freezin’ Night” and “I Am Who Am I” make for an aggressive counterweight to gentler stuff like “Thirty Incoming.”
Song: Caribou, “Odessa”
“Odessa,” the most accessible song off of Swim, is also a perfect tone-setter for the record that follows. “Odessa” establishes a mournful atmosphere, layered in disco and pop, as it depicts a breakup in oblique terms.
Film: Rabbit Hole
The more I thought about John Cameron Mitchell’s latest film, the more I found that I liked it. It’s a brooding film, one in which its characters are always on the verge of meltdown, but for a film about a couple dealing with the loss of their child, it doesn’t drop into melodrama like so many other similar films. It’s a gorgeously filmed and phenomenally acted film that may not get the attention it deserves, but is well worth your time.
Film Performance: Mia Wasikowska, The Kids Are All Right
While her higher profile co-stars stole the show, Wasikowska delivered a great performance as a girl just trying to figure out who she is at a time of great change in her life. There’s a naturalism in her performance, a sense that for a young actress, she’s incredibly comfortable in front of the camera, announcing her as a next great talent.
TV Show: Friday Night Lights
Long critically adored, Friday Night Lights goes into its final season riding high. There are few shows on TV that are as good at moving characters in and out of its plot as effectively as FNL, and even less that draw out such terrific performances from such young actors. I’ll be said to see Coach and Tammy go, but at least they’re going out with another strong season.
Album: Broken Social Scene, Forgiveness Rock Record
Call them a sentimental pick, but I thought BSS delivered a fantastic fourth record. It may not be as high up there as some of their previous albums, but Forgiveness Rock Record shows a significant amount of growth for a band that has been so fractured and constantly moving as BSS. If nothing else, it has some damn catchy songs.
Song: Titus Andronicus, “A More Perfect Union”
If there was one song this year that didn’t make our list that I kept listening to over and over again, it was this epic track that kicked off The Monitor. It’s songs like this that make it easy to argue that Titus Andronicus, like Ted Leo before them, are the indie punk descendents of Bruce Springsteen.
TUiW hit the 2010 Pitchfork Music Festival this past weekend, and for those that couldn’t make it out, here’s our blow by blow recap:
Arriving a little late at the festival, the first act I saw was Robyn, who brought a high energy set to the early evening of Day 1. Armed with a band that consisted of two keyboard/synth players and two drummers, Robyn started the dance party with chart-climbing single “Dancing On My Own,” but sadly left out her American breakthrough single, “Show Me Love.”
Broken Social Scene followed, packing the stage as usual with 4-5 guitarists at once. The only downside of the set was Lisa Lobsinger, filling the role occasionally filed by Feist, Emily Haines, or Amy Millan. Lobsinger has a great voice, and “All to All” is one of my favorite tracks on Forgiveness Rock Record, but Lobsinger hardly swayed as she sang and brought little energy to the high energy band. Her bandmates however brought the fire, especially with closer “Meet Me in the Basement,” their instrumental “anthem” as Kevin Drew called it. Closing out the day were indie rock stallwarts Modest Mouse, who took to the stage with “Tiny Cities Made of Ashes” and largely played some of their deeper cuts alongside singles “Dashboard” and “Satellite Skin.” Issac Brock screamed and shared knowledge with the crowd, but it was during Modest Mouse that the first signs of Pitchfork’s poor stage setups started to show. Anyone to the side or too far past the sound tent had a hard time hearing any of the banter, and the music was garbled. All this aside though, the band put on a great show.
Opening the day were Free Energy, the James Murphy-produced outfit that genuinely seemed overjoyed to be playing at the festival. The band bounced their way through the impossibly catchy “Free Energy” and “Bang Pop,” and most definitely won over a slew of new fans. Real Estate was a great early choice, with their gentle rocking floating through the oppressive heat before Delorean brought up the energy level with a frantic set that at times evoked M83, if M83 were huge U2 fans. They were followed by one of Saturday’s best acts, Titus Andronicus,
who got the weekend’s first mosh pit going as they ripped through tracks from The Monitor and got the crowed to yell in unison “You’ll always be a loser!” from “The Future, Pt. 3.” The band got major props in my book for dedicating a song to a girl in attendance that they had heard had been in an accident and missed a prior show, a classy move. Unfortunately, the high of Titus Andronicus was followed with the low of Raekwon. Just after his DJ took the stage, technical problems hit, and the Wu Tang Clan member didn’t even hit the stage for another 10 minutes, where he was again slowed by technical glitches, that were followed up by a short, uninspired set that clearly had all of its energy drained from it. Over on the too small Balance Stage, the Smith Westerns put on a more than pleasant set in the shade that would have been better if the sound on the stage didn’t turn the vocals into an indecipherable mess. The smaller stage had a number of problems with, particularly that it was in a small space with limited ways in and out, but the poor sound system made it hard to hear anything if you weren’t positioned right at the sound tent. All of that was thrown out the window during Wolf Parade, who didn’t need banter to show they were clearly loving playing the festival. The band didn’t slow down at all, blasting songs from their superb Expo 86, as well as older cuts like “This Hearts On Fire” and “Soldier’s Grin.” The highlight however came with the monstrous “Kissing the Beehive” closing the set, sending the crowd into a tizzy. All of that excitement would then be immediately followed by the much dissed set by Panda Bear, which consisted mainly of Noah Lennox holding down a few keys on a synthesizer and yelping every now and then as crazy images played on the big screens. The epic scope of Person Pitch was nowhere to be found, and left me hoping that Tomboy sounds better on record than it did live. The night was closed with an epic set by LCD Soundsystem, helped in part by a crowd that was so ready to go nuts they started cheering when the giant disco ball was raised above the stage well before it started. Now, I’ve seen James Murphy and Co. a few times, but this was easily the best. Though the set lacked much of This Is Happening (only “Drunk Girls,” “Pow Pow,” and “I Can Change”), the crowd went absolutely nuts during a particularly pulsing rendition of our favorite song, “All My Friends.” Though few of the twentysomething hipsters can identify with a song about being an aging hipster, the song hit the right note, and created a frenzy of dancing and singing along that was a major highlight of the festival. Capping their set, the band played the chorus of “Empire State of Mind” before hitting the reprise of “New York I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down,” ending the day on a really high note.
Kicking off my last day of the festival was Best Coast, a band was really excited to see. Bethany Cosentino led the trio through songs from the band’s early singles and EPs, before giving a taste of her forthcoming album Crazy For You, which sounded great. She also got in one of the best punchlines of the festival, joking, “You guys remember Woodstock in the 90s? This reminds me of that.” While Girls played a set that sounded pretty close to their record, Washed Out produced a great set of chillwave jams, but I personally had a hard time getting into a guy playing with his laptop, so it could have been better. Just as the sun went behind the clouds for a while, Beach House took the stage, bringing the soft sounds of Victoria Legrand’s voice and Alex Scally’s spiky guitar to a crowd that seemed more than happy to slowly nod their heads as they jammed along. Songs like “Walk in the Park” carry a little more power live, adding some extra punch to the Teen Dream tracks. Local Natives played to a huge crowd surrounding the tiny Balance Stage, bringing tracks from Gorilla Manor to life with their three part harmonies and thundering drums. Surfer Blood too played to a big crowd, bringing a little more rock with their now polished live act that didn’t disappoint. Next up came a phenomenal set by St. Vincent,
who played all material from Actor with a tight backing band that brought the grandeur of the record into a smaller, but equally stunning sound. Annie Clark brought some of the best guitar work of the weekend to tracks like “Just the Same But Brand New” in a set that, while perhaps a bit too soft for its timeslot, was among the best of the weekend by far. Here We Go Magic impressed me quite a bit, bringing an energy I didn’t expect and getting the crowd moving through the hot afternoon. Everyone that wasn’t at Here We Go Magic was busy at Major Lazer, the Diplo-led crazy factory that featured Chinese dragons, ladder leaps, and a huge party. A Major Lazer show can really be described in so many ways, but its truthfully something that has to be seen for its total craziness be believed. Anyone that was wiped out by Major Lazer got a blast of the chillwave from Neon Indian, who brought a whole band together to groove through tacks like “Terminally Chill” for a big crowd. After Neon Indian, many people stuck around for noise duo Sleigh Bells, but with Neon Indian running over and technical delays, the band went on quite late, and apparently suffered through some sound issues, before finally breaking through and bringing the noise. Meanwhile, Big Boi led the crowd through songs from solo and Outkast repertoires, and even brought with him a crew of really awesome 10-and-under breakdancers. And then it was time for Pavement, the big draw of the weekend. With Drag City’s Rian Murphy offering a hilarious sequel to an act he used to do in Pavement’s heyday opening (highlighted by his claim that, “I’ve been listening to Pavement since 1991, so I’ve been waiting for this reunion for 20 years!”), the mood was frantic for the band, who shut down the festivals webcast under suspicious circumstances. The set was a little more uneven than their triumphant turn at Coachella, with songs like “Stop Breathin,” “Stereo,” and “The Hexx,” hitting perfectly, and others, such as “In The Mouth A Desert” and “Cut Your Hair” coming out sloppily. They still served as a fantastic closer for the weekend, which was laden with more bright spots than otherwise. Pitchfork puts on a great festival, with its small size, constant flow of sets, and high quality acts. If issues like the sound and size of the Balance Stage can get worked out, then there’s nothing to stop Pitchfork from being among the best festivals in the country.
Hey everyone! I’ll be hitting Chicago this weekend for the Pitchfork Festival, featuring Broken Social Scene, Modest Mouse, LCD Soundsystem, and Pavement, along with several other prime acts like Best Coast, Beach House, Titus Andronicus, Big Boi, St. Vincent, Sleigh Bells, and several more. Be sure to tune in to our Twitter feed for some live festival blogging, and at the start of next week, look for a full recap of the weekend!
Okay, so we love reporting on every tidbit that comes out about Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and we previously revealed the soundtrack details, but this little bit of news is too good to pass up. We already knew Broken Social Scene would provide the music for the fictional Crash and the Boys and that Nigel Godrich was providing a score. What we didn’t know is BSS worked with Godrich on the score. BSS’ Brendan Canning dished on the soundtrack to Pitchfork:
Pitchfork: What do the songs you wrote for Crash and the Boys sound like?
Brendan Canning: They’re really short punk rock jams. One tune is four seconds long– it’s in Napalm Death territory. After that one, someone in the movie yells, “Hey, it’s not a race!” The longest tune we recorded for it was 42 seconds. Another one is a little more in D.R.I. territory. We’re all fans of that type of thrashy music– Charles [Spearin] and Ohad [Benchetrit] played in a metal band growing up. I definitely bought Suicidal Tendencies’ first record when it came out.
Pitchfork: How much of the score that you recorded with Nigel Godrich is in the film?
BC: We haven’t seen the final cut yet, but we did about 10 pieces. We spent five days recording in London coming up with ambient, Feel Good Lost-type stuff. It was thrilling working with Nigel since we’re all such big fans of his work with Radiohead and Beck, and even a little Natalie Imbruglia, too. [laughs] He stayed on the bus with us during our last UK tour for a couple days. We’re definitely pals.
This is pretty awesome news. Bringing Nigel Godrich and Broken Social Scene together for ambient music is such a brilliant idea, I don’t know what it hasn’t happened earlier. The SP vs. The World soundtrack comes out August 10 on ABKCO.
We’ve been geeking out big time over Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and now the soundtrack to film has gotten us even more excited. Though we previously knew that Beck, Broken Social Scene, and Metric had provided music for the film’s fictional bands, we now also know that Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich provided the score, which will be digitally released separately. Beck provided the music for the titular character’s band, SEX-BOB-OMB, with the actors doing vocals. Broken Social Scene will supply the track for Crash and the Boys, with song titles “I’m So Sad, So Very, Very Sad” and “We Hate You Please Die” being carried over from the books. Metric had previously been revealed to be doing the music for Clash at Demonhead, though they’re credited on their own on the soundtrack. Also included is Plumtree’s “Scott Pilgrim,” which was the inspiration for Bryan Lee O’Malley’s character. The soundtrack comes out August 10 on ABKCO, with the film following three days later.
Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World soundtrack:
01 SEX BOB-OMB (Beck): “We Are SEX BOB-OMB”
02 Plumtree: “Scott Pilgrim”
03 Frank Black: “I Heard Ramona Sing”
04 Beachwood Sparks: “By Your Side”
05 Black Lips: “O Katrina!”
06 Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene): “I’m So Sad, So Very, Very Sad”
07 Crash and the Boys (Broken Social Scene): “We Hate You Please Die”
08 SEX BOB-OMB (Beck): “Garbage Truck”
09 T. Rex: “Teenage Dream”
10 The Bluetones: “Sleazy Bed Track”
11 Blood Red Shoes: “It’s Getting Boring by the Sea”
12 Metric: “Black Sheep”
13 SEX BOB-OMB (Beck): “Threshold”
14 Broken Social Scene: “Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl”
15 The Rolling Stones: “Under My Thumb”
16 Beck: “Ramona (Acoustic)”
17 Beck: “Ramona”
18 SEX BOB-OMB (Beck): “Summertime”
19 Brian LeBarton: “Threshold 8 Bit”
Now for your listening pleasure, the Tangled Up in Wires podcast. Yes, as part of an innovative new content delivery system, TUIW has decided to add a podcast. Now you can have the dulcet tones of our voices lull you to sleep, as we use yet another soapbox to mock Two and a Half Men share insightful thoughts into the most interesting corners of pop culture. On this podcast, Michael and Jonah discuss the 2009-10 TV season, look at why summer movies have been so disappointing so far, and talk about our favorite music of the year:
Like it? Hate it? Vehemently disagree? Sound off in the comments below and enjoy the podcast!
In 2006, I made the two hour drive from my small Ohio college to Cleveland to go see Broken Social Scene at the House of Blues. The band took to the stage and played the opening bars to “7/4 (Shoreline),” but just as they approached the start of the lyrics, Kevin Drew stopped the band. It seemed that two guys in front had started fighting, and Drew told them to either cut it out or leave. “That’s not what our music is about,” he said.
Yet, for a band that makes such pronouncements, Broken Social Scene had actually been, well, broken for a long time. As their profile rose following their breakthrough You Forgot It In People, so did the profile of the multitude of bands that help compose Broken Social Scene. As Stuart Berman’s fantastic book This Book is Broken chronicles, the loose trial and error method that helped create You Forgot It In People simply couldn’t be replicated again. The recording and touring of their previous, self titled record was marred by the inevitable romances, break-ups, and in-fighting that comes with a band of over a dozen frequently rotating members. Though Broken Social Scene is a terrific album in its own right, it in many ways was overshadowed by its predecessor and increased recognition of the various participants. In the five years since then, Broken Social Scene operated as a banner under which frontmen Kevin Drew and Brendon Canning could release solo projects, though it survived as a live entity, playing shows that featured a more consistent lineup, but with guests whenever possible.
So now, five years later, comes Forgiveness Rock Record, an album that has whittled the often sprawling band down to a core of six members: Drew, Canning, Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin, Andrew Whiteman, and Sam Goldberg, though smaller parts are provided by the usual BSS suspects and other friends. It is also the first of the band’s records since their debut, Feel Good Lost, that doesn’t have Dave Newfeld producing, with John McEnitre of Tortoise and the Sea and the Cake taking over that role. Forgiveness Rock Record has a lot of pressure on it, due largely in part to the popularity of You Forgot It In People on Best of the 2000s lists in the last year, not to mention the now huge popularity of the band. While first listen doesn’t immediately knock you off your feet, Forgiveness Rock Record seems like a natural progression for the band. The eclectic nature of You Forgot It In People and the revolving door touring begot Broken Social Scene, and the band turmoil, hiatus, and side projects have begot Forgiveness Rock Record.
The album starts with “World Sick,” an epic track that eases its way out of the speakers. It’s a song akin to putting a pot on the stove, letting it come right to the point of boiling over, and then removing it before the hot water spills everywhere. “World Sick” builds and builds, and just as its about to hit as triumphant climax, it starts to back away. It’s as well crafted a song as the band has mustered since You Forgot It In People, and manages to properly acclimate the listener to what they’re about to hear. “Chase Scene” features processed drums, reverb soaked guitars, and the a haunting, looming violin part to accompany it. “Chase Scene” sounds most similar to the songs on Drew’s solo effort, Spirit If…, especially the song “Frightening Lives.” “Texico Bitches” features the clicking drums of “Fire Eye’d Boy,” and holds a mostly hypnotic pace that is seemingly impossible not to enjoy. “Forced to Love,” like “World Sick,” is as solid a song as the band has ever written, one that features a sing-a-long chorus in a way only Broken Social Scene could manage one, with the lyrics “Because we’re forced to love/All the time.” “Forced to Love” is Forgiveness Rock Record‘s best song, the type of song that demands loud speakers on a sunny day.
Lisa Lobsinger, who joined the band during their live shows for Broken Social Scene, dominates “All to All” with her gorgeous, ambient voice bouncing off the drum machine clicks and reverbed guitars. Without vocals, “All to All” would fit nicely on Feel Good Lost, and somehow manages to have a classic Broken Social Scene sound, but one that we’ve never hear before, an indie-rock chamber dance song. Andrew Whiteman’s “Art House Director” revels in the type of horns and syncopated drumming that are characteristic of his tracks with Broken Social Scene and Apostle of Hustle, and like “Forced to Love,” is a song for dancing and having fun. “Highway Slipper Jam” seems to try to reach back into songs like “Looks Just Like the Sun” and “I’m Still Your Fag,” but doesn’t seem to quite land it, but not really for lack of trying. “Ungrateful Little Father” has it’s fill of danceable drums, but the song for an “ungrateful little mother fuck” reaches it’s climax just over half-way through, spending the rest of the time floating through ambient flares and clicks. It’s followed though by the epic, rafter reaching instrumental “Meet Me in the Basement,” a song that many bands try to make, but few can accomplish it, as Broken Social Scene does. Emily Haines makes her big appearance on the fantastic “Sentimental X’s,” which seems to feature Broken Social Scene’s new mantra in repetition: “Off and on is what we want.” The lyric is a startlingly direct and heartfelt sentiment from a band that seems to really prefer to just play music and put the lyrical meanings behind that. By the time the song hits the steady drumming and Haines’ voice starts to fade behind the wall of sound, the song soars upwards, and behind “Forced to Love” is the next best track on the album.
Unfortunately, “Sentimental X’s” is followed by “Sweetest Kill,” which takes a lot of the momentum the album has been building towards, and abruptly slows down. It’s not a bad song, it just feels out of sequence behind a rafter-reaching anthem and “Romance to the Grave,” a song that builds and builds until its final third goes into the type of lovely Broken Social Scene vibe one has come to expect and love from the band. Brendan Canning takes his biggest swing on the ramshackle rocker “Water in Hell” a song that demands toe-tapping and seems destined for a life time of crowds shouting “there’s water in hell!” back at the band. The power and energy of “Water in Hell” is rather abruptly stopped with the album’s goofy closer, “Me and My Hand,” which plays out way to seriously considering how silly it is. That’s the kind of guy Kevin Drew is, at least based on his stage persona, so I guess it couldn’t come as a total surprise.
Put simply, Forgiveness Rock Record is a really enjoyable album to listen to. Its first two thirds are extremely solid, and are about as good as anything else the band has done, but it’s the few hiccups in the middle and towards the end that either disrupt the album’s flow or don’t seem to have fully reached their potential that ultimately keep this record from topping the band’s previous work. This is the problem a band with such acclaim and exceptions has I suppose, but it’s also important to remember how good the good parts of this record are. As a result, the aspects of the record I didn’t enjoy didn’t seem to bother me too much. In the end, this seems to play into the drive behind Forgiveness Rock Record. Broken Social Scene put so many fractures into such a tight group of friends, and Forgiveness Rock Record, it’s good parts and only okay parts, serves as a sonic reconciliation of everything the band has and will continue to do. Forgiveness Rock Record may not be perfect, but it’s Broken Social Scene.
Michael’s Score: 80
TUiW Grade: B+
This May is shaping up to be a really great month of media. In addition to a stellar lineup of new music, May is also the start of the Summer Movie season and TV season finales. We’ve provided below a list of some of the best media this month, as well as links to find more.
Broken Social Scene: Forgiveness Rock Record [Arts & Crafts]
The Fall: Your Future Our Clutter [Domino]
The Flaming Lips/Stardeath and White Dwarfs: The Dark Side of the Moon [Warner Bros.]
Flying Lotus: Cosmogramma [Warp]
The Hold Steady: Heaven Is Whenever [Vagrant]
Minus the Bear: Omni [Dangerbird]
The New Pornographers: Together [Matador]
Josh Ritter: So Runs the World Away [Pytheas Recordings]
Paul Weller: Wake Up the Nation [Yep Roc]
The Whitsundays: Saul [Friendly Fire]
CocoRosie: Grey Oceans [Sub Pop]
The Dead Weather: Sea of Cowards [Third Man/Warner Bros.]
Holy Fuck: Latin [Young Turks/XL]
Japandroids: No Singles [Polyvinyl]
The National: High Violet [4AD]
Sleigh Bells: Treats [NEET/Mom + Pop]
UNKLE: Where Did the Night Fall [Surrender All]
Woods: At Echo Lake [Woodsist]
Band of Horses: Infinite Arms [Brown Records/Fat Possum/Columbia]
The Black Keys: Brothers [Nonesuch]
LCD Soundsystem: This Is Happening [DFA/Virgin]
Jamie Lidell: Compass [Warp]
Janelle Monae: The ArchAndroid [Wondaland Arts Society/Bad Boy]
Nas and Damian Marley: Distant Relatives [Universal Republic]
Rhymefest: El Che [dNBe Entertainment]
The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St. [Universal] [Deluxe Edition reissue]
Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek: Revolutions Per Minute [Blacksmith/Warner Bros.]
David Cross: Bigger and Blackerer [Sub Pop] [CD/DVD]
The Cure: Disintegration [Three-disc reissue] [Polydor/Universal]
Karen Elson: The Ghost Who Walks [Third Man/XL]
Tobacco: Maniac Meat [Anticon]
More Movie Releases Here
Iron Man 2
Shrek Forever After
Sex and the City 2
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead
More Movie Release Dates Here
TV (Season Finales)
FlashForward: Thursday, May 27 @ 8 pm/ET
Lost: Sunday, May 23 @ 9 pm/ET (two hour series finale)
Modern Family: Wednesday, May 19 @ 9 pm/ET
How I Met Your Mother: Monday, May 24 @ 8 pm/ET
24: Monday, May 24 @ 8 pm/ET (two hour series finale)
The Cleveland Show: Sunday, May 23 @ 8:30 pm/ET
Family Guy: Sunday, May 23 @ 9pm/ET (one hour)
Fringe: Thursday, May 20 @ 9 pm/ET
House: Monday, May 17 @ 8 pm/ET
The Simpsons: Sunday, May 23 @ 8 pm/ET
30 Rock: Thursday, May 20 @ 9:30 pm/ET
Chuck: Monday, May 24 @ 8 pm/ET (two hours)
Community: Thursday, May 20 @ 8 pm/ET
The Office: Thursday, May 20 @ 9 pm/ET
Parenthood: Tuesday, May 25 @ 10 pm/ET
Parks and Recreation: Thursday, May 20 @ 8:30 pm/ET
More Finale Dates Here