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Broken Social Scene

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As much a creative collective as an indie rock band, Broken Social Scene is a Toronto-based ensemble whose flexible lineup has included some of the best and best-known musicians from the city's left-of-center music community. The group, whose membership has been as small as two and as large as 15, has created an eclectic body of work that's explored many stylistic avenues, from ambient minimalism to brightly orchestrated Baroque pop. Broken Social Scene was founded in 1999 when Kevin Drew of K.C. Accidental and Brendan Canning of By Divine Right teamed up to collaborate on new music. After two years spent honing their compositions, Drew and Canning released the first Broken Social Scene album, 2001's Feel Good Lost. The album, primarily instrumental, was largely performed by Drew and Canning, though it also featured guest appearances by Evan Cranley of Stars, Bill Priddle from K.C. Accidental, Anthony Seck of Shalabi Effect, Charles Spearin of Do Make Say Think, and vocalist Leslie Feist. Justin Peroff, who played drums on the sessions, would soon become one of the group's mainstays, while BSS' live shows often included Andrew Whiteman (Stars), Emily Haines (Metric), James Shaw (Metric), John Crossingham (Raising the Fawn), Amy Millan (Stars), and Jason Collett. Drew, Canning, Peroff, and Spearin were at the core of the band that cut Broken Social Scene's second album, 2002's You Forgot It in People, though the lineup had expanded to 11 musicians, including Cranley, Crossingham, Feist, Haines, Priddle, Shaw, and Whiteman. You Forgot It in People proved to be Broken Social Scene's breakthrough, earning rave reviews from critics and winning a Juno Award as Best Alternative Album. In 2003, BSS released a stopgap compilation, Bee Hives, which gathered B-sides from their singles as well as remixed tracks. The band returned with a self-titled third album in 2005; by this time, Broken Social Scene had grown even larger, with Ohad Benchetrit (Do Make Say Think), Torquil Campbell (Stars), and Martin Davis Kinack performing alongside the crew from You Forgot It in People. Like their second album, Broken Social Scene earned the group another Juno Award for Best Alternative Album, and they mounted an international tour. They also became last-minute headliners at Toronto's 2006 Virgin Festival, stepping in when original bill toppers Massive Attack were stranded in the U.K. due to visa problems. Following the touring cycle for Broken Social Scene, the group went on hiatus as the members pursued pursued individual projects. In 2007, Kevin Drew dropped a solo album under the banner "Broken Social Scene Presents," Spirit If …, and Brendan Canning followed suit with 2008's Something for All of Us. Both albums featured extensive contributions from other members of the band. (Drew would also release a series of four "Broken Social Scene Presents" EPs in 2007.) In 2009, author Stuart Berman published a book on BSS, This Book Is Broken, which was created with the cooperation of the band. The following year, Broken Social Scene became movie stars with the release of This Movie Is Broken, a romantic comedy by Canadian filmmaker Bruce McDonald that takes place at a BSS concert in Toronto. In 2010, Broken Social Scene returned with an especially ambitious project. The album Forgiveness Rock Record was recorded in Toronto, New York, and Chicago, and included contributions from 28 different musicians, including members of Pavement and Death from Above 1979. Fans who pre-ordered the album also received a ten-song digital EP, Lo-Fi for the Dividing Nights, while also releasing seven different remixes of the track "All to All." Another critical success, the album was nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, and rose to number one on the Canadian sales charts. (In the United States, it peaked at 34, an impressive achievement for an independent release.) In late 2010, Broken Social Scene once again went on hiatus, though they re-formed for occasional concerts and festival appearances, and in 2013 they sponsored a literary competition, inviting authors to write short stories inspired by songs from You Forgot It in People. The 13 finalists' stories were published in a book titled The Broken Social Scene Story Project: Short Works Inspired by You Forgot It in People. The full 15-member edition of BSS reconvened to record their fifth album, Hug of Thunder, which was released in July 2017. ~ Mark Deming
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Stations Featuring
Broken Social Scene

    Top Indie

    Top Indie
    7 songs

Albums by
Broken Social Scene

Top Songs by
Broken Social Scene

  1.   Song
    Popularity
  2.   Cause = Time
  3.   7/4 (Shoreline)
  4.   KC Accidental
  5.   Stars and Sons
  6.   World Sick
  7.   Pacific Theme
  8.   Halfway Home
  9.   All To All
  10.   Anthems for a Seventeen Year Old Girl
  11.   Skyline
  12.   Almost Crimes
  13.   Hug of Thunder
  14.   Forced To Love
  15.   Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)
  16.   Lover's Spit by Feist
  17.   Texico Bitches
  18.   Sweetest Kill
  19.   Last Place
  20.   Please Take Me with You
  21.   Fire Eye'd Boy
  22.   Victim Lover
  23.   Protest Song
  24.   Looks Just Like the Sun
  25.   Sentimental X's
  26.   Anthems for a 17 Year Old Girl
  27.   Swimmers
  28.   Passport Radio
  29.   Towers and Masons
  30.   Shampoo Suicide
  31.   Time = Cause
  32.   Deathcock
  33.   Guilty Cubicles
  34.   Market Fresh
  35.   I Slept with Bonhomme at the CBC
  36.   Not at My Best
  37.   Love Will Tear Us Apart by Mychael Danna
  38.   Romance to the Grave
  39.   Puff the Magic Dragon
  40.   It's All Gonna Break
  41.   Bandwitch
  42.   Major Label Debut
  43.   hHallmark
  44.   Late Nineties Bedroom Rock for the Missionaries
  45.   Blues for Uncle Gibb
  46.   Mother Mother
  47.   Me and My Hand
  48.   Superconnected
  49.   Backyards
  50.   Ambulance for the Ambience
  51.   Handjobs for the Holidays
  52.   Prison Province
  53.   No Smiling Darkness/Snake Charmers Assocation
  54.   Our Faces Split the Coast in Half
  55.   Mossbraker
  56.   Canada vs. America
  57.   Water in Hell
  58.   Cranley's Gonna Make It
  59.   Ungrateful Little Father
  60.   Love and Mathematics
  61.   Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse
  62.   Gonna Get Better
  63.   Vanity Pail Kids
  64.   Sol Luna
  65.   Let's Get Out of Here
  66.   Bruised Ghosts
  67.   Baby You're in Luck
  68.   Chase Scene
  69.   All My Friends
  70.   Her Disappearing Theme
  71.   Hotel
  72.   Windsurfing Nation
  73.   Finish Your Collapse and Stay for Breakfast
  74.   Weddings
  75.   Feel Good Lost
  76.   Capture the Flag
  77.   Stomach Song
  78.   Starts With a Big Finish
  79.   Da Dada
  80.   Feel Good Last Reprise
  81.   Wild Goose
  82.   Alive in 85
  83.   Baroque Social
  84.   I'm Still Your Fag
  85.   Pitter Patter Goes My Heart
  86.   [Untitled]
  87.   Tremoloa Debut
  88.   Highway Slipper Jam
  89.   Meet Me in the Basement
  90.   Stay Happy
  91.   Art House Director