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Broken Social Scene

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