Broken Social Scene Biography
Feel Good Lost
The band's core members are Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. This duo recorded and released the band's ambient debut album, Feel Good Lost, on Noise Factory Records in 2001, with contributions by Justin Peroff, Charles Spearin, Bill Priddle, Leslie Feist, Jessica Moss and Stars' Evan Cranley. However, when they played shows to support the album, Drew and Canning found it difficult to put together an entertaining show based on their material thus far, which was almost entirely instrumental.
As a result, they brought in a number of friends from the Toronto indie scene—album contributors as well as Andrew Whiteman, Jason Collett, and Metric's Emily Haines—to flesh out their live show with lyrics and vocals. Over time, the band also came to include contributions from James Shaw, Justin Peroff, John Crossingham, and Stars member Amy Millan.
You Forgot It in People
All of the previously mentioned guest musicians joined with Drew, Canning, Peroff and Spearin to record the band's second album, You Forgot It in People. The album won the Alternative Album of the Year Juno Award in 2003. The album also included musical contributions by Priddle, Jessica Moss, Brodie West, Susannah Brady and Ohad Benchetrit, but these were credited as supporting musicians rather than band members. On the supporting tour, the core band consisted of Drew, Canning, Peroff, Whiteman and Jason Collett, along with any other band member who was available to attend any individual show.
In 2003, the B-sides and remix collection Bee Hives was released.
Broken Social Scene's song "Lover's Spit" from 2002's You Forgot It in People has been featured in director Clément Virgo's movie Lie with Me (2005), Paul McGuigan's Wicker Park (2004), Bruce McDonald's The Love Crimes of Gillian Guess (2004), Showtime's Queer as Folk (2003) and the penultimate episode of the Canadian series "Terminal City." The version of "Lover's Spit" found on 2004's Bee Hives record was also featured in an episode of the third season of the FX series Nip/Tuck. Showtime's television program The L Word featured "Pacific Theme" "Looks Just Like the Sun" both from You Forgot It in People in the show's first season. "Stars and Sons" from You Forgot It in People also appeared in the movie The Invisible. Music from the band's albums were used to score the 2006 film Half Nelson.
Broken Social Scene
Broken Social Scene released their third full-length album, Broken Social Scene on October 4, 2005, with new contributors including k-os, Jason Tait and Murray Lightburn. The inside booklet accompanying album also noted several new faces as part of Broken Social Scene including Stars members Torquil Campbell and David Newfeld, who produced this album as well as You Forgot It In People. A limited edition EP, E.P. To Be You And Me was also printed along with the album.
The group appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on January 31, 2006 performing "7/4 (Shoreline)". At the 2006 Juno Awards, they performed "Ibi Dreams of Pavement" at the show and their eponymous album won the Alternative Album of the Year award. In July 2006 the band announced a temporary hiatus following the conclusion of their November US tour while members work on their other projects.
Broken Social Scene were last minute replacement performers at North America's first Virgin Festival, at Toronto Islands Park, the weekend of September 9–10, 2006. Contacted on September 7 after headliners Massive Attack cancelled due to problems involving obtaining US visas, the entire band, just returned from a European tour in August, managed to assemble to close the festival Sunday night. Appearing on the main Virgin Mobile Stage, immediately following performances by international superstar bands The Strokes and The Raconteurs, BSS took the stage at 10:00 p.m., and played a set of over an hour. Through the performance the band was joined by part-time members, and stars in their own right: Leslie Feist, Amy Millan of Stars, k-os, and Emily Haines of Metric. This was the last show featuring the rare 15 member lineup of the band until 2009.
In late 2006, several members of the band appeared as special guests on The Stars and Suns Sessions, the second album from Mexican indie band Chikita Violenta. The album was produced by Dave Newfeld.
They have also composed and recorded an original score for director Marc Evans's film Snow Cake, as well as scored his 2007 film adaptation of Maureen Medved's novel, The Tracey Fragments. In 2009, Bruce McDonald directed a short documentary episode of IFC's The Rawside Of... that focused on the making of Brendan Canning's solo album Something for All of Us.
Broken Social Scene Presents...
On June 8, 2007, music website Pitchforkmedia.com reported that BSS founder Kevin Drew was recording a solo album, which was to feature many other members of BSS and produced by Ohad Benchetrit and Charles Spearin. The album is entitled Broken Social Scene presents Kevin Drew, Spirit If..., and is intended to be the first in a series of "Broken Social Scene presents..." albums. The album was recorded throughout 2004 and 2006 in Ohad Benchetrit's house while the band was not on tour. Although billed as a solo project, nearly every BSS member, from drummer Justin Peroff to Leslie Feist, Emily Haines and Amy Millan, makes a cameo appearance. The sound itself is BSS’s familiar mix of rough and ragged, sad and celebratory. It is prone to psychedelic swells, acoustic jangles and features a cast of friends and associates (including Dinosaur Jr’s J. Mascis and Canadian rock icon Tom Cochrane) playing and singing and handclapping along. The album was released on September 18, 2007 and a tour billed as Broken Social Scene Performs Kevin Drew's Spirit If... was engaged in late 2007.
The second "Broken Social Scene presents..." record, by Brendan Canning, is entitled Something for All of Us and was released on Arts & Crafts on July 22, 2008. In a recent interview, Canning said the group would be working on a full Broken Social Scene album before another in this series would be produced.
Broken Social Scene also took part in the 2008 Siren Music Festival in Coney Island, Brooklyn.
In March 2009 it was announced that Arts & Crafts, with association from Anansi Press, would release This Book is Broken written by Eye Weekly editor Stuart Berman, who confesses his close personal involvement with the band in the opening chapters. The book includes artwork, concert posters and photographs (professional and amateur) of the band. Most of the narration is provided by interview material of the band and related persons, arranged by subject and chronology. The book was released in May 2009, and has been described as a "visual/oral history" of not only the band, but of Toronto itself.
On April 29, 2009, Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning guest-hosted 102.1 The Edge's program The Indie Hour to promote a concert on Olympic Island that was later moved to Harbourfront Centre due to poor scheduling.
On June 17, 2009, the band appeared during North by Northeast as "special guests" at the Arts & Crafts launch of This Book is Broken. During their short set, they played a mix of new songs from the upcoming album and old favourites. Despite press reports earlier in the year that she would not likely play with them again, they were joined in this performance by Feist.
During the band's free performance at the Harbourfront Centre on July 11, 2009, they were joined by nearly all past contributors, including Feist, Emily Haines and James Shaw, Amy Millan and Evan Cranley, John Crossingham, Jason Collett and Julie Penner. This revue-like show celebrated other projects by members as well as including new material. They were introduced at this show by Bruce McDonald, who announced the filming of a movie directed by him and written by Don McKellar called This Movie Is Broken. This documentary will include concert footage as well as film submitted by fans that documents Toronto in the summer of 2009.
Broken Social Scene are recording their fifth full-length album, with a release date of May 4 2010. Entitled Forgiveness Rock Record, it was recorded in Chicago, with John McEntire producing, and in Toronto at the studio of Sebastian Grainger and James Shaw. Amy Millan, Emily Haines, and Leslie Feist have reportedly recorded a track together, marking the first time in the band's history that the three have been recorded on the same song. "World Sick," a sample track from the new album, is available for free from the band's website. The album leaked to the internet April 12 and the following week on April 20, the limited release of Lo-Fi For the Dividing Nights, an additional 10 song EP also recorded at Soma (in the 'B' room) was announced.