Sunday, July 11, 2010

Broken Social Scene - "Forgiveness Rock Record" Vinyl LP

Broken Social Scene - "Forgiveness Rock Record" Vinyl LP
Arts & Crafts
Produced by John McEntire & BSS
Original Release - 2010

BSS is an interesting case study of modern indie-rock. They are critical darlings, the Daniel Day-Lewis of indie, emerging and re-forming every few years to release a highly touted album. BSS has more members and ex-members than British Parliament, this sentiment expressed with comedic excellence by Texas Travesty in 2009:

Michael Prohaska
That guy who played with Broken Social Scene once

Texas Travesty:So how has your life changed since the big show?
Michael Prohaska: Oh, it's great. I'm a true rock star now. All my friends have told me that I've changed a lot, and that I act differently around them. But that's OK, I don't really need friends that aren't already rock stars.
TT: What's the next the step in your musical career? Any big projects lined up?
MP: Now that I'm basically a member of BSS, I'm currently working on a few side projects, including my upcoming solo project with whale sounds and sitars called "Electric Birth Canal," as well as a few local gigs, you know, to stay true to my roots.
TT: How did you did you get the opportunity to play with such a prominent indie act?
MP: Well, I knew that some of the songs had trumpets on the track, and I thought I would make a great addition to the band. I snuck in backstage to the rehearsal early in the day by tasering several members of the security team. It only took two measures of my sweet trumpet riffs and the band had to have me. The security guards recovered and we all had a good laugh about it later.
TT: Any advice for the rest of us trying to hit it big?
MP: Just remember: People only think you're as great as you tell them you are.
Turn-ons: French horns, light jazz, Canadians, female vocalists, amphitheaters, great crowds, selling out the big show, breakin' da rulez, European folk music, French wine, proper tuning

Turn-offs: scalpers, major record labels, cultural "norms," people who only got into BSS after they hit it big, people who say I sold out, carbon emissions, parents

BSS's "Forgiveness Rock Record" is an excellent album. As an added bonus, it has been released with the "Lo-Fi For The Dividing Nights" EP. We know what to expect from BSS and they deliver with inventiveness and experimentation. "World Sick" kicks off the album with swelling guitars and harmony, while "Texico Bitches" provides the perfect rhythm and lyrics for a sunny drive down the highway. We experience some tempo and mood changes on side B with "Art House Director" and "Highway Slipper Jam".

This is an album made by people who are comfortable in their skin, they don't try to do to much, and they know how to keep it loose. Recently I read an extensive article on BSS in Filter magazine. It covered four seasons with the band, notably over the winter holidays in Canada, where BSS played a somewhat impromptu gig at a poetry reading. Thats just how they roll, hang out and drink a few pints, and then take the stage with a replacement drummer, keeping it loose and charmingly sloppy. BSS fans never know what to expect from a live show, except that it will be the most unique and unpredictable show of the season.

With "Ungrateful Little Father" I can't help but hear echos of Wilco's "Yankee Hotel Foxtrot" not only sonically but lyrically as well.

Side C opens with the driving beat of "Meet Me In The Basement", a epic instrumental that leads into the more melancholy "Sentimental X's". Which leads to the even more subdued "Sweetest Kill" an obvious standout from this album.

"Water In Hell" is BSS at their best, seeming to indulge every Rock & Roll instinct they possess before winding down for the closing "Me and My Hand". An excellent album by an excellent super-group, I would recommend you pick it up.

Album - B+

Vinyl - A (A nice double LP set on excellent sounding vinyl. Also comes with the download codes for the entire album, plus a CD EP).

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