With a third Field Trip appearance on tap for June, Thursday night’s debut of a new song on Colbert, and a new record on the way, it’s clear Broken Social Scene are back. In celebration of Toronto’s house band returning to duty, here is Broken Social Scene: A-to-Z.
Amy Millan: Stars frontwoman Amy Millan did not appear on Broken Social Scene’s first two records, but she was a regular on the live circuit to sing parts of songs when Feist and Emily Haines were absent. Millan finally got in on the recording action for the band’s 2005 self-titled release.
Apostle of Hustle: Andrew Whiteman can boast near-perfect attendance when it comes to BSS live performances. He’s also been making music under his Apostle of Hustle banner since 2001.
Arts & Crafts: The label that started it all, founded by Kevin Drew, Jeffrey Remedios, and Daniel Cutler. Arts & Crafts, led by BSS and Feist, was at the centre of a local music scene that put Toronto on the global map for indie music, rivaling NYC for relevance in the 2000s.
Brendan Canning: Along with Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning is one of the founding members of Broken Social Scene. Canning often plays bass in the band but also rocks guitar on certain songs. Canning has released three solo records, including 2016’s Home Wrecking Years. He also has some of the best leg-kicks in the game.
Cause = Time: One of the singles off of You Forgot It In People stands among the band’s best material. The video, directed by George Vale and Kevin Drew, sees the latter performing in a gas mask while the rest of the band covers their heads with paper bags.
Charles Spearin: In the running for the best mustache in the band, Do Make Say Think co-founder Charles Spearin has been around since the Feel Good Lost days. OK, let’s just admit there’s no contest in the mustache department, Spearin owns it.
Darlings: The title of Kevin Drew’s second solo effort, released in March of 2014.
Do Make Say Think: Post-rock experimentalists DMST are led by BSS stalwart Charles Spearin. Their jamming style mixes jazzy drums, guitar, stings, and a variety of other instruments.
Emily Haines: Best known for her work as the singer, songwriter, and keyboardist with Metric, Emily Haines has lent her distinct vocal abilities to BSS songs such as “Anthems for a Seventeen-Year-Old Girl,” “Swimmers,” and “Sentimental X’s.”
Etobicoke School of the Arts: BSS members Kevin Drew, Emily Haines, and Amy Millan all cultivated their musical talents and friendships at this specialized arts high school in Toronto’s west end.
Feist: One the original members of Broken Social Scene, Leslie Feist has gone on to a successful solo career but still makes time to perform with BSS, doing so on several occasions over the years. Feist will appear on the forthcoming BSS record and is also releasing her latest LP Pleasure this April.
Field Trip: Back in 2013, Arts & Crafts launched Field Trip Arts & Crafts Music Festival to commemorate the label’s 10-year anniversary. Broken Social Scene headlined in Year One, again in 2014, and will back for the festival’s fifth year this June.
Forgiveness Rock Record: The title of the band’s fourth, and most recent (2010), full-length studio album. Forgiveness Rock Record was recorded in Chicago and was the first record since their debut to not be produced by Dave Newfeld. John McEntire, a member of the post-rock band Tortoise, picked up the producer credit here.
Geddy Lee: Iconic Rush frontman Geddy Lee made a cameo in the video for “Fire Eye’d Boy” from the band’s 2005 self-titled record.
Gold: Two Broken Social Scene albums have been cerftified Gold, eclipsing 50,000 unites sold/shipped, in Canada: You Forgot It In People and Broken Social Scene.
Half Nelson: Half Nelson, starring Ryan Gosling, was one of the most underrated films of 2006. It was also scored by Broken Social Scene and featured three of their songs on the official film soundtrack.
Handjobs for the Holidays: The song that ends the more experimental second act of the self-titled record, “Handjobs” is one of Brendan Canning’s best songs of his entire career, Broken Social Scene or otherwise.
Hug of Thunder: Broken Social Scene’s fifth record, and first since 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record. They literally got the band back together, as every member (all 15 of them) contributed to the album. It’s a welcome return that proves good things come to those who wait.
Ibi Dreams of Pavement: The title of the second song from the 2005 self-titled record, which is a reference to Canadian novelist and Etobicoke School of the Arts alumnus Ibi Kaslik.
Issac Brock: Modest Mouse frontman Issac Brock has been known to show up randomly to perform with BSS over the years. Here he is joining the band at a 2008 show at The Sound Academy (now REBEL) to play “The World at Large” from Modest Mouse’s 2004 release Good News for People Who Love Bad News.
Jeffrey Remedios: Former head of the label Arts & Crafts and now the head of Universal Music, Remedios was working at a major label when Kevin Drew decided to launch a label to release Broken Social Scene’s debut album.
Justin Peroff: Justin Peroff, born Justin Peter Papadimitriou is the drummer and a longtime member of Broken Social Scene.
Junos: Broken Social Scene have been nominated for five Juno Awards over the years, winning Alternative Album of the Year twice with You Forgot It In People (2003) and their self-titled record (2006).
KC Accidental: The name of the late-90s two-man outfit that consisted of Kevin Drew and Charles Spearin. Also the name of a BSS song off of You Forgot It In People.
Kevin Drew: The front man and co-founder of Broken Social Scene. Kevin Drew grew up just west of Toronto and started BSS with Brendan Canning in his early twenties. His solo efforts Spirit If and Darlings were both well received with critics and fans.
Lover’s Spit: This fan favourite from 2002’s You Forgot It In People has Leslie Feist singing about a meaningless sexual encounter with another person. However, fans have long speculated there are two meanings to “Lover’s Spit,” some saying it signifies the exchange of saliva from a kiss, while others believe it is the narrator describing an orgy happening around them while people perform oral sex.
Members: Broken Social Scene features many members…like all the members. Upwards of 25 people have contributed to the band in some capacity over the years.
Noise Factory Records: In 2001, Broken Social Scene only consisted of two members: Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning. The pair recorded and released their debut album Feel Good Lost on their first label before Arts & Crafts, Noise Factory Records. The album featured contributions by many artists including Justin Peroff, Leslie Feist, Charles Spearin and more, who would all later become full-time members.
Ohad Benchetrit: Multi-instrumentalist Ohad Benchetrit is a founding member of Do Make Say Thing, Brendan Canning’s band that preceded Broken Social Scene. Benchetrit was a contributor on BSS’s self-titled album.
Polaris Music Prize: Established in 2006, the Polaris Music Prize is awarded annually the Canadian full-length album deemed the best based on artistic merit. BSS has been nominated twice (2006, 2010) but the band has never won the award.
Queer as Folk: Showtime series Queer as Folk featured a scene where “Lover’s Spit” played as characters Brian and Justin repair their relationship in season three (2003). As far as we know this is the first use of a BSS song in a film or television show.
Reunion: Perhaps the only silver lining of Broken Social Scene going on hiatus: The eventual reunion.
Superconnected: There might not be a louder BSS song than “Superconnected.” Justin Peroff’s drumming drives this anthemic number from beginning to end.
Texico Bitches: The third single from 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record.
This Book is Broken: Published in 2009, This Book is Broken by former Eye Weekly editor Stuart Berman serves as a great document covering the band’s rise from arts high school pals to indie rock royalty.
This Movie is Broken: This 2010 film directed by Bruce McDonald is romantic tale/concert film hybrid. A young man attempts to woo a longtime crush as BSS plays an outdoor show at Harbourfront Centre.
Used to Be One of the Rotten Ones: “…and I liked you for that. Now you’re all gone, got your makeup on and you’re not coming back.”
Virgin Festival 2006: When UK electronic group Massive Attack’s U.S. Visas were denied, Broken Social Scene became the last minute replacements for their headlining set at Virgin Festival 2006, held at Toronto Islands Park.
Women: BSS is a band that features some of the strongest female musicians working in the industry. From newest member Ariel Engle to Emily Haines, Amy Millan, and of course, Feist. BSS is a band with some bad-ass ladies.
World Sick: The opening cut from Forgiveness Rock Record.
X’s, Sentimental: No, you’re reaching! “Sentimental X’s” is the only BSS song to feature Leslie Feist, Emily Haines, and Amy Millan on vocals together.
You Forgot It In People: The title of the record that changed the landscape of indie rock back in 2002.
Zoe Whittall: Canadian poet and novelist Zoe Whittall was one of 13 finalists in the 2013 Broken Social Scene short story contest. Whittall’s work inspired by they You Forgot It In People song “I’m Still Your Fag” was published as part of The Broken Social Scene Story Project: Short Works Inspired by You Forgot It in People.