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QUICK SPINS: Broken Social Scene, Canasta

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 14, 2010 4:40PM

In which we take a quick look at a few recent musical releases.

Broken Social Scene
Forgiveness Rock Record

2010_05_bss.jpg When all the components that make up Broken Social Scene come together, as they did in a field lit by the waning sun at Lollapalooza in 2006, the results are so magical they threaten to elicit tears. The group's albums have always been finely constructed paeans to ye olden days of indie rock, though, and the magic the live setting can convey was never really captured. Until now.

Forgiveness Rock Record takes all of Broken Social Scene's tropes -- the interlocking guitars, the complicated but completely separated drumming, the dreamy vocals, the uncanny ability to make Feist's voice not be annoying -- and weaves them into a near perfect whole. On past albums bandleaders Kevin Drew and Brendan Canning obscured the band's penchant for tunefulness with at times treble shredding production or other sonic obfuscations; employing the usual crutches indie rock groups ashamed of writing a hook will hide behind. On the new album Broken Social Scene embraces their inner beauty and builds upon it to build stratospheric sonic constructs of stunning beauty.

Broken Social Scene plays the Pitchfork Music Festival on July 16

The Fakeout, The Tease And The Breather

2010_05_canasta.jpg When local orch-poppers Canasta released We Were Set Up in 2005 the Chicago music scene was chokes with similar sounding bands, and while that album was a solid one it ultimately blended in with the quilt stitched together by like-minded groups at the time. Five years have passed since then and it would appear the band spent the bulk of that time refining their sound and perfecting their craft, resulting in the recent release of the stunning The Fakeout, The Tease And The Breather.

Their sophomore effort finds Canasta mastering their craft to create a sonically and emotionally compelling collection of new songs. Matt Priest's confessionals in the opening track "Becoming You" bounces from admissions of his acceptance that he's never going to embrace the manly things other boys do, but he's going to do his best to be aware when he's being a total asshole to the girl he loves. As a narrative outside the song's construct we can forgive you for reading that as a bit precious, but his delivery, buried in a lovely and luscious sonic bed, absolutely works. After that the album leaps into group sing-alongs, triumphant epics, and tender lows. What it doesn't do is fall into the same trap most orch-pop does and turn into the equivalent of a pleasant wallpaper fading into the backrground. It took a while, but we're glad the band put the five years between albums to such great use.

Canasta plays a FREE in-store on Sunday, May 16, at Reckless Records, 3126 N Browadway