fizzing skyline: Broken Social Scene and Thee More Shallows
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Broken Social Scene - "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Half)". Not since The Arcade Fire's "Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)" have I heard a song so triumphant, so boldly blazing. Certainly the best song Broken Social Scene have ever recorded and, if it weren't for Okkervil River's "For Real", a shoe-in for rock song of the year. The band's pedigree is perfectly manifested, from the blooms of post-rock sturm to the sinew of the melody; it's a wild stir of swirling noise, Leslie Feist calling from the very back, Kevin Drew's [?] voice stretched till it's windy, till it's a whipping Christo-canvas across the horizon. Their confidence is sick, their execution faultless. With all its psychedelic swirls, its battery of drums - not to mention the false ending and towering final climax, - "Ibi Dreams of Pavement" seems almost supersaturated with ideas, and it's a testament to the band (and to producer Dave Neufeld) that things knit so seamlessly together.

As for the subject matter, well, who knows! I've not heard any references to the band Pavement, but perhaps you'll better me. In the meantime I'll imagine the title as a reference to the pavement you meet when you're shot right in the fa-ace and no one's there. I hear Do Make Say Think, though, Sigur Ros and yeah The Arcade Fire. I hear hard psych and floppy-eared pop, I hear a blurring bundle of words that's there to declaim an absence and to long for a presence. I hear hope and excitement, an overture for the lifting of a curtain. I hear a song I want to hear again. I hear a song I want to hear again. I hear- Well, go on, listen! (Loud!)

(I've gotta say, too, that I can't really believe how excellent Broken Social Scene is. For some reason I thought it would be dull and jammy rehash of the last one, but lo and behold it's got so much zing and pow, so much forcefulness. "Ibi" leads right into "Shorelines", a doublepunch of pop, and things extend from here. Neufeld's done a remarkable job, again, sewing it all together, and despite the weaknesses of the respective Feist, Jason Collett, Metric and Apostle of Hustle records, this here is a cohesive gem. It joins Herman Dune, Final Fantasy, Okkervil River and Robyn as an album-of-the-year contender.)

[pre-order for the October 11 4 release (with bonus EP!)]

Thee More Shallows - "Walk of Shame". It's three years since I first heard Thee More Shallows. Back then, they had only recently gained the "Thee". Today, they're not just more comfortable with their own name - they seem much more comfortable with the music they're making, with their own voice. This confidence means that they can let plain things be plain, and they can let dazzling things dazzle. On "Walk of Shame" the plain thing is the song, the thump and brush of drums, the tender (late) Yo La Tengo tone. And the dazzle is in the final minute's swoop of viola. The song shimmers, it pitter-pats, but it doesn't move much - it seems frozen, paralyzed - until that viola at the end. Then there's the simplest of codas, the bringing together of disparate strands, a small knot, and there there, it's done.

[More Deep Cuts is out now -- buy (more mp3s at that link)]

Do tell me what you think of these - your opinions matter like crazy.

Posted by Sean at September 15, 2005 3:00 AM

The BSS album is actually going to be released on October 4th. I can't wait! I held out on the leak so I won't be spoiled by it, but since I already have 7/4, I'll just download this song for another little sneak preview. Thanks Sean! :)

Posted by camillia at September 15, 2005 3:42 AM

I dunno about the pavement part, but I guess Ibi refers to Ibi Kaslik?

Posted by mar at September 15, 2005 10:01 AM

What more is there to say about BSS than amazing? And thanks for TMS, I've just recently heard of them and am going to snag their record the next chance I get.

Posted by Kate at September 15, 2005 10:12 AM

Wow, that BSS song is good. I mean scary good! How is this band not on every radio station's playlist throughout the country???

Posted by Chris at September 15, 2005 11:02 AM

BSS played this BRILLANT tune and Bluesfest. It blew my mind then, as it blows it now.

Posted by Robin at September 15, 2005 12:21 PM

i don't know about the subject matter, but it sounds to me exactly like slanted & enchanted, from the drumming to the mess of guitars to the vocal delivery. maybe that's what the title refers to.

Posted by tom thumb at September 15, 2005 12:31 PM

thee more shallows are a "yes" in this book.


Please retype this six-digit security number*:


Posted by k at September 15, 2005 12:53 PM

Threw me around and left me for dead. (hot hot hot)

Posted by Tuwa at September 15, 2005 1:45 PM

You think this is the best song they've ever recorded? Well, you can... but I don't even see it as the best on the album. Are you sure you've fully appreciated Windsurfing Nation, or (my tops) Hotel?

The drums recorded on this album are incredibly fresh, and the guitar has juuust the right amount of distortion to clash with Leslie's voice. Love it

Posted by lanewhat at September 15, 2005 5:16 PM

You are right Sean. But it doesn't pump me as hard as KC Accidental. But then again I never get pumped that hard. I would like to hear what you think of Ninja High School, if you've gotten their new full length, that is.

Posted by Roger at September 15, 2005 8:08 PM

Just to sort of second what lanewhat said...I feel like Windsurfing Nation is the best track off of this album. 1 minute and 25 seconds into that song when Kevin Drew proclaims, "All they want is a feeling," I can almost feel the wind on my face and the surfboard at my feet. It's brief moment of unbridled freedom before you have to come back to reality.

Posted by MilesSmiles at September 15, 2005 11:34 PM

thee more shallows rule and that song rules

Posted by Nathan at September 16, 2005 9:33 AM

oh my good lord this bss song is great. so big. so very big.

Posted by JEFF at September 16, 2005 11:17 AM

OK, I probably shouldn't try to discern what the lyrics of a BSS song are in general but did anyone else hear him say "I saw a desert turn into ra-ain!" at the beginning of the 2nd verse? Maybe that's not it but for some reason, that lyric is amazing, as the rest of the song is...

Posted by chris at September 16, 2005 12:20 PM

"For some reason I thought it would be dull and jammy rehash of the last one" ...if you ask me, that's exactly what it is. Actually, it's not even good enough to be called a rehash of You Forgot It In People. Disappointment of the decade.

Posted by Yancy at September 16, 2005 4:15 PM

wow, what a comment journey. like a comment's tail. from love to hate. quite the gamut, this song running.

Something need be stated; can we all agree on 'for real' as the best rock song of the year, as this essay also claims? I'll second that notion. Black Sheep Boy is a brilliant record, and 'for real' has devious hooks coupled with poignant romance.

Posted by joe chip at September 17, 2005 3:09 AM

I really like the Thee More Shallows song. It's beautiful.

Posted by Tigermilk at September 17, 2005 8:30 AM

The BSS was all right, but the TMS was really good. I enjoyed that more than many of the other songs you post (not to say that they aren't good, of course; it's why I keep reading STG :)

Posted by Elenuial at September 18, 2005 7:01 PM

Considering the Pavement, this song really sounds like a mesh of early Pavement songs. It seems IBI actually dreamt about Pavement. You like this song, go buy early Pavement.

Posted by Toni at September 19, 2005 2:07 PM

Yeah, Ibi is Ibi Kaslik. See here.

"Kaslik's chops as a poet (she has an MA in Creative Writing from Concordia) apparently haven't ghettoized her. On Skinny's acknowledgements page, she thanks no less than three Canadian bands du jour (Metric, Broken Social Scene and The Stars), and at both her Toronto and Montreal launches, she sang her own songs, backed by sundry members of the latter two bands."

Posted by Simon Kornblith at September 24, 2005 10:12 AM

I liked Ibi (although I was puzzled by it's placement in the album - it sounds like a great finish to an album), but I'm not sure that it stands out as much as It's All Gonna Break, which captured so much more energy and emotion. In any case, it's difficult to take any song out of the album's context, since the whole thing fits together rather well.

Posted by Chris at October 15, 2005 4:09 AM

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

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