During troubled times, Broken Social Scene spreads the love in Philly

Broken Social Scene | photo by Natalie Piserchio for WXPN |

“I believe in love, and that’s what we’ve always tried to do: Spread the love. It’s not a great day,” speaks Kevin Drew, co-founder of Canadian baroque-pop experimental musical group Broken Social Scene. “It’s a very hard time right now. Evil will always be in the room. But, we’ve gotta get together and we’ve gotta outshine it.”

“I didn’t think coming into this tour I’d be talking about love,” he continues. “I’m 41 years old, and I’ve gotten my ass kicked many times by my own heart. But, I believe in love, ladies and gentleman.”

Broken Social Scene began the encore of their show at The Fillmore on Monday referencing the series of violent and tragic events that occurred on Sunday, October 1st, 2017 in Las Vegas, where nearly 500 concert goers were injured and almost 60 died due to a gunman open-firing into a crowd at Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. The band then delved into a deeply intimate and emotional version of “Lover’s Spit”, before Kevin Drew entered the audience, front and center. “Let’s hug it out”, he says, mid-song, hugging fans and lending them the mic.

A certain connectedness was established, and it said one thing: we’re all in this together. Continue reading →


Tonight’s Concert Picks: Cult Objects at LAVA Space, Broken Social Scene at The Fillmore

Cult Objects | photo via

Cult Objects leapt onto the scene recently with a couple of demos on Bandcamp. The energetic punk four-piece played their first show just a few months ago and have been floating  around town ever since; they’ll be at LAVA Space tonight for a gig with Telepathic, Clasp and Weeping Icon. The Key recently dug up Cult Objects from the depths of Bandcamp for the Items Tagged Philadelphia series, and if you’re into finding new bands right as they’re just getting started, this is the show for you. Listen below, and find more information on tonight’s show here. Continue reading →


My Boo Boo: New Toro y Moi, Broken Social Scene & Beach House on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Toro Y Moi | Photo by Andrew Paynter, courtesy of the artist

The Indie Rock Hit Parade returns to (relative) normalcy tonight at 11pm on XPN. Shortly after the July edition of Making Time RADio with Dave P, listen for a full two-hour show that, let’s face it, will be anything but normal. We’ve got a few new releases to spotlight, namely Broken Social Scene‘s rousing Hug of Thunder, the return of Chaz B. as Toro y Moi on Boo Boo, and Beach House‘s career-spanning set of B-Sides and Rarities. Also in the mix, new singles from Ted Leo, Widowspeak, Frankie Rose, L.A. Witch and more! Preview some of the new tracks below…

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Hear Broken Social Scene’s eclectic and expansive new album, ‘Hug of Thunder’

Broken Social Scene | Courtesy of the artist

Broken Social Scene’s new LP, Hug of Thunder, is the album I didn’t know I needed. It’s eclectic, it’s thought-provoking, it’s dance-worthy, and as what you’d expect from a fifteen-piece group — yes, like a one and a five next to each other — it’s big.

No matter the tone of the tune, each song conjures up its own expansive, atmospheric flavor — fully immersing the listener in it’s individual world — while simultaneously connecting to a larger woven fabric of sound. Though Hug of Thunder isn’t officially released until the 7th, you can stream the album in full here thanks to our friends at NPR. Continue reading →


Dreams of Pavement: New Broken Social Scene, Japanese Breakfast and spotlight on CAN on the Indie Rock Hit Parade!

Broken Social Scene | Photo courtesy of the artist

On tonight’s Indie Rock Hit Parade, you’re going to hear some new things. That might not come as much of a surprise, but bear with me. The show starts at 11pm ET on XPN and will feature a whole bunch of newly released tracks, as you might expect. We’ll hear the latest from Broken Social Scene, Dent May, Saint Etienne and more. Then things get wild in the second hour.
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Recap: Broken Social Scene at The Mann Center

The challenges a venue like The Mann Center must contend with acoustically and otherwise are myriad. There’s the monumental, gaping ceiling, crisscrossed with spidery rafters; the oblong breaches in the structure’s sides that make it an open-air space; and, of course, the unpredictability of the forecast. Then there is the hugeness of the Center itself; unfilled, it seems like its pitched rows of bucket seats go on for miles. As the members of Broken Social Scene—opening for TV On The Radio—took the stage Friday night, the weather obliged with a clear, balmy evening. But their performance suffered due to a sparse crowd (“We could have done this at my house,” singer Kevin Drew said at one point) and poor sound.

Broken Social Scene kicked off the concert with “Cause=Time” and “Texico Bitches.” During the second song, Drew responded to an enthusiastic fan’s “I love you, Kevin!” by pulling him on stage and handing him a maraca. Later, Drew ended the show by singing a fragment of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” as an a cappella duet with the audience, a valiant attempt at conjuring a collective bond. It was as if he were determined to convert the cavernous Mann into a cozy club.

“All To All” and especially “Fire Eye’d Boy” were the most successful renditions of the night, taking full advantage of Broken Social Scene’s potential as a nine-piece that includes trombones, tambourines, violins, saxophones, and multiple vocalists. You’d think that the lengthy, baroque layers of BSS’ arrangements would lend themselves well to the Mann’s expanse, but on Friday the many moving parts were muddied. At times, witnessing the show from further back felt like being submerged in a puddle of sound, with shards of noise bouncing off every surface and in every direction in a way that was messy and overwhelming. “Meet Me In The Basement” and Modest Mouse cover “The World At Large” were less effective because of this. On “Major Label Debut,” one of the strongest tracks off 2005’s Broken Social Scene, Drew’s crisp voice was stifled and suppressed by the spiraling echoes.

Its setting is perhaps the Mann’s best asset. With sloping, manicured green lawns, pools of yellow light trapped under dark trees, and a postcard-perfect view of the city skyline, it boasts the kind of backdrop that most shows can’t hope to match. Despite the low attendance and the murky mix, Broken Social Scene delivered a set that embraced both the location and the moment.


Weekend Picks: TV On The Radio + Broken Social Scene at The Mann Center, Peter Bjorn And John at The Trocadero

Though the members of Broken Social Scene resist the term “super-group,” they’re the closest thing contemporary indie-rock has to a Traveling Wilburys-type meeting of the minds. Founded and driven by Kevin Drew, Broken Social Scene has at various times included Feist, Amy Millan (of Stars), and Emily Haines and James Shaw (of Metric)—part of an ever shrinking and expanding line-up. The band has had incarnations both as an intimate quartet and as a stage-filling 19-member troupe. Broken Social Scene’s latest album, 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, continues the tradition built by previous records: layered songs about heartbreak, this time with a cohesiveness that was missing in earlier releases. Broken Social Scene performs with TV On The Radio at 7:30 p.m. at The Mann Center; tickets to the all-ages show are $25–$39.50. —Kiley Bense

Also playing: Steely Dan at Tower Theatre (8 p.m., $76–$429); Lightninging + Tutlie, Your Electric Instinct, Study Electricity at Kung Fu Necktie (7 p.m., 21+, $8); These United States + Southeast Engine, Goodnight Lights at Johnny Brenda’s (9:15 p.m., 21+, $10); Two Door Cinema Club + Bombay Bicycle Club, The Lonely Forest (7:30 p.m., $33.25)

Although Peter, Bjorn and John joined the ranks of famous whistlers such as Beck, Bowie, and Axl Rose with the song “Young Folks” back in 2006, the band’s 2011 tour is centered around a different type of crowd pleaser: food. To promote PB&J’s sixth and latest album, Gimme Some, the band is offering giveaways from food trucks throughout the country. Sadly, Philadelphia is not one of the chosen cities. (At least you can still trudge over to the Wawa around the corner from The Trocadero for a hoagie.) The band is currently dealing with other tour issues, having to cancel two recent gigs due to drummer John Eriksson’s case of rotators-cuff tendinitis. According to a recent post on the band’s blog, Eriksson can’t lift his right arm. No news yet on whether tonight’s WXPN Welcomes show will be canceled as well—but fingers crossed Eriksson’s arm will be up and running well enough to play the album’s fast-paced (if whistle-less) tunes. Peter Bjorn And John performs with Memoryhouse and Work Drugs at 9 p.m. at The Trocadero; tickets to the all-ages show are $18.50–$21. —Marielle Mondon

Also playing: Steely Dan at Tower Theatre (8 p.m., $76–$429); NewVillager + Coup Couroux (7:30 p.m., 21+, $12); The Early November at Electric Factory (7 p.m., SOLD OUT)

Kid Dynamite + No Friends, Spraynard at First Unitarian Church (5 p.m., all ages, SOLD OUT); Grave Babies + Xray Eyeballs, Moon Women at Danger Danger Gallery (8 p.m., all ages, $5–$10)