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Broken Social Scene: Forgiveness Rock Record

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Artist: Broken Social Scene

Title: Forgiveness Rock Record
Release date: May 4
Label: Arts & Crafts

We just entered our fifth month here at "Nothing Not New" -- just under eight months to go on this yearlong new-music journey. I'm a couple of days late on this, but I have to give you my top 10 songs from the previous month. 

Here goes (in no particular order):

1. Holly Golightly and the Brokeoffs: "Murder in My Mind"
2. Harlan T. Bobo: "Drink"
3. Murder by Death: "King of the Gutters, Prince of the Dogs"
4. Dum Dum Girls: "Bhang Bhang Burnout"
5. Unnatural Helpers: "Claim It Mine"
6. Black Francis: "Six-Legged Man"
7. Frightened Rabbit: "Nothing Like You"
8. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings: "Money"
9. MGMT: "Flash Delirium"
10. Harlem: "Torture Me"

Broken Social Scene - Sweetest Kill by i.nspiration

Today, I listened to Broken Social Scene, a collective of musicians that, to me, was indie rock personified. I didn't expect to like their record. But BSS won me over with Forgiveness Rock Record, a sprawling, lush, romantic, hour-long collection of disparate sounds and styles. I bitched and moaned a few times on this blog about acts that think they can get away with records that are an hour or more. In this case, the protracted length of Forgiveness works to the band's advantage.

Why? It gives BSS the opportunity to show off all the genre-hopping tricks in their bag. And, believe me, there are a lot of them -- yet the band can pull off each of them with, seemingly, the greatest of ease. Whether it's '80s dance pop ("All to All") or sweater-wearing indie pop ("Texico Bitches") or synth workouts ("Meet Me in the Basement") or Luna-esque droners ("Sentimental X's") or Pavement-y rockers ("Water in Hell"), Broken Social Scene is a band in full command of its substantial powers.

In fact, each of the 14 songs sounds quite a bit a different from than the next. In many cases, I would find that kind of sonic patchwork to be off-putting, but on Forgiveness Rock Record, it works like a charm.

Best songs: "Sentimental X's" and "Water in Hell." Astonishingly, for a 14-song record, there really is no filler on Forgiveness Rock Record.
Rotation: Medium-heavy
Deja vu: Yo La Tengo at their peak. That would be 1997, of course.
I'd rather listen to: Yo La Tengo at their peak.
Grade: A-

"Nothing Not New" is a yearlong project in which New Times editorial operations manager Jay Bennett, a 40-year-old music fan and musician, will listen only to music released in 2010. Each Monday through Friday, he will listen to one new record (no best ofs, reissues, or concert recordings) and write about it. Why? Because in the words of his editor, Martin Cizmar, he suffers from "aesthetic atrophy," a wasting away of one's ability to embrace new and different music as one ages. Read more about this all-too-common ailment here.

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