Local Wire


Everyone from Alec Baldwin and Eddie Vedder to film director Robert Altman threatened to leave the country if George W. Bush was elected, but only got as far as backpedaling. But Emily Haines and James Shaw of the neo-New Wave band Metric actually vamoosed to Canada on the eve of Election Night 2004. Okay, so it was their original home base -- it's the gesture that's important! Anti-Dubya animus might make people take the new single's chorus ("I fought the war and the war won") too literally, but "Monster Hospital" is actually about surviving the record industry. Metric's got more than enough ammo for that, with Haines, a sardonic and sweet lead singer not unlike Nina Persson of the Cardigans, counterbalanced with a band that switches from assault to ambient at the drop of a plectrum, as on the Sonic Youth-inspired "Empty." Other faves from Metric's jinx-free sophomore album Live It Out: "Poster of a Girl," which breaks into French like two of the best Blondie singles did, and "Handshakes," a rat race dissertation that finds Haines wondering if the vicious circle begins when you "Buy this car to drive to work" or you "drive to work to pay for this car."