Broken Social Scene's Agenda: Two LPs, Touring, Hating On Audioslave

Band is releasing two albums and a seven-song EP in next few months.

Broken Social Scene have a strained relationship with the road.

It pays the bills and keeps their ever-expanding membership fed, but the Toronto indie-rockers aren't exactly excited about heading out on tour this fall in support of their third album of new material, which is due October 4 and was originally titled Windsurfing Nation but is now a self-titled release.

"Just because you're a band doesn't mean you should be in a tour bus touring," bassist/singer Brendan Canning said. "It's fairly archaic, and there's a reason why someone like Tom Waits doesn't tour very much: It's slightly uncivilized."

The band is also somewhat resentful because its constant touring wreaked havoc with the recording of the follow-up to its 2002 breakthrough LP, You Forgot It in People. Regardless, the road-wary collective will embark on a 21-date North American trek that kicks off October 19 in Kingston, Ontario, and wraps up on November 18 in Winnipeg, Manitoba; December dates are expected to be added. Leslie Feist, a member of the sprawling band's extended family, will open up most dates and also sing with BSS.

After a recent appearance at Germany's Hurricane Festival, it seems likely that one act the rockers will never play with again is Audioslave. Canning said he was appalled by what he considered the band's pampered touring lifestyle. "Backstage, five [of their roadies] are on walkie-talkies going, 'There's a set list change! There's a set list change!' It's like, just cross out a song and put another one there."

"They're disgusting!" singer/guitarist Kevin Drew exclaimed. "[Audioslave singer Chris Cornell] makes you feel like an idiot for buying [Soundgarden's 1991 classic] Badmotorfinger." And what of Audioslave covering Rage Against the Machine songs? "Where's [Rage singer] Zack de la Rocha in all this?" Drew said. "Why is he not starting some charity movement to shut that sh-- down?"

However, the Social Scenesters have had issues of their own, not least how to package the 220 minutes of recently recorded material they've deemed worthy of release. A double album was discussed, but ultimately the band decided to release two separate albums (the second is slated for release next year — see Broken Social Scene's Hard Road To Windsurfing Nation). Just recently, another eleventh-hour decision was made: to include a seven-song EP entitled EP to Be You and Me with the first pressings of Broken Social Scene.

Though the band intentionally left single-worthy material off the noisy Broken Social Scene — an album Drew describes as an "ethereal, distorted garage-pop record; people are gonna think their speakers are busted" — the EP includes more direct material, including the vaguely political rocker "Canada vs. America"; the acoustic lullaby "All My Friends"; and a countrified, uptempo version of "Major Label Debut," a different rendition of which is on BSS.

The group made videos for six songs from People, and Drew — who directs the band's videos with filmmaker George Vale under the moniker the Experimental Parachute Moment — said he already has five clips in mind for songs from Broken, including "Superconnected"; the tentative first single, "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)," "7/4 (Shoreline)" and "Major Label Debut (Fast)" are also in contention.

Not that it really matters. "Singles don't really exist for our band, we don't live in that world," Drew shrugged. "You don't wanna open your live shows with [your equivalent of] of 'Detroit Rock City' every night, you know what I mean?"

EP to Be You and Me track list, according to the band's label:

  • "Her Disappearing Themes"
  • "Canada vs. America"
  • "Baroque Social"
  • "No Smiling Darkness/ Snake Charmers Association"
  • "All My Friends"
  • "Major Label Debut (Fast)"
  • "Feel Good Lost (Reprise)"
  • Broken Social Scene track list, according to the band's label:

  • "Our Faces Split the Coast in Half"
  • "Ibi Dreams of Pavement (A Better Day)"
  • "7/4 (Shoreline)"
  • "Finish Your Collapse and Stay for Breakfast"
  • "Major Label Debut"
  • "Fire Eye'd Boy"
  • "Windsurfing Nation"
  • "Swimmers"
  • "Hotel"
  • "Handjobs for the Holidays"
  • "Superconnected"
  • "Bandwitch"
  • "Tremoloa Debut"
  • "It's All Gonna Break"
  • Broken Social Scene tour dates, according to the band's label. (*Indicates dates with Feist.)

    • 10/19 - Kingston, ON @ Queens University
    • 10/20 - Ottawa, ON @ Capital Music Hall
    • 10/21 - Montreal, QC @ Metropolis
    • 10/22 - Boston, MA @ Avalon Ballroom *
    • 10/24 - Philadelphia, PA @ Theatre of Living Arts
    • 10/26 - Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
    • 10/27 - Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre *
    • 10/28 - Chicago, IL @ Cabaret Metro *
    • 10/29 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue *
    • 10/31 - Lawrence, KS @ Granada Theatre*
    • 11/1 - Boulder, CO @ Boulder Theatre *
    • 11/3 - Austin, TX @ Stubb's *
    • 11/4 - Dallas, TX @ Gypsy Ballroom *
    • 11/8 - Los Angeles, CA @ Henry Fonda Theatre *
    • 11/9 - San Francisco, CA @ Grand Ballroom *
    • 11/11 - Portland, OR @ Roseland Ballroom *
    • 11/12 - Seattle, WA @ Showbox *
    • 11/13 - Vancouver, BC @ Commodore Ballroom
    • 11/15 - Calgary, AB @ MacEwan Hall
    • 11/16 - Edmonton, AB @ Reds
    • 11/18 - Winnipeg, MB @ TBA