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Broken Social Scene's Family Tree

by Ryan Reed

Broken Social Scene's Family Tree

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When they first started out as Toronto indie-rock underdogs, the "Broken Social Scene" name seemed like a sardonic in-joke -- a winking nod to the elasticity of their sprawling lineup. But over the past decade-plus, the band (which has featured 20 or so members across four full-length albums) has indeed grown into a legitimate social scene -- a sort of sonic vacation for Canadian indie A-listers like Kevin Drew, Feist, Brendan Canning, Emily Haines and Amy Millan.

The beauty of B.S.S. is the band's messy democratic vibe: members swapping instruments and trading off vocal lines within massive musical tapestries. But Drew, the band's most consistent frontman, has always been the Scene's de facto leader, guiding their ambitious songs with his frayed tenor and highly emotional lyrics. With this week's release of his second solo album, the stripped-back Darlings, it's a perfect time to explore the larger world of Broken Social Scene: the various solo projects (Canning, Feist), one-off collaborations (Valley of the Giants), mainstay off-shoots (Stars, Metric, Apostle of Hustle) and, of course, some highlights from the supergroup itself.

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