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Metric [rank: 97]

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Jul 12 2010 Jul 12 2010

"Metric's 2003 debut, OLD WORLD UNDERGROUND, WHERE ARE YOU NOW?, was a statement of both resignation and resurrection: when the underground you once romanticized has given way to pre-fab Rebellion™, grab a shovel and start digging your own subterranean sanctuary. But spend enough time down and out of sight and you start feeling the need to come up for air. And when Metric did just that after a year of ceaseless, club-by-club conversions, they were confronted with a strangely beautiful sight: a crowd of people looking right back at them. The very fashionistas and consumerists they slyly satirized in songs like "Dead Disco," "Combat Baby" and "The List" were singing along with them. And it felt good.

That's the funny thing about the never-ending battle between pop and art - the goalposts keep changing. And for Metric's Emily Haines (vocals/synths), Jimmy Shaw (guitar), Josh Winstead (bass) and Joules Scott-Key (drums), the most exciting thing is being able to play for both sides. Over the course of 2004-05, Metric were everywhere, from MTV and commercial rock radio to French art-house cinemas (the band made a show-stopping cameo in Oliver Assayas' 2004 junkie drama CLEAN); depending on the night, you could find Emily playing sombre solo piano shows in churches, or diving off the stage at Toronto's Mod Club Theatre, where Metric played an unprecedented four sold-out nights in a row in January '05. This is a band comfortable making music for both the misfits as the masses.

'I get freaked out by numbers, and the idea that if your audience grows, suddenly it's going to be a bunch of frat boys,' Emily admits. 'But more and more I just feel like those judgments about types of people and their musical tastes are ringing untrue to me. There are lot of people who would love to listen to Feist in the morning and Death from Above on a Friday night. People don't like music according to a type.'

After spending much of the past two years in the company of strangers across North America, Europe and Japan, Metric retreated back to the comfort of friends and family. Since Jimmy and Emily first began collaborating seven years ago, their list of hometowns has become almost as well-known as their repertoire (for those following along at home: Toronto, Montreal, London, Brooklyn, Toronto again, and then Los Angeles for the recording of OLD WORLD UNDERGROUND). But by the end of 2004, Metric realized that everything they were searching for could be found in their original home base of Toronto: a wellspring of moral support (most notably from their childhood friends in Broken Social Scene and Stars), a culturally inspiring community and, of course, affordable rent."

[reproduced or excerpted from band website linked above]

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