Broken Social Scene Chugs Along On New CD

"Mainly, we're just trying to see between the 15 or 20 songs we have, what is the record?," bassist/guitarist Brendan Canning tells

Toronto-based rock outfit Broken Social Scene is in the home stretch of work on its third studio album, due in late March or early April via the band's own Arts & Crafts label. "Mainly, we're just trying to see between the 15 or 20 songs we have, what is the record?," bassist/guitarist Brendan Canning tells "It seems like it's a long way away right now, but it should be done by the end of the year."

Among the tracks likely to make the final cut are "Handjobs for the Holidays," "Shoreline," "It's All Gonna Break" (which dates back to sessions for the acclaimed 2002 album "You Forgot It in People") and "Superconnected," which Canning describes as a "wall-of-guitar, pretty rockin' little tune." But pinning down what direction the album will ultimately take is proving difficult to describe.

"Originally, the album was going to be titled 'Windsurfing Nation' because we had all these kind of glidey songs," Canning says with a chuckle. "But I don't know if that's a good title or not. It's a funny title at the very least."

"It seems a little heavier on the horns, just because we've been touring with a horn section and have really locked into something with them," he continues. "A couple of the horn arrangements really lean into [Burt] Bacharach territory."

What's mainly left to finish are a few guitar takes and the vocals, which will be shared between Canning and group members Kevin Drew, Emily Haines and Andrew Whiteman. "We're trying to get Amy [Milan] from [Toronto rock act] Stars, because she hasn't actually recorded with the band even though she's been touring with us for a year or a year-and-a-half," Canning says.

In the meantime, BSS is gearing up for its most extensive European tour to date, which begins Nov. 16 in Madrid and wraps Dec. 10 in Brussels. But with its members currently on the road with various side projects, there may only be one day of rehearsal available before the group heads abroad.

"When you haven't played for awhile, it's like, 'Oh my God. Can we pull this together?,'" Canning says. "I was at Interpol the other night and was thinking, are we better than this group? Are we going to sell records? Your mind can really play tricks on you." To keep busy, Canning and Drew will play a one-off show Sunday (Oct. 17) at Toronto's Drake Hotel, opening for Juana Molina.

Once back from Europe, BSS will head straight to New York to open a Dec. 14 show for the Pixies at Hammerstein Ballroom. The group will then play its own headlining show the next night at the more intimate Bowery Ballroom.

"We have to drive down to New York, so we figured if we went all that way, we could play our own show," Canning says. "This will generate a little bit of scratch for everybody's Christmas presents."

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