Old Dead Young (B-Sides & Rarities)
You’d expect a band as willfully eclectic and exploratory as Broken Social Scene to have amassed a healthy amount of outtakes, discarded experiments, and cutting-room-floor curios. But the rarities compilation Old Dead Young reveals just how many ready-made anthems-in-waiting were kept off their proper albums and consigned to obscure limited releases or buried altogether. Spanning the Toronto ensemble’s first two decades, Old Dead Young showcases BSS in all their classic modes: the ’90s indie rock loyalists (“Do the 95,” the title track), the island-bound daydreamers (an embryonic acoustic version of “National Anthem of Nowhere” that guitarist Andrew Whiteman later retooled for his Apostle of Hustle project), and the mad studio scientists (“Stars and Spit,” a playful tape-splicing mash-up of the You Forgot It in People standards “Stars and Sons” and “Lover’s Spit”). And of course, it wouldn’t be a proper BSS album without a climactic, brass-gilded moment of emotional release, and Old Dead Young doesn’t disappoint in that department—even if its marquee ballad bears the title of “Death Cock” and finds frontman Kevin Drew weeping about accidentally killing his pet gerbil.