K.C. Accidental: Before Broken Social Scene

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An early glimpse at what would become a big band, "Them (Pop Song #3333)" sounds approachable and introspective. i

An early glimpse at what would become a big band, "Them (Pop Song #3333)" sounds approachable and introspective. Courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption Courtesy of the artist
An early glimpse at what would become a big band, "Them (Pop Song #3333)" sounds approachable and introspective.

An early glimpse at what would become a big band, "Them (Pop Song #3333)" sounds approachable and introspective.

Courtesy of the artist

Tuesday's Pick

Song: "Them (Pop Song #3333)"

Artist: K.C. Accidental

CD: Captured Anthems for an Empty Bathtub/Anthems for the Could've Bin Pills

Genre: Rock

Listening to music from early in an artist's career is a lot like rereading a favorite book or re-watching a great television show from the beginning: Knowing where the plot and characters end up can shed light on how the writer was introducing threads that would pay off later. Hearing a musician's first conceptions can provide an instructive lesson in the creative process and the drastic differences between finished work and early incarnations. But you also get to look for clues to where the story was going all along, even if the musicians didn't quite know it yet.

Such is the case for K.C. Accidental, an early ambient recording project of Kevin Drew and Charles Spearin, who went on to (spoiler alert!) form the sprawling indie-rock collective Broken Social Scene. The duo put out two well-liked albums, 1998's Captured Anthems for an Empty Bathtub and 2000's Anthems for the Could've Bin Pills, both of which include now-familiar faces such as Jason Collett, Emily Haines, Evan Cranley, James Shaw and Justin Peroff. But until this fall's reissue collection, the records have been somewhat difficult to find.

K.C. Accidental plays low-key post-rock instrumentals and ebullient pastorals — recalling the work of Explosions in the Sky or Tortoise from the late '90s — that are all about introspection and sense of place. In "Them (Pop Song #3333)," Drew and Spearin fill their palette with a rapturous array of guitars and keyboards, all washed out with minimalist electronic flourishes that flavor the music with wistful undertones. And with vocals from Kevin Drew and Emily Haines, "Them" is K.C. Accidental's most approachable if not commercial song.

Listening now, it's hard not to think of this music as an unfinished pilot for Broken Social Scene. The pieces are all there — the soaring melodies, the immersive ambiance — though not all fully formed; it's hard not to wait for lyrics that rarely come or song structures to coalesce. But with the benefit of hindsight, K.C. Accidental's two gorgeous, inventive records provide a clear window into what Drew and company would later accomplish.

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Anthems for the Could've Bin Pills

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Album
Anthems for the Could've Bin Pills
Artist
K.C. Accidental
Label
Orchard
Released
2000

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