Metric are a Canadian rock band founded in 1998 in Toronto. The band consists of Emily Haines (lead vocals, synthesizers, guitar, tambourine, harmonica, piano), James Shaw (guitar, synthesizers, theremin, backing vocals), Joshua Winstead (bass, synthesizers, backing vocals) and Joules Scott-Key
(drums, percussion). The band started in 1998 as a duo formed by Haines
and Shaw with the name "Mainstream". After releasing an EP titled
Mainstream EP, they changed the band's name to Metric, after a sound
that was programmed by Shaw on his keyboard. In 2001, Winstead and
Scott-Key joined them.
Their first official studio album, Old World Underground, Where Are You
Now?, was released on September 2, 2003. It was followed by Live It Out,
released on October 4, 2005. The album was nominated for the 2006
Polaris Music Prize for the "Canadian Album of the Year" and for the
2006 Juno Awards for "Best Alternative Album". Their third studio album,
Grow Up and Blow Away, was recorded in 2001 and it was initially
planned as their debut album. The album was delayed for many years and
it was finally released on June 26, 2007, with some changes to the track
list. Some songs were also slightly reworked.
Metric's fourth album Fantasies was released on April 7, 2009. It was
shortlisted for the 2009 Polaris Music Prize for "Canadian Album of the
Year", and won the "Alternative Album of the Year" at the 2010 Juno
Awards. Metric won as well in 2010 "Group of the Year". The fifth Metric
studio album, Synthetica, was released on June 12, 2012. The band won
two awards at 2013 Juno Awards: "Alternative Album of the Year" for
Synthetica and "Producer of the Year" for James Shaw. The art
director/designer/photographer Justin Broadbent also won an award for
"Recording Package of the Year" for Synthetica. Metric's sixth album,
Pagans in Vegas, was released on September 18, 2015.
In 2003, Metric released their first official studio album Old World
Underground, Where Are You Now? on Last Gang Records. The album was
produced by Michael Andrews and it was recorded at Elgonix Labs, Los
Angeles, USA. Old World Underground, Where Are You Now? received
generally positive reviews. As of 12 December 2005, the album has gone
gold in Canada.
The songs "Combat Baby" and "Dead Disco" were released as singles.
"Combat Baby" was featured as a free single on iTunes in 2004. Six music
videos were created to promote the album and accompany "Calculation
Theme", "IOU", "Combat Baby", "Succexy", and "Dead Disco" respectively.
Metric was featured as themselves in the 2004 independent French film,
Clean, directed by Olivier Assayas and starring Maggie Cheung. The band
performed the song "Dead Disco" in the film and also acted in a short
sequence. The film was nominated for the Palme D'Or award at the Cannes
Film Festival. The soundtrack also features songs by Brian Eno, Daniel
Lanois, Emily Haines, Metric and Tricky.
Metric's music style has been described as indie rock and alternative
rock, with elements of new wave, post-punk revival, synthpop,
dance-rock. Sounds generated by synthesizers are prominent in their
Their sound evolved from the mellow/downtempo style of their early EPs
and Grow Up and Blow Away album, to the new wave style of Old World
Underground, Where Are You Now?, then more hard rock on Live It Out,
then to the accessible indie rock of Fantasies, and finally to the more
electronic Synthetica. Some of their songs (like "IOU", "Succexy",
"Combat Baby", "Monster Hospital") include anti-war messages.
The band also recorded many covers from artists like Bob Dylan, Pink
Floyd, Pet Shop Boys, The Church, Death from Above 1979, Brenda Lee, Tom
Waits, Neil Young, Blondie, The Strokes, Morrissey and Elliott Smith.
They also released many acoustic versions of some of their own songs on
deluxe versions of some of their albums.