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Metric exhales

Toronto-based indie rockers return to Whistler to promote new Fantasies album, at TWSSF

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Who: Metric

When: Friday, April 24

Where: Main Stage, Skiers Plaza

Cost: Free!

Guitarist Jimmy Shaw is a classically trained musician and one of the original members of Metric, which he founded with singer Emily Haines, back in 1998.

While Juilliard may seem miles away from Metric's eclectic sound, Shaw and Haines didn't set out to make obscure music, they just wanted to get to people. And they've done that. It just took a while to figure out how.

"When Emily and I first met the idea was, 'let's make music that is for everyone, but is really, really good. Let's be the really good thing on the radio, because for the most part, radio sucks.'"

When the group first started out, they were slightly ahead of the curve, being among the few artists that embraced technology and opted to make their music available via the web to build a solid fan base.

"I know that there is a negative side of it for other artists because everyone's set up is kind of different and everyone's business is set up differently, and everyone wants different things out of what they do in music," Shaw said.

But since digital media has come to dominate the music industry, through sites like MySpace, et al, music has been made more accessible to the masses. And in some ways, Shaw argues, it's also made the industry more democratic, because it isn't just up to one A&R guy to "discover" artists.

"There are more bands than ever, there are more ways to get their music out to fans, and it's like someone can record a song in their bedroom for 10 bucks, put it up on MySpace for nothing and have 100,000 fans overnight if the music is really good."

Now, they've released four full-length records, including their most recent, Fantasies , which debuted at the beginning of April. This new 10-track album has a definitively different, more cohesive sound than the group's past three full-length albums - think disco meets psychedelia, rock and dance.

And so far, the response to that new sound has been extremely positive.

"It just kind of seems in some way that all the little pieces of Metric that we've been sort of waiting for, like a Connect Four game... somehow all the chips just dropped and there's some serious synchronicity happening right now," Shaw said.

The Toronto-based foursome seems to have hit its stride, but it didn't come without a slight hiccup along the way.

Back in March '08, Haines was playing a solo show in Toronto when suddenly, 40 minutes into her set, she decided she simply couldn't play any more sad music. So she stopped.

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