Metric Touring with Imagine Dragons, Releases Pagan Portal

Metric Touring with Imagine Dragons, Releases Pagan Portal

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Photo: Norman Wong
Photo: Norman Wong

Friday Metric launched The Pagan Portal, a free app featuring advance access to new music from their upcoming album Pagans in Vegas, due out September 18. The app is available for download on IOS/Apple and Android platforms here and will allow fans to unlock streams of songs from the band’s upcoming album well before the music can be heard anywhere else. Users of the app may also receive occasional notifications regarding special announcements and access to perks such as pre-sale tickets, contest opportunities, discounts and more.

The Pagan Portal contains unlocked streams of previously released singles, “The Shade” and “Cascades,” from the upcoming LP. A new song, “Too Bad, So Sad,” is now exclusively available in the app. A stream of each of the remaining tracks from the new album will be unlocked on undisclosed dates leading up to the album release in September.

“This is actually the second app we have designed. Our first was our Synthetica app, which we made with the creator of Bjork’s Biophilia app,” said frontwoman Emily Haines. “It allowed people to experiment with different visual and sonic effects, it was really unusual and I loved it. We got over 100,000 downloads in the first two weeks but it had no enduring function once you’d played around with all the features, which made it feel disposable. So this time we wanted to make something that would serve as a dedicated platform with a life of its own, a way to reward our biggest fans with first access to everything new we create in the future. Right now it’s all about unveiling Pagans in Vegas and giving our listeners a chance to hear that music before anyone else, but our intention is for it to evolve well beyond that. I imagine The Pagan Portal being the place where we preview all of our new music first.”

NPR Music’s First Watch debuted Metric’s video for “Cascades,” calling it “a light show in song form.” Watch the video on NPR Music here and share via YouTube or SoundCloud. The Shade EP includes “Cascades” alongside first single “The Shade,” additional album track “Too Bad, So Sad” and exclusive bonus track “Office Towers Escalate.” This special, limited edition, autographed cassette tape will be offered throughout the summer exclusively on tour and from the band’s website, while supplies last.

The LP is set for release via the band’s own label MMI and is available for pre-order on iTunes with an instant download of “Cascades” and “The Shade.” Physical and digital pre-order packages are available on the band’s website including a variety of exclusive, limited edition and autographed items. Metric is also currently on tour with Imagine Dragons with headlining dates coming soon – see the full tour itinerary and track listing below.

Pagans in Vegas will be the first of two albums from Metric with the second album expected in 2016. Their time spent writing in 2014 – guitarist/producer James Shaw at his studio in Toronto, delving into the CS80 synth and front woman Haines with acoustic instruments in Nicaragua and Spain – yielded an unprecedented amount of material that revealed itself across at least two major musical veins. Realizing they had composed enough music for two very different albums, they decided to let each collection of songs stand on their own. More details on the second release will be announced in due course.

The new album is packed with reverent references to artists who’ve inspired them, from Depeche Mode, New Order, The Cure and Underworld, all the way back to Kraftwerk. Haines explained that it was about finding “the romance of another time without falling into nostalgia.” This concept is encapsulated on the album cover, which features a shot of Memphis’ Hotel Chisca, the spot where Elvis Presley did his first broadcast interview.

“The songs that made it onto Pagans in Vegas weren’t written with an overarching concept in mind,” said Shaw.

Synthetica was about the battle between what’s human, what’s artificial and integrating technology into our lives,” explained Haines. “With this record we were making music for the joy of it…we tried to be as bold as possible,” says Shaw, “all we want is to feel like all we got didn’t cost us everything, even if we never win.” Of the album’s title, Shaw sees it as an apt meditation on “people with a conscience, for better or worse, playing around in the arena of unconscionable behavior.”

Metric – Haines, Shaw, Joules Scott Key and Joshua Winstead – self-released their last two albums on five continents and have gone on to sell millions of records worldwide. In 2009, Metric became the first band in history to have their first ever Top 20 hit at U.S. commercial radio without the backing of a traditional label. Their most recent releases earned multiple Juno Awards including two for Album of the Year, one for Artist of the Year and Producer of the Year for Shaw, who has co-produced the band’s last two albums with Grammy nominated John O’Mahony (Coldplay, Sarah Bareilles).

Metric has seen their music featured in a number of top TV shows including: Grey’s Anatomy, CSI, True Blood, Vampire Diaries, House, and Girls. They also wrote the theme song/score music for several Hollywood films including Edgar Wright’s Scott Pilgrim vs The World, David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Their work with acclaimed composer Howard Shore on The Twilight Saga was nominated for both a Grammy Award and an Academy Award. Metric also won a Canadian Screen Award (with Howard Shore) in 2013 for Cosmopolis.

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