How up close and personal was Monday’s in-studio session with Metric indie heroine Emily Haines and her co-founding bandmate James Shaw at 89.3 the Current’s studios? Close enough for the women in the crowd to let out a slight but audible gasp when they got a load of Haines’ ruby velvet boots, after host Mary Lucia made note of their killerness.
The six-song taping in Minnesota Public Radio’s UBS Forum was part of a short radio tour that Haines and Shaw are making this week to tout next week’s release of “Synthetica,” the hotly awaited follow-up to Metric’s 2009 breakthrough album “Fantasies.” The duo played stripped-down versions of both of the prior record’s hits, “Help I’m Alive” and “Gimme Sympathy,” but those weren’t even the most electrifying moments.
They pulled off a cool, raw-groove version of the new single “Youth Without Youth” accompanied by a simplistic drum machine. With Haines on piano, they also put an elegant and dramatic spin on “Breathing Underwater,” a highlight on the new record (which is streaming online here). Things turned even lovelier when they plucked out a folky cover tune by a young New York songwriter whom Haines randomly happened upon one night performing in a bar around 3 a.m. I’ll save the great story behind it and the identity of said tunesmith for the broadcast. Haines also shared/bragged a funny tale about meeting Lou Reed, who sings on the new album’s closing track, “The Wanderlust.”
Metric’s session will air via 89.3 the Current next Tuesday, June 12, at 5 p.m. (the day the album comes out). Haines and Shaw will be back in town with their band for a Sept. 11 gig at the State Theatre.