They say there's no time like the present; what they really mean is there's no such thing as the present. Five seconds into the future will be five seconds in the past once you finish reading this sentence. Life in the modern world so often boils down to taking comfort in the days of old or praying for some idealized future. Translated into rock 'n' roll, terms, it means you're either ahead of your time or past your prime. And we're cool with that. We like categories and demographics and timelines because they allow us not to think; everything can be explained with the check of a box or a dot on a graph.

But Metric don't let you off that easy. Their measures are decidedly cubist: eternal, multi-layered portraits of instantaneous moments, the luminous blur of street life rendered as a freeze-tableaux, daily rituals portrayed in a fantastical light. This is music born out of sly, considered observation instead of gratuitous introspection — which makes it refreshingly anomalous in an era when so much popular music fudges the line between self-absorption and self-parody.

Through their eight-year creative partnership, singer/synth specialist Emily Haines and guitarist James Shaw have never settled long enough to be defined by any city, scene or style. Toronto made them friends, Montreal turned them into soulmates, London brought them songs, Brooklyn made them a band and, finally, their current tenure in L.A. has resulted in their debut album, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?, produced by Michael Andrews (Donnie Darko soundtrack) for Everloving Records.