Monday, February 22, 2010

Broken Bells: Danger Mouse & James Mercer Indie Rock Project L.A. Showcase

via the Los Angeles Times

Broken Bells, the hotly anticipated new project between Danger Mouse and the Shins' James Mercer, had a coming-out-party Friday night (Feb. 19), performing at the intimate Bootleg Theater for industry pals and those lucky enough to score some of the tickets that went on sale Friday morning. With a capacity of about 200, tickets didn't last long, and Pop & Hiss was forced to head home to watch some Olympic ice dancing instead.

Nevertheless, plenty of amateur videographers were in attendance, and YouTube continues to help bring some context to rock 'n' roll myth-making. Above, Mercer and Danger Mouse, performing as part of what we're told was a six-piece band, dig into lead-off track "The High Road," from the act's upcoming March 9 release of its self-titled effort.

With Mercer tapping his falsetto, and the slow, trippy introduction of background harmonies, Broken Bells manages to sound familiar yet contemporary, like the uncovering of a vintage album given some modern electronic flourishes. Or, to use a musical reference point, a more soulful take on the folksy-electro sound used to great effect by the Beta Band.

Broken Bells, which will appear at the South by Southwest Music Conference in Austin, Texas, pulled out some rock-crit-approved covers, including the Neutral Milk Hotel's "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" and Tommy James and the Shondells' "Crimson & Clover."

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