Supergroups are somewhat of a musical phenomenon. They are the product of successful musicians from different bands, and often times different genres, collaborating to create some of the most amazing experimental music possible. Some of the most recent supergroups to surface have been Atoms For Peace, Divine Fits, and of course the Gorillaz. Most people don’t realize that these bands are comprised of musicians who are already superstars. Broken Bells are no exception.
Officially formed four years ago by James Mercer, front man for The Shins, and producer of all things awesome Brian Joseph Burton. Burton is better known by his stage name Danger Mouse, and has worked with artists ranging from the Black Keys to Jay Z during his career. Burton and Mercer first met in 2004 at Roskilde Festival in Denmark where they expressed a great interest in each other’s music. I like to imagine that when they met, the skies parted, angels sang, and rainbows formed as an omen for the greatness to come.
It took four long years for the two to actually come together and officially begin the project however, but I must say, it was worth the wait. Broken Bells dropped their self-titled LP in 2010 with critical acclaim. The most amazing aspect of the album is how both artists stepped out of their comfort zone. Burton as a producer was more accustomed to using programmed kits and sounds to create the music. With the Broken Bells LP, he abandoned that approach for a more organic one by using more live instrumentation. All the while Mercer tested his vocal limits by widening his range, add that to his prowess as a lyricist, and you get one amazing album.
Just as quickly as the group surfaced, they disappeared. After a series of a few short-lived live performances it seemed that Broken Bells was set to fade out forever in an indefinite hiatus. As a fan of Broken Bells, I have been constantly waiting and hoping for new material. At long last, that wait is finally over. Broken Bells have just released a teaser video for their new album titled After the Disco. The video is only a minute long, but it is enough to have any Broken Bell fan intrigued. A release date for the album has not been set yet, but judging how bands have been promoting their albums as of late (Boards of Canada or Arcade Fire for example) I’m sure there will be a video that when played backwards will tell you the date their new album will release.