Broken Bells, the musical partnership comprised of Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) and James Mercer, are proud to announce the release of their sophomore album, After the Disco, on February 3rd, 2014 on Columbia Records.
This announcement follows the release of the band’s raft of album-accompanying short films and videos which can be viewed here and also the announcement of a headline show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire on March 24th.
Mercer and Burton recently sat down to talk with NPR’s Bob Boilen about the making of After the Disco.
“Part One: Angel and The Fool” lays out the blueprint for a mini epic chronicling the attainment of love. The prologue introduces viewers to Oliver, a 9-to-5 ordinary Joe, who finds a spacesuit-clad Helen, the literal girl of his dreams. Fans will find themselves entranced as the storyline unfolds across subsequent installments.
After the Disco follows up the 2010 self-titled debut which is on the brink of RIAA Gold certification after notching a release week Billboard Top 10 slot. Burton and Mercer’s illustrious first effort was nominated for a Grammy award and ultimately helped solidify Burton’s most recent Producer of the Year win, one of his 17 nominations and five Grammy victories in seven years.
The year 2014 will hold special significance for Burton and the Danger Mouse moniker as he celebrates the 10th anniversary of his groundbreaking release, The Grey Album.
Since 2004 and The Grey Album, a bevy of modern day musical titans have sought out the Danger Mouse treatment. Burton’s production work as Danger Mouse can be heard on such notable releases as Gorillaz’s Demon Days, Beck’s Modern Guilt, The Black Keys’ explosive single “Tighten Up” and massive El Camino and more. Burton will continue his cavalcade of impressive collaborators as he handles production for U2’s forthcoming album.
Aside from his work as a producer, Burton has established himself as an artist, composer and songwriter. In 2006, Burton teamed up with Cee-Lo Green to form Gnarls Barkley. This partnership gave birth to two full-length albums and of course the single “Crazy,” which Rolling Stone dubbed Song of the Decade. Burton would eventually go on to showcase his talents as a composer in 2011 when he joined Daniele Luppi to craft the epic Rome which featured Jack White and Norah Jones and was inspired by spaghetti western soundtracks.
Meanwhile, James Mercer was singlehandedly transforming indie music from a literal descriptor of bands on indie labels to an actual globally accepted genre with The Shins’ pivotal debut, Oh! Inverted World. Featuring monumental tracks such as “Caring Is Creepy” and “New Slang,” Oh! Inverted World–written and self-produced by Mercer in his bedroom–essentially ushered in a new era with its heartfelt melodies and his unmistakable voice.
The Shins’ sophomore album Chutes Too Narrow celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, its classic tracks such as “So Says I” and “Mine’s Not A High Horse” sounding as fresh and prescient as they did 10 years ago. Other Shins milestones have included the band’s third album, the Grammy-nominated Wincing The Night Away, entering the U.S. album chart at #2–a career high for both the band and its label at the time, Sub Pop. Last year the band’s fourth album, Port Of Morrow, was its first to be released on Mercer’s Aural Apothecary label in cooperation with Columbia Records. The album debuted at #3 and was greeted by some of the best critical notices of an already rabidly acclaimed canon, including Entertainment Weekly hailing it as “the band’s best album in nearly a decade.”
Fate would strike when Burton, a long-time admirer of The Shins, met Mercer backstage when the two happened to be performing at the same music festival. From then on, there was no looking back. The creative cogs had already begun grinding away.
While Burton has had his pick of collaborators in musical forays, he has found his ultimate writing partner in James Mercer. Mercer has helped unlock a new musical world for both himself and Burton as Broken Bells. The result has been the creation of cosmic and forceful music from a duo with mutual respect and shared talents. It’s not The Shins. It’s not Danger Mouse. It’s Broken Bells.