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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Alt-rock band ‘Broken Bells’ double dips

    Steve Nguyen
    Steve Nguyen/The Daily Wildcat Broken Bells will be performing at the Rialto this Sunday, April 13th.

    Dynamic duo James Mercer of The Shins and respected producer Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) are stopping in Tucson during their six-month tour across the U.S. and Canada in honor of the recent sophomore album from their band Broken Bells. Following their Grammy-nominated, self-titled album, the collaboration of Mercer’s vocals, guitar and bass with Burton’s synths, drum, piano and bass-playing comprise Broken Bells in their second album, After the Disco.

    Between shows in Indio, Calif., for week one and week two of Coachella, Broken Bells will stop in Tucson on Sunday night to play at the Rialto Theatre.

    “Like The Shins’ underrated 2012 album, Port of Morrow, the tellingly titled After the Disco is at once sleek and world-weary, often homing in on that sexy moment of malaise when the Seventies wanted to turn into the Eighties so badly but didn’t quite know how to do it yet,” writes Jon Dolan of Rolling Stone.

    The two respected pop-music artists first met and took an interest in each other’s talents backstage at the 2004 Rosklide Festival. It would be several more years before Mercer and Burton created their self-described “melodic” and “experimental” music project, Broken Bells.

    “Broken Bells are awesome, and their new record is freakin’ fantastic. We’ve been listening to it quite a bit in the Rialto office,” said Kristopher Kerry, one of the talent buyers for the Rialto Theatre.

    Mercer helped transform definitions of indie music from the beginning of the Shins’ debut album, Oh, Inverted World. The classic indie film “Garden State” drew attention to the Portland, Ore., based band’s music when Sam (Natalie Portman) said, “You gotta hear this one song, [“New Slang,”] it will change your life ­— I swear.”

    Burton recently won the prestigious Producer of the Year award and has worked on albums including those by Beck, The Black Keys, Frank Ocean, Portugal, The Man and Norah Jones. Most recently, he has been working on an album for U2. Aside from producing, he is also a founding member of Gnarls Barkley, whose 2006 song “Crazy” spent nine weeks in the coveted No. 1 position on music charts.

    Broken Bells will play Sunday after Au Revoir Simone, the female trio keyboard band from Brooklyn, N.Y. Guitars, melodies, lyrics and electronics will come together with fans, beards and beanies for what students and music buffs can expect to be an incredible night.

    “Nothing beats an amazing live show,” Kerry said. “I’ve been into live music for a very long time. … I’m expecting this to be a really good show — maybe even one of the year’s best.”

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