Broken Bells Biography

Broken Bells is an American alternative rock band composed of artist-producer Brian Burton (better known as Danger Mouse) and James Mercer, the lead vocalist and guitarist for the indie rock band The Shins. Broken Bells compose and create as a duo, but are joined by a full band on tour. The live band included Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band sidemen Nate Walcott and Nik Freitas, and Jonathan Hischke and Dan Elkan, both ex-members of Hella. Following the success of their first self-titled album, Broken Bells, Mercer and Burton have announced intentions to record a follow-up. A new EP from the group, Meyrin Fields, is slated for release on March 29, 2011.

The project was first announced on Tuesday, September 29, 2009. The pair decided to work together after meeting at the Roskilde Festival, a Danish music festival, in 2004 and finding they were fans of each other's work. It took four more years before the two started working together and by March 2008 Mercer and Burton began recording together in secret at Burton's Los Angeles-based studio. The two describe their material as "melodic, but experimental, too."

Prior to the formation of Broken Bells, Mercer and Burton both worked together on the track "Insane Lullaby" on the album Dark Night of the Soul by Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse. Broken Bells have since performed the song several times, often as a tribute to the late Mark Linkous, the Sparklehorse frontman who died in early 2010.

On December 14 the band released their first email update, in which a binary-coded message stating 'The High Road is hard to find' was displayed, offering a link to the band's web page, now with a new color scheme, for 'further details'. On the morning of December 21, the band informed fans in an email of the release of their debut single "The High Road", which was made available as a free download on their official site. The self-titled debut album was released in the U.S. and Canada on March 9, 2010. Another version of the album was released as well which is designed to be a music box that, when opened, plays a song called "The Overture", which is not on the album.

Mercer and Burton filmed a video of "Insane Lullaby" for NPR.

On March 1, 2011, Broken Bells announced that they would be releasing an EP titled Meyrin Fields on March 29, 2011.
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