Tag Archives: Brian Burton

Happy 2014 – Some Albums to Look Forward To

2 Jan

2014

After finishing 2013 with a list of top sings from the past year, The Music Court is ringing in 2014 with a few album previews for exciting new albums to be released in the coming months. Will these albums feature songs that appear on the top 10 songs of 2014 list? I can’t think that far in advance! Before we swing back into new band profiles and other new, rich content, let’s check out three albums on the platter of melodies for the new year. We start with a duo of accomplished musicians who will look to pin their respective ability against the dreaded sophomore album slump.

Broken Bells

Broken Bells, the Indie rock side-project of Shins leadman James Mercer and multifarious producer/musician Danger Mouse (Brian Burton), is coming off an uber-successful eponymous release back in 2010. After the Disco, the much-awaited second release from the duo, has already received some serious buzz from music lovers (The Music Court wrote about the first single from the album – “Holding on For Life” – back in November). The album is a bit spacier and implements elements of disco (Mercer’s airy vocal helps for this). Will it be a second revelation for the band or spell an end to the project? Check out for yourself on February 4th

High Hopes

This is Bruce Springsteen’s 18th studio album. Yes, 18. The Boss will never stop working, and he clearly has high hopes for this unprecedented release. Unprecedented, you say? This is the heartland rocker from Jersey’s first studio album composed entirely of covers, unreleased material, or reimagined versions of past songs. For other musicians this may be considered the beginning of the end, but for Springsteen it is a celebration. Tom Morello joins Springsteen on eight out of the 12 tracks, and late saxophonist Clarence Clemons (the big man) and organist Danny Federici (Phantom Dan) appear on two tracks. If you haven’t already gotten a copy of the leaked album it comes out for real on January 14. 

Fanfarlo

Fanfarlo has had a dear spot in my musical heart since the release of its debut album in 2009. The London-based band that defies all genre defining (the band describes its sound as Space Opera meets Spaghetti Western, so do with that what you will) features a plethora of rich instrumentation and potent vocals. Not band for a quartet of multi-instrumentalists. The band’s last release was a concept EP that explored the past, present, and future of humanity. Let’s Go Extinct comes out on February 10. 

 

Holding on For Life After the Disco

28 Nov

Broken Bells

When James Mercer (of the Shins) and Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) first collaborated in 2010, the duo created a fresh, Indie album under the moniker Broken Bells. The album not only saw huge commercial success, but also it depicted the seamless collaboration between acoustic and electronic sounds. “The High Road,” the first single off of the band’s debut, is a quintessential example of the “melodic” and “experimental” sounds the band produces. Here is a live version of “The High Road” for your eager ears.

Flash forward to 2013 and the dangerous shins are at again with the release of a new single, “Holding On for Life,” which will appear on their new album After the Disco in early January, 2014. In what I presume will be an early album of the year candidate, After the Disco, if “Holding on For Life” is any indication, will feature a more natural amalgamation of the complementary styles of Mercer and Burton. Listeners can look forward to an even more comprehensive mixture of sound. Let’s listen to the first single.

If the cover of the album and trippy opening suggests anything, it is that we have slipped the surly bonds of Earth and entered into some psychedelic, Van Gogh-like space dreamscape. And, in typical Broken Bells fashion, the music suits the scenery. Mercer’s skilled vocal is carried by a strummed acoustic that sits over spacey electronics and segmented percussion. At 50 seconds, though, Broken Bells transforms into the disco. In what we English nerds can best term allegorical, Broken Bells turns into the Bee Gees, and it is bloody awesome. It is short, but the call-back is skillful. It’s an excellent single from a band that just continues to prove its creativity in what often is a dry musical landscape

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