Results for James Mercer

interviews

James Mercer

You're in a beloved band at the height of success. Natalie Portman tells the world that your band will change lives. So what do you do? Blow everything up, of course. At least you do if you're James Mercer. The Shins frontman and founder followed up his Grammy nominated, Billboard charting album Wincing the Night Away with a decision to completely change the group's lineup and sound. He sought out producer Greg Kurstin, best known for working with Lily Allen and Kesha, and the result is Port of Morrow. As he discusses with Jim and Greg, this transition wasn‘t easy, but was necessary. And it’s not the first time Mercer made an unexpected collaboration. He and Danger Mouse (of Grey Album fame) joined together for Broken Bells. Check out video of Mercer performing songs from the album, as well as an oldie, but goodie.

Go to episode 338

Broken Bells

James Mercer of The Shins and Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) formed a band called Broken Bells that combines Mercer's songwriting abilities with Burton's incredible production techniques. The duo has released two albums under that moniker and the project has two fans in Jim and Greg. The band met at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark have continued to work together on-and-off since. Brian talks about their songwriting process which essentially boils down to late night chats about everything under the sun, and then putting those ideas to music in the studio. James describes how Brian pushed him as a singer—making him do take after take until he got it right. Broken Bells' newest album As Greg notes, After the Disco is evocative of that 3 a.m. feeling when things“wear off.”The band joined Jim and Greg for a special performance at the historic Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in Portland, OR. The crowd was courtesy of our friends at opbmusic

Go to episode 467
reviews
Broken BellsBroken Bells available on iTunes

Broken Bells Broken Bells

Jim and Greg review the self-titled debut from Broken Bells, the new collaboration between James Mercer of The Shins and Danger Mouse. This is an unexpected pairing, but Jim and Greg are both impressed to hear each artist stretching. Greg notes that both are minimalists in their own right. And the first half of the record has one fine track after another. But he finds the second half slightly disappointing. Overall, though Greg gives Broken Bells a Buy It rating. Jim doesn‘t understand Greg’s complaints. He doesn‘t think the album falls off at any point. It’s a perfect collection of pop songs and deserves a Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 225
Port of MorrowPort of Morrow available on iTunes

Shins Port of Morrow

After working on side projects like Broken Bells, Shins front man James Mercer has retooled the band and released a new album called Port of Morrow. Fans will continue to appreciate Mercer's sense of melody, but, like Greg, they may be turned off by the broader, more polished production courtesy of producer Greg Kurstin. Jim thinks the production adjustments are successful, and prefers The Shins‘ brand of twee more than that of Andrew Bird. So that’s a Burn it from Greg and a Buy It from Jim.

JimGreg
Go to episode 330
We Were Dead Before the Ship Even SankWe Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank available on iTunes

Modest Mouse We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank

This show is an all-reviews blowout starting with the new release from Washington state indie rockers Modest Mouse. We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank is one of the most highly anticipated records of the season. Modest Mouse's underground fan base has emerged into the mainstream in the past few years, despite lead singer and chief songwriter Isaac Brock's status as a rather polarizing figure. Jim recommends fans check out Alan Goldsher's profile of Brock, Modest Mouse: A Pretty Good Read. Now, the band is joined by former Smiths' guitarist Johnny Marr. James Mercer, lead singer of The Shins, also provides backing vocals on a number of tracks. Greg thinks that Isaac Brock is doing what he does best on this album: combining quirky vocals and rhythms with a traditional pop sensibility. He describes it as a very well-crafted record that isn't over-thought or overproduced and gives We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank a Buy It. Jim was also impressed, describing the album as“brilliant.”He thinks Brock deals in gloom and doom better than his peers and urges everyone to Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 68
After the DiscoAfter the Disco available on iTunes

Broken Bells After the Disco

The term supergroup is often overused, but the duo Broken Bells might fit the bill. The Shins' James Mercer and producer Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse came together for a 2010 self-titled debut. Now they're back for round two with After the Disco. Greg enjoys its chilled moodiness, noting Mercer and Burton's skill at layering complex and beautiful melodies. But, the effect eventually begins to wear thin, so Greg can only say Try It. Jim thinks Greg is being too harsh and argues the record is more soulful than chilled. Mercer's strong vocals paired with Burton's crisp yet dark sound creates a sustained mood throughout that's introspective and worth repeat listenings. Jim says Buy It.

JimGreg
Go to episode 427