Admiring The Art Of Broken Bells, Part Two

A couple years ago, I wrote a post about the work of Jacob Escobedo, the visual artist behind so many great album covers and posters. He’s worked with Vampire Weekend, Active Child, and The Shins, but mostly I know him for the various music projects of Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton: Dark Night Of The Soul, Gnarls Barkley, Rome and, of course, Burton’s project with James Mercer, Broken Bells.

Well, this year, Broken Bells are back with a new album, After The Disco, full of a diverse array of influences, from pop and psychedelic rock, to soul and spaghetti Westerns, to disco and funk; all smooshed together to sound like, well, most of what Danger Mouse ever touches.

Continue reading Admiring The Art Of Broken Bells, Part Two

Broken Bells: A ‘Disco’-Tinged Musical Partnership

Broken Bells' album, After the Disco, is out now. (Courtesy of the artist)
Broken Bells’ album, After the Disco, is out now. (Courtesy of the artist)

When people think about the music of Broken Bells — the project of The Shins’ James Mercer and producer and multi-instrumentalist Brian Burton (a.k.a. Danger Mouse) — it’s easy to imagine Mercer writing the songs and Burton coming in to “make them weird.” But really, Broken Bells is a collaboration in the truest sense.

Continue reading Broken Bells: A ‘Disco’-Tinged Musical Partnership

Admiring The Art Design Of Broken Bells

Last year’s album from Broken Bells — a collaboration between Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) and The Shins’ James Mercer — was among my favorite records of the year. It was such a great mix of psychedelic pop instrumentation, Spaghetti Western soundtracks and electronic experimentation, but done in a way that was still very approachable. The record was definitely a grower though, as it took time to listen and dig in to all the layers going on under Mercer’s voice.

One of the other things I have loved about Broken Bells is the visual aesthetic of their record cover art. The cover art for the band’s full-length debut — as well as for the singles “The High Road” and “The Ghost Inside” — was designed by Atlanta-based artist Jacob Escobedo, who has also done work for Gnarls Barkley and the Dark Night of the Soul album.

All the images have a cohesive design and color palette, clean typography and a worn-in feel that makes each cover look like an old waterlogged record discovered in a forgotten bin down in the basement. As I said in my round up of the best album art of 2010, “the imagery is both cosmically alien and antiquated, as if it’s what we imagined the future to look like in 1973.”

The band just announced a new EP, Meyrin Fields, that continues this trend and works just beautifully. You can hear a track from the EP over on the All Songs Considered blog at NPR Music.