In the late 1990s, James Mercer and Brian Burton were living just about as far apart as possible while both residing in the continental United States—James in Albuquerque NM, Brian in Athens GA. However, this physical distance was bridged by a unique frequency the two independently tuned into, as each separately discovered the quintessential underground record label of that small window of time, Elephant 6. More than a decade later, Brian had assumed the persona of the world-renowned, GRAMMY Award-winning artist and producer Danger Mouse. An obsessive Shins fan, he invited James to collaborate with him at his studio. As many recordings that bear the Danger Mouse imprimatur, Brian has never made as much music with any other collaborator. No matter how much success The Shins or Brian’s various other endeavors may achieve, these two musical soulmates keep coming back to one another (even when it means James leaving his home and family for weeks at a time to work undisturbed at Brian’s studio—something he wouldn’t even consider doing for anyone else). At the foundation of this mutually magnetic, incredibly close friendship is its origin: a shared love of music, and more specifically the many influences the two have in common — the diverse sonic array that makes this album, their 3rd LP, INTO THE BLUE is a kaleidoscopic genre and decade spanning ode to those influences — From The Beatles to Pink Floyd, from ‘60s psychedelia to 70s rock and AM Gold, from ‘80s New Wave to ‘90s Trip Hop… and of course the formative Elephant 6 collective. The first Broken Bells album to feature samples in addition to James and Brian’s own organic sounds, INTO THE BLUE finds Broken Bells in uncharted territory. James and Brian venture into bold new directions while retaining their signature glistening pop perfection with just a hint of the sinister.
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