When we got in our cab from the airport to the hotel in Austin last week our cab driver was listening to a live broadcast from Auditorium Shores. This cabbie was a bald white guy in his mid-50s that claimed to only listen to Texas rap music. He also informed us that he had been busier than a male prostitute at a Republican Convention. Welcome to Austin! This ain’t your Daddy’s Texas.
This particular cab driver was very much into the band that was playing live on his radio. The band was not rap, but he ‘would pay to see these guys” anyway. I had to agree with him. The band streaming almost perfect indie pop out of the shitty taxi speakers sounded amazing and you could tell by the reaction in between songs that they were winning this crowd over. It took two songs for me to call it…this was Broken Bells. The new collaboration between James Mercer of The Shins and Danger Mouse. (our cab driver LOVES Danger Mouse and was stoked to hear he was part of this band)
The interesting thing about this is I had listened to the Broken Bells album just days earlier and decided to file it under ‘boooooring’. The Shins never changed my life and even though I am a fan of the Grey Album and the first Gnarls Barkley, I still can’t forgive Danger Mouse for ruining the new Black Keys album. So maybe I was a little bias.
After hearing that live broadcast I made it a point to catch one of their sets at SXSW. I was not the only one. Needless to say, I did not see them during my lone star state vacation. But many people did and many people rave about what they saw.
So I came home and started playing the album again. I figured maybe about 3 or 4 listens I would get it. But it only took 1. I liked it the first time. I am now wondering what I didn’t like the first time. It’s indie pop music at it’s best. It’s exactly what you would think it would be…The Shins with Danger Mouse producing. I like The Shins, I don’t love them. I like Danger Mouse, I don’t love him. But together they make on hell’va team and I have found something to love in this album.
A video from SXSW via Ultra8201