Broken Bells return with their long-awaited 2nd record. The reviews have ranged from over the top accolades to mediocre, based on a perceived over saturation of all things related to Danger Mouse, 1/2 of Broken Bells. Broken Bells are an indie super group, or is it super duo? Princess Padmé may have told J.D. in the movie Garden State that The Shins would change his life, but I’ve always been partial to this side project of The Shins lead singer James Mercer and Danger Mouse. Danger Mouse also moonlights as 1/2 of Gnarls Barkley and producer extraordinaire. James Mercer leads The Shins who started out as Flake Music, releasing 1 album under that moniker before The Shins released the album that changed the life of Princess Padmé. The new record leans more towards what we’ve heard from Danger Mouse, with impassioned vocals from Mr. Mercer.
The movie Garden State hit home on several levels. Zach Braff was amazing in the TV show Scrubs but hasn’t always connected with me as a “movie actor” – here he was absolute perfection. His character returns home to New Jersey to deal with the death of a loved one. Having been away on the west coast for years, he struggles to connect with his past while also embracing the future. I’m haunted by this movie every time I visit Philadelphia, PA as for the last 10 years I’ve staked a new life out on the “Western Frontier”. A key scene in the movie involves Braff and the female lead, Princess Padmé Amidala….I mean, Natalie Portman. Both characters connect in a hospital waiting room while The Shins “New Slang” plays on Padmé’s headphones. She states to Braff’s character “You gotta hear this one song — it’ll change your life; I swear.” Curious words for an indie band, but ones that can now be seen as prophetic.