James Mercer & Norah Jones Review

James Mercer of The Shins stops by to showcase songs from the band’s new album Port of Morrow. Later, Jim and Greg review the new collaboration between Norah Jones and Danger Mouse.

main image
Download Subscribe via iTunes

Music News

Live Nation/Ticketmaster’s practice of reselling, or scalping, its own tickets on the website TicketsNow drew a lot of negative attention from the likes of Bruce Springsteen and the New Jersey Attorney General. The company agreed to stop linking and limit advertising for TicketsNow as part of a 2009 settlement, but now they’ve quietly begun resuming linking. They are trying to be more transparent, but it looks like the secondary ticket market isn’t going away anytime soon.

In an effort to take matters into its own hands, the jam band String Cheese Incident is taking a novel approach to spare its fans from paying Ticketmaster’s loathed service charges. Fans and friends recently brought $20,000 in cash to the Greek Theater in Los Angeles and purchased tickets to the String Cheese show. They then brought the almost 400 tickets by hand to the group’s headquarters in Colorado where they went on sale again, sans extra fees. Robin Hood would certainly approve.

One of the great all-time bass players, Donald Duck Dunn, died this week at age 70. Along with high school friend Steve Cropper, Dunn was part of one of rock’s best rhythm sections. As a member of Booker T. and the MGs, he played alongside legendary Stax acts like Sam and Dave, Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding. He later worked with everyone from Bob Dylan to Eddie Floyd. To remember Dunn’s trademark concision and swing, Jim and Greg play Knock on Wood by Eddie Floyd.

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.

...Little Broken Hearts Norah Jones

...Little Broken Hearts

Norah Jones also teamed up with Danger Mouse for her 5th album called ...Little Broken Hearts. She’s sold 40 million albums, won a ton of Grammys, and gained fans with her jazzy, laid back vocals. But it’s too laid back for Jim’s taste. He accuses Jones of bringing Danger Mouse down, and is irritated by her utter lack of passion. Unless you are looking to doze, Trash it. Greg understands Jim wants Jones to shout, but that’s never been her thing. And subtlety is undervalued these days. Not everything works well, but Greg finds Little Broken Hearts a nice left turn and says Burn It.

Dear Listeners,

For more than 15 years, Sound Opinions was a production of WBEZ, Chicago's public radio station. Now that the show is independent, we're inviting you to join the band and lend a hand! We need your support more than ever because now we have to do all the behind-the-scenes work that WBEZ handled before (like buying insurance and paying for podcast hosting, ugh). Plus, we have some exciting ideas we'd like to try now that there's no one to tell us no!