The Dismemberment Plan & Broken Bells Review

More than a decade after breaking up, D.C. indie rockers The Dismemberment Plan are back. Later Jim and Greg review a new album by super-duo Broken Bells.

The Dismemberment Plan
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Traditionally the Grammy Awards honor commercial success more than critical. So it was refreshing to see Daft Punk take home so many prizes, including the two biggest: Album of the Year and Record of the Year. Jim and Greg were also pleased with the live performance featuring the French robots with Nile Rodgers, Stevie Wonder, Pharrell Williams, Omar Hakim and Nathan East (Usually the televised ceremony’s odd couple pairings are nothing more than stunts). The last dance music album to win the top prize was Saturday Night Fever in 1979. Jim and Greg hope they don’t have to wait another two decades for more EDM Grammy wins.

At 94, Pete Seeger lived long enough to know that his music inspired multiple generations. Greg describes him as a working-class advocate who delivered the news through song. And sometimes that news was met with controversy, as with his performance of Waist Deep in the Big Muddy on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, attempted unsuccessfully in 1967 and then again in 1968. Jim and Greg play a recorded version of that song in honor of Seeger, who died January 27 of natural causes.

The Dismemberment Plan

Like its peers Death Cab for Cutie & The Shins the Washinton D.C. band The Dismemberment Plan was on its way to major success in the early part of the new millenium, and then in 2003, decided to pack it in. Bassist Eric Axelson, guitarist Jason Caddell, drummer Joe Easley and singer Travis Morrison went in different directions (Easly at N.A.S.A.!), but more than a decade later the D-Plan is back with Uncanny Valley. They talked with Greg about their multiple musical influences, including punk rock, hip-hop & D.C.’s Go-Go scene. Lead singer Travis Morrison says that ultimately the band is still figuring it out, much like Ferris Bueller did.

After the Disco Broken Bells

After the Disco

The term supergroup is often overused, but the duo Broken Bells might fit the bill. The ShinsJames Mercer and producer Brian Burton, a.k.a. Danger Mouse came together for a 2010 self-titled debut. Now they’re back for round two with After the Disco. Greg enjoys its chilled moodiness, noting Mercer and Burton’s skill at layering complex and beautiful melodies. But, the effect eventually begins to wear thin, so Greg can only say Try It. Jim thinks Greg is being too harsh and argues the record is more soulful than chilled. Mercer’s strong vocals paired with Burton’s crisp yet dark sound creates a sustained mood throughout that’s introspective and worth repeat listenings. Jim says Buy It.

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