Mark Hoppus' SXSW Pick: Broken Bells

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Broken Bells
WRITTEN BY
Mark Hoppus

When he's not commandeering the stage as the boisterous bassist for SoCal punks Blink-182, Tweeting wisdom to more than 1.6 million followers, or handling album production duties for bands like Motion City Soundtrack and New Found Glory, you'd think Mark Hoppus would turn down the music.

Not. Possible.

In our continuing series, Hopp on Pop, Hoppus shares his favorite acts, culled from his incessant pursuit of all that rocks -- and now he's picking bands slated to play this week's SXSW festival in Texas. (Click here to discover Mark's previous picks, including SXSW performers Rogue Wave and Neon Trees, pop punkers We the Kings, and many more.) Check out his new entry below, and come back to SPIN.com every Wednesday for Mark's latest discovery.

Be sure to follow more of Mark's opinions and exploits via Twitter and on his blog! And check out Mark's 8 Favorite Albums of 2009!

BROKEN BELLS

HOMETOWN:
New York

THE BASICS:
It's a collaboration between chart-topping Shins frontman James Mercer and hit-maker Danger Mouse, the sought-after producer who broke rules with his Jay-Z/Beatles mash-up, The Grey Album, then topped the charts as Gnarls Barkley with hip-hop impresario Cee-Lo Green. Broken Bells' self-titled debut, which came out just last week, pairs the clattered, heady production of DM (aka Brian Burton) with Mercer's reverb-drenched croon. The pair are booked for two announced gigs at this week's SXSW festival in Austin, Texas.

WHERE HOPP HEARD THEM FIRST:
"I was on NPR.com the other day, listening to the new Gorillaz album, and they had a feature on Broken Bells. Being a huge fan of both the Shins and Danger Mouse, this sounded like an incredible pairing, so I had to check it out. The next day their full-length album was released and I picked it up on iTunes immediately."

WHY THEY ROCK:
"I love that Danger Mouse cannot be constrained to one genre of music. From mashing Jay-Z into the Beatles, to working with MF Doom, and now collaborating with the Shins' James Mercer, he is as creative as they come. Just like you can never guess what the next Kanye West album is going to sound like, you never know what Danger Mouse is going to take on next. Mercer has a gift for creating quiet, beautiful songs with the Shins that are simultaneously moving and touching. Together, these two artists have built an album of beat-driven, melodic, quiet, indie hip-hop.I couldn't think of a more disparate pairing, and somehow this is the freshest sound so far in a musical year filled with monotony."

HOPP'S TOP TRACK:
"The High Road."

LISTEN: Broken Bells, "The High Road"

FIND OUT MORE:
brokenbells.com

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