Broken Bells is an American indie rock band featuring artist–producer Danger Mouse (billed by his real name, Brian Burton) and James Mercer, the lead vocalist and guitarist for the Portland indie rock band The Shins. The project was first announced on Tuesday, September 29, 2009. The pair decided to work together after meeting at a Danish music festival in 2004 and finding they were fans of each other’s work. Mercer and Burton began recording together in secret at Burton’s Los Angeles-based studio in March 2008 and describe their material as “melodic, but experimental, too”.
On December 14 the band released their first email update, in which a binary-coded message stating ‘The High Road is hard to find’ was displayed, offering a link to the band’s web page, now with a new color scheme, for ‘further details’. On the morning of December 21, the band informed fans in an e-mail message of the release of their debut single “The High Road”, which was made available as a free download on their official site.The self-titled debut album was released in the U.S. and Canada on March 9, 2010.