Though Broken Bells featured two of the bigger names in indie and alternative music – the Shins' singer/guitarist James Mercer and producer/multi-instrumentalist Brian Burton, aka Danger Mouse – the duo managed to keep their project secret for a relatively long time. The pair were inspired to collaborate when they met at 2004's Roskilde music festival in Denmark, where they discovered they were fans of each other's work. However, they didn't start writing and recording together as a band until March 2008, when Mercer holed up in Burton's home studio in Los Angeles. The duo took a different approach to their work together than they had with their other projects: Burton avoided the sample-heavy style he used on The Grey Album and Beck's Modern Guilt, and played only live instruments, while Mercer broadened his vocal style to include falsettos and deeper registers. Mercer and Burton announced they were Broken Bells in fall 2009, and late that year they released their debut single, "The High Road." Their self-titled debut album arrived in spring 2010.
Miles once said, "All my inspiration today comes from Ahmad Jamal." These recordings are the reason why. The mid fifties was a fertile time for jazz; fresh, original ensembles were taking shape all over the country. The Modern Jazz Quartet, the Dave Brubeck Quartet, The Jazz Messengers and the Ahmad Jamal Trio immediately come to mind. Among musicians, each group had its imitators and its creative disciples who took its innovations one step further.
"The Awakening" is a diverse album marked by romantic ballads, chunky dance tracks and even a fusion instrumental. The single, “Remote Control,” is a vibrant piece of dance music with Otis Jr. ‘s steady rhythm guitar, catchy ensemble vocals and Mark’s smooth tenor gliding over a powerful rhythm track. “Remote Control” sets the tone for The Reddings’ other strong party songs “Funkin’ On The One,” “It’s Friday Night,” and “Doin’ It.” On everyone of these songs Dexter’s energetic lead bass lines and the trio’s graceful harmonies again and again show the Reddings’ great innate musical talent in action.