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New Reviews: Broken Bells, Jimi Hendrix and BRMC

March 9, 2010 6:03 PM ET

Last week RS talked up Gorillaz's Plastic Beach in New Reviews, so today we're spotlighting Breaking band Broken Bells, a collaboration between the Shins' James Mercer and Demon Days producer Danger Mouse. The pairing might seem like a strange match, but as Will Hermes writes in his four-star review of Broken Bells, "It turns out the two pop-science geeks are a perfect match. Danger Mouse pushes Mercer's gorgeous, existential tunecraft outward with Day-Glo dynamics." Mercer's lyrics are at their loneliest while Danger Mouse brings beats that sound like "hip-hop for turned-on shut-ins." The best tracks here at first single "The High Road" and the bouncy "Vaporize."

Also out this week: a collection of some of the final recordings Jimi Hendrix ever made, presented here as Valleys of Neptune. Of all the unearthed songs on Neptune, the title track is a major highlight, along with the bluesy, horns-soaked "Ships Passing Through the Night" and rerecorded versions Jimi classics "Stone Free" and "Fire." "Are these tracks 'finished' as Hendrix would've intended?" Hermes asks in his three-and-a-half star review of Neptune. "Probably not. But as a glimpse of the guitarist extending his reach beyond the Experience trio, it's thrilling."

With a new drummer kicking out Zeppelin stomps, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club also return this week with their fifth album Beat the Devil's Tattoo. BMRC continue their musical odyssey from rock roots to garage goth on their latest disc, which earned a three-star rating from RS. "Devil's Tattoo is unremittingly grim, and undeniably fun. Few bands wear their frowns so well," Jody Rosen writes.

For more on all the albums out now, check out Rolling Stone's Reviews section.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Santa Monica”

Everclear | 1996

After his brother and girlfriend both died of drug overdoses, Art Alexakis -- depressed and hooked on drugs himself -- jumped off the Santa Monica Pier in California, determined to die. "It was really stupid," said the Everclear frontman, who would further explore his personal emotional journey in the song "Father of Mine." "I went under the water. Then I said, 'I don't wanna die.'" The song, declaring "Let's swim out past the breakers/and watch the world die," was intended as a manifesto for change, Alexakis said. "Let the world do what it's gonna do and just live on our own."

More Song Stories entries »
 
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