He’s won Grammys for being the jelly to CeeLo Green’s peanut butter in Gnarls Barkley, and his work as one half of Broken Bells with Shins frontman James Mercer, a collaborative project with Sparklehorse et al and the producer behind the Black Keys transformation into rock stars. He’s inspired a Beatles album (well, sort of), is the musician who brought together western film composer Daniele Luppi with Jack White and Norah Jones, has produced great albums by Gorillaz and Beck, and, uh – shall we say did his best with U2….
Brian Burton, better known as Danger Mouse, clearly thrives off the creative energy of others. Which is to say: why has it taken so long for him to have his own record label? The wait is over. Burton launches 30th Century Records tomorrow with a new single for streaming and download by the always incredible Sam Cohen, “Lose Your Illusion,” and another by newcomers Nine Pound Shadow, “Melody.” Both tracks premiered today on NPR’s All Songs Considered along with an interview in which Brian discusses the label and sings praises of Sam. Both songs will also be on 30th Century Records Compilation Volume I, the imprint’s first official release, alongside exclusive new tracks from Dan Auerbach’s The Arcs, Autolux, Apache Sun and Waterstrider. Set for a December 18, 2015 release, the press release promises “eleven tracks of guitar-based brilliance…a psychedelic mosaic with international scope.” The label has also announced that its first non-comp album will be Autolux’s as-yet-untitled follow-up 2010’s Transit Transit.
Speaking about Sam’s debut solo album released earlier this year Cool It Danger Mouse says:
“I thought it was amazing. I didn’t know anything about it either. I thought every song was great and I immediately got it touch with Sam and started going in the studio with him. He produced and wrote and recorded and played pretty much all the instruments on his album and I just thought he was great. So we recorded a little bit together and it went well, then he came out to Los Angeles, we recorded a little bit more and we were recording with other musicians, other projects I was working on, and we had a week we were supposed to work with somebody that I wasn’t really so sure about – I’m not going to use names or anything like that. I said, ‘I’d rather just work with you. Why don’t we just cancel it?’ We sat down and did that song “Lose Your Illusion.”
But wait, there’s more!
In a letter to his e-mail list Sam announced that “Lose Your Illusion” is “just the first of many things to come. New music is in the works!”
In other Cohen news, earlier this week BRIC shared a live video of Sam covering John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy” at Manhattan Inn as part of this past summer’s Manhattan Vampire’s Club, an homage to Hollywood Vampires Lennon and Harry Nilsson.
Danger Mouse personally signs artists to 30th Century Records but intends to mostly stay out of the studio – Cohen being the sole exception so far. Danger Mouse told NPR that he’s“not trying to shape the way these bands sound on the label at all,” but rather help them carry out their post-recording work. He explained:
“I never thought about [having my own label] in the past because I never wanted to be on that side of things… I just want to make music all the time. I’ve made a lot of records, a lot of albums, to varied degrees of success. I think having done it so many times and seeing how the albums get released, the way the labels deal with them, all the things that go into the album after you’re finished recording it, that it does make a difference. Sometimes you love to think that it’s just the music and that part should stay in the studio as its own thing, but then afterwards there’s a lot that comes with it.
“I’m looking for things that I like or that I connect with in some way that maybe other people are not, other labels are not really jumping on for whatever reason. Or maybe something that I hear first and think, you know, I could help them and put them with this producer or put them with this person. And sometimes it’s just, if somebody wants to bring me songs and say, ‘What do you think of these?’ I can even just tell them that way. That’s still a way to help them.”
From the press release:
“Multi-instrumentalist Sam Cohen writes naturalist songs steeped in blissed out soul grooves and futurist guitar work. This former member of Apollo Sunshine and leader of Yellowbirds is no stranger to fuzzy psychedelia and enchanting melodies. They are presented here with the direct minimalism innate to solo work by John Lennon and Neil Young. Explosive synthesizers and earth-rattling guitar bring an otherworldliness that maintains its roots on this latest track produced with Danger Mouse.
Berkeley brothers Nine Pound Shadow stew in the wooded unknown. Their austere pop, dirty yet majestic like The Zombies, possesses a romantic lilt. There’s a lightness to the scuzz, an undeniable buzz as knotty guitars and hissing acoustics make for an era-transcending missive.”
Love both of these tunes they’ve released so far. I think Danger Mouse is definitely on to something with this label, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. If you haven’t already thrown this Sam Cohen song on some Spotify playlists, I definitely recommend it: http://bit.ly/SC-LYISpotify