Danger Mouse is the moniker for musician/producer/songwriter, Brian Burton. I came to know of Burton when I noticed a string of favorite albums had his credit in common.
Burton grew up in New York State until his family moved to Georgia. He attended the University of Georgia but dropped out to move to London to pursue a career as a trip-hop DJ. His trip-hop music made under the name Pelican City is pretty good (especially the album named Rhode Island), but unfortunately it’s not available for sharing on Spotify. Burton was thrust into the spotlight by his critically acclaimed yet unauthorized mashup album that placed the a cappella version of Jay-Z’s The Black Album over samples from The Beatles’ album, The Beatles (a.k.a The White Album). As you might expect, this album is titled The Grey Album and is also unavailable for sharing on Spotify.
Here is a playlist of my favorite tracks on Spotify that have a Brian Burton contribution:
Favorite Danger Mouse Projects
Broken Bells – Broken Bells (2010), After the Disco (2014)
Broken Bells is a collaboration with The Shins’ frontman, James Mercer. The 2010 release, Broken Bells, stands as one of my favorite albums of the decade. Their upcoming album, After the Disco, is due to be released next month. Like most of Danger Mouse’s work, Broken Bells provides a highly electronic influenced indie rock with neo-psychedelia flourishes. Danger Mouse is given credit as a producer, composer, arranger, and musician (bass, drums, piano, synthesizer, organ). My favorite Broken Bells track is The High Road.
Norah Jones – Little Broken Hearts (2012)
I’m a big Norah Jones fan, and her Danger Mouse-produced album, Little Broken Hearts, is a clear favorite. Burton participates as a musician (bass, drums, guitar, organ, piano, synthesizer), composer and arranger on this album.
The Black Keys – El Camino (2011), Tighten Up (track from Brothers 2010), Attack & Release (2008)
On El Camino and Attack & Release, Burton is attributed with producing, composing, and playing keyboards. He is also responsible for producing their hit single, Tighten Up, from the widely popular Brothers.
Danger Mouse & Daniele Luppi – Rome (2011)
Rome is the product of the collaboration with Italian composer Daniele Luppi with Jack White and Norah Jones providing vocals on several tracks. The album is meant to sound like a lost soundtrack from a 1960’s Spaghetti Western movie. Burton worked with Luppi on earlier albums including the Gnarls Barkley release, St. Elsewhere (2006) and The Last Laugh (2009) by Joker’s Daughter.
Gnarls Barkley – St. Elsewhere (2006), The Odd Couple (2008)
Burton’s pairing with Cee-Lo Green as Gnarls Barkley gives us some exceptional manic-depressive music.
Music History Trivia: The song, Gone Daddy Gone, is a cover of a Violent Femmes track that borrows a complete verse from the 1954 Willie Dixon penned/Muddy Waters recorded, I Just Want to Make Love to You.
Gorillaz – Demon Days (2005)
Blur’s Damon Albarn enlisted Danger Mouse for his second Gorillaz album, Demon Days. My favorite track here, Feel Good Inc., gets some help from De La Soul.
Sparklehorse & Danger Mouse – Dark Night of the Soul (2010)
Here, Burton teams up with Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous. The album’s release was delayed due to legal issues with the The Beatles’ record company, EMI. Tragically, Linkous committed suicide before the album’s official release. Lead vocals on this album are provided by an impressive lineup of guests including Wayne Coyne (The Flaming Lips), Iggy Pop, Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) & James Mercer (The Shins).
Joker’s Daugher – The Last Laugh (2009)
Danger Mouse produces and shares songwriting credits with singer-songwriter, Helena Costas on this indie folk-rock-pop blend. You’ll also hear influences from Daniele Luppi here.
Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends (2013)
Portugal. The Man’s latest album, Evil Friends, was produced and co-written by Danger Mouse. This meeting of the minds proves to be a fun, quirky and irreverent outing.