After a 2010 with loads of critical acclaim, Broken Bells have a start into 2011 with another new effort.

The Grammy-nominated duo will be releasing "Meyrin Fields," a four-song EP, on March 29. It contains two previously unreleased tunes"Windows" and "Heartless Empire," plus two tracks that were already at digital retailers. The title track was the B-side to "The Ghost Inside" single, released in the fall last year, and "An Easy Life," which was off of the iTunes LP of the self-titled full-length.

It seems James Mercer and Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) are sticking with Columbia, and "will continue to record  and tour together for the foreseeable future." So this is no one-off or side-project?

Mercer had said in 2008/2009 that his other main squeeze The Shins were leaving their home Sub Pop for the green pastures of the frontman's own label. That, after a blood-letting within the band, a couple new hires and then static.

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Even as Broken Bells dropped their album last year and hit the road, Mercer maintained that songs were slowly but surely coming along for a new Shins effort. But BB seems like a semi-permanent state, according to the press release, though Danger Mouse has been tapped for, y'know, producing U2 and his high-profile "Rome" collaboration with Danielle Luppi and Jack White.

Perhaps the Sony romance will extend to Mercer's new label -- whether for distribution or joint venture -- whenever he gets around to that material. But if Broken Bells are still full-steam ahead, and these new recordings are indeed "new," then there may still be quite a wait.

The two aforementioned song previously released songs are floating around the 'net; for those curious, "Windows" will start streaming on NPR.org starting on March 7. Perhaps the video could nab another Christina Hendricks cameo?