The Shins

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T he Shins are an American indie rock band consisting of James Mercer (vocals, guitar), Dave Hernandez (guitar), Ron Lewis (bass), Eric Johnson (keyboards) and Joe Plummer (drums). The Shins formed in 1997, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States as a side project of Mercer (previously of Blue Roof Dinner) and bassist Jesse Sandoval, who were both members of the lo-fi rock group Flake Music (formed as Flake 1992). Ron Lewis is also a member of Grand Archives and Joe Plummer is one of two drummers for Modest Mouse. The band was signed to Sub Pop following a successful tour in 2000 with Modest Mouse, and they now reside in Portland, Oregon.

Their 2001 debut album, Oh, Inverted World received near-universal critical acclaim, causing many critics to predict a mass wave of Beach Boys-inspired bands. That wave never truly came, but the Shins enjoyed a rapidly expanding fanbase, and even saw their music featured on a McDonalds advertisement. That may have been artistic suicide for them, had it not been that the song featured ("New Slang"), included the lines "New slang/when you notice the stripes/the dirt in your fries," as well as "God speed all the bakers at dawn/may they all cut their thumbs/And bleed into their buns/'till they melt away."

The band moved from New Mexico to the "indie rock capitol" of portland in 2002. Their much-anticipated followup, Chutes Too Narrow, was released in October of ‘03 in the U.S. and a half-year later across the pond to gushing reviews that matched if not exceeded their debut effort.

Ironically enough, their poppier more-accesible sophomore release would be overshadowed by the prominent appearance of two Inverted tracks, "Caring Is Creepy,” and "New Slang" in the Zach Braff’s dramedy Garden State. Particularly, "New Slang" received a significant callout as the movie's heroine, Natalie Portman, slips a pair of headphones on Zach Braff and proclaims "...this song will change your life".

The film and soundtrack brought “indie” to the wider twenty-something audience and created a comparably massive fan-base for The Shins as well as a number of other artists featured on the album. Namely labelmates Iron & Wine, who cover Sub Pop's The Postal Service. (Such Great Heights)

Also, several Shins tracks have appeared in Scrubs, the popular comedy starring Zach Braff. Most notably New Slang, in Scrubs' very first season.

More recently, The Shins roster has expanded to include Eric Johnson of The Fruit Bats (Sub Pop). And also in April of 09 Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse fame and Bassist Ron Lewis of Grand Archives replaced Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval. In addition, Anita Robinson of Viva Voce has appeared on stage and on-record lending female harmonies to the new single "Phantom Limb."

Their newest endeavor, entitled Wincing the Night Away, was released on January 23, 2007. The album leaked on October 20, 2006, and was also put up for purchase on iTunes two weeks prior to its release on January 9, 2007. The album was taken down a day later. Produced by Phil Ek in Seattle, Wincing is a return to the more dreamy, psychedelic, layered sound of Inverted but retains Mercer's penchant for romantic, allusionary lyricism and inventive pop progressions.

Wincing debuted spectacularly on the Billboard charts at #2, selling 118,000 copies, leading to both the highest debut in the band and their label Sub Pop's history.

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Source: lastfm


alternative, indie, indie pop, indie rock, rock


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