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The Shins

A classic guitar pop group almost nine years in the making, Albuquerque, New Mexico's the Shins began in 1997 as the side project of singer/songwriter and guitarist James Mercer's primary band, Flake. Mercer formed Flake in 1992 with drummer Jesse Sandoval, keyboardist Marty Crandall, and bassist Neal Langford; they eventually changed their name to Flake Music, releasing several singles, a well-received album, When You Land Here, It's Time to Return, and touring with friends like Modest Mouse and Califone.

Soon after the release of When You Land Here, Mercer and Sandoval formed the Shins as a change of pace, playing as a duo with Cibo Matto and the American Analog Set. With Mercer as the Shins' primary songwriter, the group developed a more focused, crafted sound than Flake Music's charming, if somewhat rambling, collaborative style. Crandall, as well as Scared of Chaka's Dave Hernandez and Ron Skrasek, filled out the Shins' lineup; however, Hernandez and Skrasek left after a short while, due to the success of their main project. By 1999, Flake Music essentially disbanded and Langford also joined the Shins.

With a couple of 7"s on Omnibus -- 1998's "Nature Bears a Vacuum" and 2000's "When I Goose-Step" -- under their belts, the Shins embarked on a tour with Modest Mouse. Sub Pop's Jonathan Poneman caught the San Francisco date of the tour and asked the Shins to contribute a single to the label's Single of the Month Club, which eventually became an offer to release their 2001 single "New Slang" and their debut album, Oh, Inverted World. The group spent the rest of the year touring with acts such as Preston School of Industry and Red House Painters. The release of the singles "Know Yr Onion!" and "The Past and the Pending" kept the Shins' success going into 2002, cementing Oh, Inverted World as one of the definitive indie rock albums of the early 2000s and the band as one of the style's definitive artists.

By the time the band recorded their second album, Chutes Too Narrow, Langford was replaced on bass by Dave Hernandez (ex-Scared of Chaka). The album appeared in fall 2003, their first to reach the Billboard charts. The Shins' profile increased drastically the next year when actor Zach Braff included several of their songs in his 2004 movie Garden State with one of the main characters going so far as to proclaim that "New Slang" would "change your life." Its follow-up, Wincing the Night Away, appeared in January 2007 and sold over a staggering 100,000 copies in its first week. The Shins had never before hit higher than number 86 on the Billboard charts, but the album's sales snagged the guys a debut spot of number two. (This was also a record for Sub Pop itself, as the label had only previously peaked at number 79 with the Afghan Whigs' 1996 album Black Love.) It was also nominated for a Grammy for Best Alternative Album.

In 2008, the band announced that their contract with Sub Pop was up, and that their next album would be released through Mercer's own Aural Apothecary label. The resulting Port of Morrow featured an all new backing band, including fellow songwriters Jessica Dobson and Richard Swift, Modest Mouse drummer Joe Plummer, and Yuuki Matthews from the Crystal Skulls. It arrived in March 2012, received generally positive reviews, and promptly reached number three on the Billboard charts. ~ Heather Phares
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Port Of Morrow

1. The Rifle's Spiral

2. Simple Song

3. It's Only Life

4. Bait And Switch

5. September

6. No Way Down

7. For A Fool

8. Fall Of '82

9. 40 Mark Strasse

10. Port Of Morrow

x

Track List: Wincing The Night Away

1. Sleeping Lessons

2. Australia

3. Pam Berry

4. Phantom Limb

5. Sea Legs

6. Red Rabbits

7. Turn On Me

8. Black Wave

9. Spilt Needles

10. Girl Sailor

11. A Comet Appears

x

Track List: Phantom Limb

x

Track List: Chutes Too Narrow

1. Kissing The Lipless

2. Mine's Not A High Horse

3. So Says I

4. Young Pilgrims

5. Saint Simon

6. Fighting In A Sack

7. Pink Bullets

8. Turn A Square

9. Gone For Good

10. Those To Come

x

Track List: So Says I (Single)

1. So Says I

2. Mild Child

3. Gone For Good (Alternate Version)

x

Track List: Know Your Onion!

1. Know Your Onion! (Album Version)

2. My Seventh Rib (Live)

3. New Slang (Live)

4. Sphagnum Esplanade

x

Track List: Oh, Inverted World

1. Caring Is Creepy

2. One By One All Day

3. Weird Divide

4. Know Your Onion!

5. Girl Inform Me

6. New Slang

7. The Celibate Life

8. Girl On The Wing

9. Your Algebra

10. Pressed In A Book

11. The Past And Pending

x

Track List: Fighting In A Sack

1. Fighting In A Sack

2. Baby Boomerang

3. New Slang (Live With Sam Beam)

x

Track List: Goodbye Girl (CD Single)

x

Track List: Live At The Austin City Limits Music Festival 2006

x

Track List: No Way Down / Fall Of '82 (Swift Sessions) (Single)

1. No Way Down (Swift Sessions)

2. Fall Of '82 (Swift Sessions)

x

Track List: Simple Song (Single)

1. Simple Song

x

Track List: So Now What (Single)

1. So Now What

Comments

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I love Australia! Plus the album cover is awesome!
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dksherman53
Now get back on that horse and ride is such an inspirationa l lyric. We've all been there dumped on our a** by a girl or a horse. Both hurt.
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Also I've been listening to them since 2014 and they're GOOD!
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In my opinion "Australia" and "Turn On Me" are the best.
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josejmadriga l 3
lol
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I hear they're connected to the ankle bone.
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jedidiahcore
Fell in love with the shins the first time i heard them back in 2001s sight unseen. I left the shop while the video was still playing and bought the album and everyone sence.
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Haah I went to college in Albuquerque -- UNM. Could not stand the scene. Never heard of this band. And they're great.
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Pretty new to the shins but in the process of acquiring their discography to feel them out more. Pretty diverse sounding from one album to the next I've noticed. Very musicly bilingual
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How can you mention The Shins without referencing the Beach Boys influence?
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Vanessa this is u , may u see
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I got into The Shins because of Garden State.
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markhall87
Lyricist of whores will break your bells, Plagiarist!
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One of the best lyricist today - James Mercer. Ben Cooper(Radic a l Face) not bad either.
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Tital wave
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Man I love the Shins so much. I hope James and the band're working on another album.
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GODSPEED.
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"Caring is Creepy"
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hopen322
Turn on me is the best song by them in my opinion and it perfectly describes a year of my life
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lol
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Jameswwramse y , stop saying, "mitochondri a is the powerhouse of the cell," on a lot of the songs. It's not funny in any way, and is quite immature. If I see another one of those comments on another song, I will personaly comment on your page about it. So shut up.
Report as inappropriate
About New Slang: Very clean and versatile sounding song. Well mixed (this means I like it *wink*).
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Very clean sounding and versatile sounding song. Well mixed. (this means I like it *wink*)
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i see 'a boy named sue' everywhere. literally almost every song.
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markhall87
I'm not sure if they're as good as Unwanted A** Shave, though
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markhall87
They're almost as good as Unwanted Sex Change.
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Idk
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Bio update pls the shins have been around for 18 years
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My favorite songs by them include "Recent Colloquialli s m s " "Be Familiar With Your Scallop" and "Empathy is Unusual"
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markhall87
So true. NOthing at all
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⚡️❤️⚡️
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New slang by the shins
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i love the shins k
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The depth of prose, the meandering melodies, possibly the best lyricists in 60 years. No other group has had this kind of cultural influence since Elvis.
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jindo61
Have been hearing The Shins all my life
Report as inappropriate
S
Sh
Shi
Shin
Shins
Shin
Shi
Sh
S
Report as inappropriate
fox.pottermo r e
No, We Will Become Silhouettes is originally by The Postal Service!! The Shins did the cover!
Report as inappropriate
Postal Service covered We Will Become Silhouettes, it is originally by the Shins
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Erica, the Shins covered that song on the Postal Service EP. That's also where you'll find the Iron & Wine cover of Such Great Heights.
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Pandora, for the Shins' song 'We Will Become Silhouettes, ' you have the album artwork for the Postal Services' 'Such Great Heights EP.'
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Pandora, 'We Will Become Silhouettes' is by THE POSTAL SERVICE, not The Shins!
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Really nice band! ❤❤❤
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Almost 9 years in the making? Not quite accurate. Update your bios, Pandora.
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New Slang: FTT; BIG PROBLEM
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The Shins are so much fun! Whenever I'm upset or blue and I feel like shifting gears I always pop them on. It really helps!
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The Shins hold a place in my heart few other bands do
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seludes
Nice, but they REALLY sound a lot like so many other bands from the uncharted 80's...
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Kind of hate to say it, but I think the Shins might be Burque's biggest contemporary music band.
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Why are these guys not superstars. Brilliant song writing and beautiful arrangements .
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Beauty, sweet beauty
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