The Shins Biography
Face it, the band you've been waiting for all these years is The Shins. Not convinced? Give me a moment to introduce you the Miracle of the Great Southwest.
The vast deserts of New Mexico are anything but barren, at least from a creative standpoint. Our story begins in Albuquerque circa 1992. The Grunge Invasion has swept out of the Northwest and into the ears of every kid with a pawn shop guitar. It affects everyone differently.
For The Shins, there comes to pass a monumental distillation of post-punk garage rock, the indie sounds of Chicago and a healthy dose of pure, unadulterated pop from a time when Brian Wilson was at the helm. Melody is key. Hooks are aplenty and then some. Some stars are born. Call it a natural progression.
Nine years, 10 records, acclaimed tours with Modest Mouse and Califone, countless other live dates and three name changes later, The Shins have finally begun to get their just desserts. Why did it take so long? Who really cares? Just be glad you made it this far without them, and take comfort in knowing that the yearning is over. Just like that.
From the ashes of Flake, then Flakemusic, The Shins took shape in 1997 - same members, different instruments, different approach, culled from nearly a decade of playing together. Counterpoint guitars gave way to a single guitar pitted against calculated keyboard passages, swarming indie rock machinations to pop-based melodic endeavors.
The resulting sound germinates in a post-punk aesthetic with nods to a traditional pop ethos. There's nothing like it on which to base analysis. Nothing at all. Live sets deviate enthusiastically from recorded works - there's just no telling. The Shins are a story that's still being written, edited.
What happens next is anyone's guess. You can take active part by listening. What you'll discover is the band you've been waiting for. Are you ready?
- Michael Henningsen
Albuquerque, New Mexico 2001
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amazing | Reviewer: charlotte | 1/22/09
I first listened to the shins last summer--- omg! i heard them on a tv show, and i looked up who they were. they are amazing! they have such... i dunno peaceful and grabbing songs- my fave is australia :j it reminds me of summer and ah! definitely my fave song from them! im gonna do my project on them 2 : D
The Shins - Chutes Too Narrow | Reviewer: Lizzie Lee | 6/6/07
Twee. It’s a much underused word, isn’t it? The other day I looked it up on Google, purely out of interest, and found a definition in an English-American dictionary. It was something like “much like the word kitsch. Tartan cloth jackets, old ladies’ front rooms and sleepy little villages are twee. Marilyn Manson, drive-by shootings and herpes are not twee.” Which pretty much sums it up.
But ‘twee’ is also a musical sub genre. And for me, it’s one of the best. It’s a naïve branch of indie-pop. Childlike, almost. For the music buff, it’s characterised by a series of trademark four-chord hooks and jangly Johnny Marr-esque guitar work, recorded in low-fi analogue on a Super 9 deck. But quite frankly, that’s not important. What is important is the soulful, simplistic innocence; verging on the saccharine, but somehow falling short. And this brings me neatly onto The Shins.
Now, a few weeks ago, in Brighton, I was lucky enough to find a copy of The Shins’ LP ‘Chutes Too Narrow’ (I know, it’s generally not that hard to find, but I live in the least cool town on Earth. Don’t judge me). Naturally, I seized it, having heard ‘New Slang’ and ‘Caring Is Creepy’ on the film Garden State (possibly the twee-est film ever. Anything Zach Braff recommends can’t be bad), and thought I’d give it a listen. It was then that I found out that the two songs I had heard were on a different album, ‘Oh, Inverted World’. And promptly thought ‘Bugger.’ But a tenner is a tenner, so I’d better have my money’s worth.
And it was definitely worth every penny, and then some. From the unassuming, bittersweet elegance of ‘Those To Come’ to the jangling two-and-a-half-minute joy of ‘Fighting In A Sack’, the album encompasses the very best that indie music has to offer. But my favourite song on the album, at least at the moment as it changes pretty much every day, has to be ‘Pink Bullets’. Poignant, unpretentious, with some of the most beautiful lyrics I have heard in a long time. It’s perfect, in every single way.
Sure, a decent rock anthem or electro beepy tune are perfect from time to time. Klaxons? Good for a night out, but let's be honest - who listens to them at home? (Except for their cover of 'Not Over Yet', which is genius.) Iggy Pop? Legend (give 'The Passenger' a listen if you don't believe me), but everyone needs to give their eardrums a rest from time to time. Yes, you guessed it, it’s time for The Shins! Yay! So turn down your amps, write something with a proper tune for once, cut out the strange DJ noises (the keyboard I got for my 12th birthday can accurately reproduce 'Atlantis To Interzone', so get your head out of your arse), pull out your oldest Converse, and make beautiful post-punk twee indie music. And now I'm off to drink cider in a field, discuss the political situation between Israel and Palestine (actually, don't get me started on that) and make daisy chains. See you in the next life.
the band that will change your life forever | Reviewer: carrie mccloud | 4/23/07
The first time I ever heard of the shins was when i watched garden states audio commentary with zach braff and I just fell in love with thier music and bought all of thier albums. Then i heard they were from albuquerque new mexico and thats where I am from.So i was really excited that some one from new mexico is getting heard of. they are the most underated bands. Their music has so much meaning than the other crap music like justin timerlake singing about bringing sexy back and stupid shit like that. I just read some review on the shins bashing it and saying the shins are not that great and i was so mad. Any ways i give the shins two thumbs up, five stars,and the title of the best band ever.
My favorite band | Reviewer: Matt Simmons | 5/8/06
The Shins have done something to me that no other band has ever done.
I have a favorite band for the first time ever - I was born in 1984.
My older brother introduced me to the music of 'The Shins' on December 25, 2005 and I have been hooked ever since. The first song I ever heard was 'Those to Come'. Its sound was one very foreign to me, but I liked it.
Next I became gravitated to songs like 'Gone for Good','Young Pilgrims', and 'Pink Bullets' with their simple sound and deep meaning. Every song on the album "Chutes too Narrow" are very well composed peices of timeless art.
With that CD playing in my discman - I made a trip to the CD store a couple months later and picked up their older album (newer to me) 'Oh, Inverted World'. This was well worth the money - and songs like 'Girl on the Wing' and 'New Slang' make this CD an instant classic.
Upon searching the internet for some more of 'The Shins' I nearly overdosed when I found the songs 'They'll Discover Soon' (from Spongebob Squarepants Soundtrack) and 'We Will Become Silhouettes' (The Postal Service Cover).
I have also found some great songs by James Mercer (lead singer) such as 'Won One Too Many Fights' and a cover of The Pixies 'The Holiday Song'.
If you're already a fan of 'The Shins' - welcome to the club. If you haven't experience 'The Shins' yet, you've got alot of catching up to do.
Incredible | Reviewer: austin | 2/18/06
the shins are a fresh change to all the bullshit music you hear these days. clean and unique sound with awesome lyrics. specially love the song Know Your Onion! and The Past and Pending...best line= "But when they're parking their cars on your chest, you still got a view of the summer sky" (from know your onion!)...beautiful.
5 | Reviewer: Brien | 6/13/05
Thay are awesome...Love the "New Slang", I just can't stop listening to it!
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