The Shins / The Shins LIVE at Third Man Records - 4055096
“What can we say about The Shins that hasn’t already been said in miles of press? They’re one of the best bands out there today and we are still honored thinking back to the night James Mercer and his band here to play live and record a live LP for us. This show holds a particularly special place in our hearts, as it was the inaugural groove-carving voyage of our 1953 Scully Lathe that previously churned out masters for Cincinnati’s legendary King Records. The 8 tracks on this live recording mark our first ever cut live direct-to-acetate, and we couldn’t be more pleased with the way they turned out.”
Released: September 9, 2013
The Shins / Port of Morrow - 4055097
Port of Morrow is the fourth studio album by The Shins, released on March 20, 2012 on Aural Apothecary and Columbia Records. Co-produced by Greg Kurstin and frontman James Mercer, it is the band’s first studio album in five years, following the release of 2007’s Wincing the Night Away, and their first since the departure of founding members Dave Hernandez (bass, guitar), Marty Crandall (keyboards) and Jesse Sandoval (drums).
Primarily a collaboration between Mercer and Kurstin, the album features contributions from former members, Dave Hernandez, Marty Crandall, Eric D. Johnson and Ron Lewis, alongside current drummer Joe Plummer, and other studio contributors including Janet Weiss and Nik Freitas. The album has a more slick and polished sound than the band’s previous efforts, with a much greater emphasis on electronic instrumentation while still retaining elements of the melodic indie pop style the band originally made their name with.
Released: March 20, 2012
The Shins / Wincing The Night Away - SP705
To play music for a long time, you have to surprise the people that love you—while also surprising yourself. Recorded in singer/guitarist James Mercer’s basement studio, Phil Ek’s Seattle digs, and in Oregon City with veteran producer Joe Chiccarelli (Beck, U2), Wincing the Night Away is The Shins’ third full-length album. It’s also the sound of a band growing up and out. Mercer’s infectious, indelible melodic style is still at the core, and unfaltering. But anything can happen around it—and in this case, it does. While the vocals channel the spirit of Morrissey, “Sea Legs” pairs a loping hip-hop beat with lush melody and searing guitars. Elsewhere the band toys with tweaked-out, liquid piano steeped in kaleidoscopic strings (“Red Rabbit”); fractured synth samples (“Spilt Needles”); gauzy, arpeggiated keyboards cloaking thunderous anthems (“Sleeping Lessons”); and, taking cues from early Jesus and Mary Chain albums, sweeping, fuzz-toned epics (“Phantom Limb”). Finally, “Turn on Me,” “Girl Sailor” and “Australia” are the lilting, thrilling, rollicking, rock-solid pop songs we’ve all come to covet from The Shins. Consider yourself surprised.
*If you buy the LP of this album, be aware that you’ll be able to download the songs for free to use on your less analog devices.
Released: January 23, 2007
The Shins / Chutes Too Narrow - SP625
The Shin’s debut full-length, 2001’s Oh, Inverted World, was a stunner; resoundingly well-received and landing itself on numerous year-end best-of-lists. MOJO placed it at #14 of the year and commented, “This quartet from Albuquerque, New Mexico captured our hearts this summer with their pristine pop perfection.” And, Seattle’s The Straner went even further with, “…a referential, brilliant record which had better blow up, or the world has forgotten what pop music is all about.” As far as we’re concerned it did blow up – seems there’s still some hope for the world and its conception of pop music. Since that first record, singer/songwriter/guitarist James Mercer and drummer Jesse Sandoval moved from Albuquerque to Portland, OR and bassist Neal Langford was replaced with Dave Hernandez (ex-Scared Of Chaka), who played bass on the stand-out track from the first record, “New Slang.” Chutes Too Narrow, their heavily anticipated follow-up, was recorded in James’ basement home studio, with later mixing assistance from Phil Ek (Built to Spill, Modest Mouse, David Cross, Les Savy Fav, etc.). And, with 10 songs, clocking in at just over 30 minutes, the new record is a brief yet entirely scintillating glimpse at chiming, reflective and perfectly skewed pop innovation.
Released: October 21, 2003
The Shins / Oh, Inverted World - SP550
Here’s what we had to say about the Shins debut record circa 2001. Hailing from Albuquerque, NM, The Shins sprung from the ashes of Flake/Flakemusic in 1997 (though those previous incarnations date back nearly a decade) – same members, different instruments, different approach. Counterpoint guitars have given way to a single guitar pitted against calculated keyboard passages; swarming indie rock machinations led to pop-based melodic endeavors (who knew?).
Released: June 19, 2001