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The Shins Biography

Home > Music > S > Shins, The > Biography

Birth Place: Albuquerque, New Mexico, United States
Years Active: 1997-present
Genres: Alternative Rock, Indie Rock, Indie Pop

The Shins are an American indie rock band founded and fronted by singer and guitar player James Mercer. The Shins were formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but are now based in Portland, Oregon. Their sound draws on several musical genres, including pop, alternative rock, indie rock, and folk.

Their debut album “Oh, Inverted World” was released in 2001 on Sub Pop. The album contained the songs “Caring Is Creepy” and “New Slang,” both of which appeared in the 2004 film “Garden State.” The album has been certified gold by the RIAA.

They followed in 2003 with “Chutes Too Narrow,” also on Sub Pop. It reached #5 on the Billboard Independent Albums chart and peaked at #88 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart. The album featured the singles “So Says I” and “Fighting in a Sack.”

The band's third album, “Wincing the Night Away” was released in 2007 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200, marking the highest sales week and chart position an album released solely on Sub Pop has ever achieved. During the same week, it also appeared as the #1 album on four other charts: Top Digital Albums, Top Rock Albums, Tastemakers and Top Independent Albums. Like “Oh, Inverted World,” the album went gold. “Wincing the Night Away” featured “Phantom Limb” which reached #42 on the U.K. Singles chart. In the United States, the song debuted at #86 on Billboard's Hot 100 singles chart, becoming the first song by the band to chart in the Hot 100.

In 2008 the band announced that their three record Sub Pop contract had been fulfilled and that the next Shins' record would be released on James Mercer's own label, Aural Apothecary. Recently, the band underwent a lineup change that saw keyboardist Marty Crandall and drummer Jesse Sandoval replaced by Ron Lewis from Grand Archives, Eric D. Johnson from Fruit Bats on bass and Joe Plummer from Modest Mouse on drums.

In 2012 the band issued their fourth album, “Port of Morrow” on Aural Apothecary/Columbia Records. Mercer is now backed by Plummer on drums, singer/songwriter Richard Swift, bass guitarist Yuuki Matthews of Crystal Skulls and guitarist Jessica Dobson, who has performed as “Deep Sea Diver” and worked as a guitarist with Beck.