13 Reasons You Need to See The Shins Live

Nov 02  / Thursday

From Oh, Inverted World to their newest release, The Shins continue to their find themselves back in the hearts of people everywhere with their latest album Heartworms. Refreshed from a five year hiatus, the band is taking their fans back to a simpler time, when the indie sound was new and still finding its way. Here are a few things to remind you why you need to see them live!

1. They are from humble beginnings

The band is originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, where the band's founder, James Mercer was working at hobby stores, restaurants, and even a factory. Their very first show as The Shins was opening for the band Cibo Matto. To save money they didn’t bring openers so local bands were given the chance to play with bigger names. Now, The Shins tour all over the world and at festivals such as Lollapalooza and Firefly with names The Killers, Muse, Bob Dylan, and Weezer.


2. The band came about as a happy accident

The Shins was actually James Mercer’s side project to the band Flake Music which was active from 1992 to 1999. As Flake Music, the band toured with Modest Mouse and released the album When You Land Here, It's Time To Return, which was later re-released in 2014 under his own label, Aural Apothecary. When The Shins were signed to Sub Pop Records, Mercer turned his full attention to The Shins.


3. They were thrown into movie madness

In 2004, the band hit the big screen and the mainstream when their single “New Slang” was featured in the film, Garden State. The character portrayed by Zach Braff is introduced to the song by Natalie Portman as a song that will “Change your life, I swear.” Since then, the song remains their most streamed and most recognized.


4. They've had multiple soundtrack features

The relationship between Zach Braff and James Mercer continued, the band recorded the song “So Now What” for Braff's film in 2014 and Mercer considers it “one of the best things i’ve ever done.”


5. The Shins are Grammy nominated

The Shins was nominated in 2008 for Best Alternative Album for Wincing the night Away, and the album also appeared at #71 on Pitchfork Media’s Top 100 Albums of 2000–2004.


6. The band's sound is inspired by “everything we listen to”

While never explicitly stating influences, the band has been compared to The Apples in Stereo, Guided by Voices, The Zombies, and The Beach Boys due to their whimsical melodies and abstract lyrics.


7. Mercer started from scratch to get the band's original sound back

For their newest album, Heartworms, Mercer went back to the classic do-it-yourself style of the independent music, he told the LA Daily News, he was "just familiarizing [himself] with the equipment, [he] wanted to have a few channels that were professional quality, and that was new for [him].”


8. He pulled from personal experience

Many of the songs on the new album were drawn from his own life such as “Name for You” which was inspired by his three daughters. The song comments on the way women are treated differently and unfairly in today's society. The song, "Mildenhall" tells the story of a boy who discovers new music in the '80s, Mercer claims, the "song is about 99 percent just straight up what happened."


9. He got creative and got Pasted

While producing the new album, James realized an art app he wanted didn't really exist, so he decided to design one. Pasted is a freeform collage making app along with filters and stickers that Mercer himself used to create the cover art for his single "Mildenhall."

10. James is really feeling confident on stage

Mercer used to stress about being on stage, he would get caught up in how he looked and what the crows though of him. However, now he says he has “loosened up” and is embracing the “rock and roll attitude” during this tour.


11. Keeping The Shins' name alive

Like Neutral Milk Hotel and the Lily’s, he loves the idea of one artist being presented as a band, which is why he stuck with the name and concept of The Shins even though he is the only original member left.


12. This recent solo performance will give you goosebumps

James was featured on NPR recently, the organization has always been a fan of the band and has been included in multiple stories such as “The Best CDS of 2003: Listeners’ Picks” and “Song Premiere: The Shins and Zach Braff Reunite”.


13. The band makes earnest music

Mercer attributes his success to changing the way indie music is perceived, in the 90s he believed that indie music was sarcastic and half-hearted, he put more emotion into his work and people responded positively to the change. Don't miss your chance, get your tickets now!