The Shins – Chutes Too Narrow

The Shins are James Mercer, Marty Crandall, Jesse Sandoval and Dave Hernandez.

Formed in 1997 in Albuquerque, The Shins’ debut album ‘Oh, Inverted World’ (2001) has become one of the US indie scene’s success stories in recent years, selling around 150,000 copies during its lifetime. Achieving plaudits and very real sales through word-of-mouth, stunning, simple videos and constant touring, The Shins have soon become one of the most critically revered bands in the US of recent times, “somehow managing to capture lightning in a bottle”. GQ rated ‘Oh, Inverted World’ on of the 40 best albums of the 21st Century and in the UK, The Shins’ debut effort was voted into Mojo’s top 20 albums of the year 2001, despite no real domestic release: “This quartet from Albuquerque, New Mexico captured our hearts this summer with their pristine pop perfection.”

‘Oh, Inverted World’ featured two successful US singles (‘Know Your Onion’ and ‘New Slang’) and in 2002 James Mercer was asked to pen the music for a Gap advertising campaign featuring Hollywood mugs Ashton Kutcher and Scarlett Johansen. For such unassuming types, The Shins are, one way or another, doing a damn fine job of insinuating themselves into North American pop culture, although a little charm, as displayed in their brilliantly funny promo-only EPK, has definitely gone a long way…

Click Read More… to continue Already, The Shins’ second album ‘Chutes Too Narrow’ (released in the US in October 2003 on Sub Pop) looks set to build on these famous foundations: it spent the winter 2003 holding off all comers from the top spot on the CMJ chart and has been rewarded with bumper sales already as well as scheduled appearances on Letterman and Conan O’Brien in early ’04. ‘Chutes Too Narrow’ – twelve sublime twists of melody and melancholy, often surreal lyric – was mostly recorded in Mercer’s basement, and was produced by the band with Phil Ek (Pretty Girls Make Graves, Built To Spill).

Having just played the Matt Groening-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties in LA, The Shins are currently preparing for their first visit to the UK in January. Dates follow:

January 04

  • 20th Tuesday – London E1 Arts Café (onstage 9.45pm, £5 adv)
  • 21st Wednesday – London Camden Barfly (onstage 10pm, £5 adv)
  • 22nd Thursday – London Kings Cross Scala (with Modest Mouse. Onstage 8.45pm, £12 adv)

The Shins then tour the US in January/February, before returning to Europe in April for more shows – including a performance at All Tomorrow’s Parties, Camber Sands on April 2nd.

The Shins release ‘Chutes Too Narrow’ on Sub Pop in the UK on 15th March 2004. A single ‘So Says I’ precedes on March 1st.

What the press has said:

  • “Though their debut long player, ‘Oh, Inverted World’, could easily be described as timeless (in that 1966 way), there exists an ingenuity and resourcefulness among its eleven tracks that could have only conspired at such a time as our own.” – The Village Voice
  • “Ravishing ’60’s-tinged sunshine pop ” – Mojo
  • “The Shins make each minute matter without lapsing into fake mellowness.” – Rolling Stone
  • “Deftly balancing minimalism and luxuriance, the Shins? brisk indie-pop recalls the ebullience of mid-’60s rock while sounding entirely contemporary.” – Blender
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