The Shins – In Session at BBC 6 Music – March 23, 2012 – BBC 6 Music –
The Shins in session tonight – recorded at BBC 6 Music on March 23, 2012.
( An excerpt from their bio via Wikipedia – the reason we kick in a few bucks come Fundraising time):
The Shins was formed in 1996 by James Mercer, a member of the band Flake Music in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Flake Music (formerly known simply as Flake) consisted of members guitarist/vocalist James Mercer, drummer Jesse Sandoval, keyboardist Martin Crandall, and bassist Neal Langford. The group began in 1992 and released a string of singles and an album, When You Land Here, It’s Time to Return, which was well received. The band toured with Modest Mouse and Califone. Mercer formed the Shins for a change of pace and enlisted Sandoval on drums. When asked what it was that began his interest in music, Mercer said “… it got me out of my shell and gave me a social life.” They began performing as a duo alongside Cibo Matto and the American Analog Set. Mercer became the band’s primary songwriter, and consequently, “the group developed a more focused, crafted sound than Flake Music’s charming, if somewhat rambling, collaborative style.” His focus on percussive guitar playing still led friends to compare his demos as too similar to Flake, and he focused on taking the music in a different direction. Unlike Flake, Mercer was the band’s sole lyricist, and songs were built from his initial structure. The group added Scared of Chaka’s Dave Hernandez and Ron Skrasek to complete their lineup, but the two musicians left before the end of the decade to pursue their work with Scared of Chaka. By 1999, Flake Music disbanded and Neal Langford joined the Shins.
In 2012, having worked on The Shins for nearly a decade, Mercer felt exhausted and ready to quit the band. “Mainly I was tired of being right in the middle and everything sort of revolving around me, including the friendship dynamics-slash-bandmate dynamics and the creative aspect”, Mercer explained in 2012. Noting that the band had never been bigger, some aspects of the limelight made him uncomfortable. Mercer was approached by Brian Burton (Danger Mouse) around this same period regarding a possible collaboration on a new project, which became Broken Bells. Enjoying the fresh approach with Broken Bells in regard to meeting new musicians, Mercer desired to continue that feeling. Mercer parted ways with longtime bandmates Dave Hernandez, Marty Crandall and Jesse Sandoval, terming it “an aesthetic decision”.Sandoval instead told The Portland Mercury he was “unequivocally fired” from the group by Mercer. Mercer would later relate that his decision was “tremendously difficult”, but instead wished to view it as a new phase.
Working with Burton on Broken Bells helped Mercer overcome fears of collaboration, which in turn influenced the rotating “cast of characters” that grouped together around him to record Port of Morrow, which became the Shins’ fourth album upon its March 2012 release. Mercer returned to The Shins as the only original member. “I always loved these auteurs who presented themselves as bands”, Mercer later explained, referencing Neutral Milk Hotel and Lilys as examples, which led to him feeling as though he could pursue something similar, allowing the concept of The Shins to carry on. Producer Greg Kurstin had a particular influence on Port of Morrow, encouraging Mercer to experiment in the studio. Mercer began touring with an all new backing band, including fellow songwriters Jessica Dobson and Richard Swift, Modest Mouse drummer Joe Plummer, and Yuuki Matthews from the Crystal Skulls. Port of Morrow debuted at number three on US charts, and lead single “Simple Song” represented the band’s best chart performance, peaking within the top 10 on the Alternative Songs chart.
Here’s a taste of what the 2012 period was like, compliments of the BBC.
Press Play and kick back.
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