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Chutes Too Narrow

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In the 2004 film Garden State, Natalie Portman’s character famously claims that listening to a track from The Shins’ debut record will “change your life”. That statement holds true for this sophomore effort from the Albuquerque, NM-based band. It’s a stellar display of ’60s-influenced indie pop wizardry spiked with sing-song melodies, jangly guitars and labyrinthine lyrics delivered in a giddy, breathless rush. Even when you can’t make out precisely what James Mercer is saying, the sentiment behind his words lands like an arrow to the heart.


Formed: 1997 in Albuquerque, NM

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

A classic guitar pop group almost nine years in the making, Albuquerque, New Mexico's the Shins began in 1997 as the side project of singer/songwriter and guitarist James Mercer's primary band, Flake. Mercer formed Flake in 1992 with drummer Jesse Sandoval, keyboardist Marty Crandall, and bassist Neal Langford; they eventually changed their name to Flake Music, releasing several singles, a well-received album, When You Land Here, It's Time to Return, and touring with friends like Modest Mouse and...
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