Tag Archives: The Shins

SONG: The Shins

“So Now What”

The other day my friend admitted the soundtrack to the movie Garden State was life-changing for her. Will Zach Braff deliver again with his new film & soundtrack? Wish I Was Here is a film that Braff wrote with his brother and it comes out next month. The soundtrack features Paul Simon, Bon Iver, Cat Power, Coldplay and this new tune from The Shins:

Wish I Was Here
Garden State

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LYRICS: The Shins

“Simple Song”

Two years ago, right around this time of year, I wrote about the lyrics of this song. I was listening intently to it the other day and I really think it’s worth a re-post.

James Mercer is probably one of my favorite songwriters. The opening lines of this tune are simple (no pun intended), but they strike me as so powerful…and so romantic! I can’t say I’m looking forward to Valentine’s day this year, but this particular love song really makes me smile:

“Well this is just a simple song, to say what you done
I told you ’bout all those fears, and away they did run
You sure must be strong
And you feel like an ocean made warm by the sun”

The Shins

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SONG: Broken Bells

“Holding On For Life”

I was thrilled to hear that the collaboration between James Mercer (The Shins) and Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) would continue with another Broken Bells album. After The Disco comes out in January and the single is spacey and electronic with hints of The Bee Gees. It’s safe to say, I’m psyched!

Broken Bells

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SONG: The Shins

“Young Pilgrims”

Such a great track…with amazing lyrics from James Mercer (as always!):

The Shins

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Best Of 2012: Close Calls

Here are some artists/albums/songs that grabbed my attention in 2012, but didn’t quite make my Top 10 list…

First, my 5 favorite singles of 2012:

The Shins – “Simple Song”

Michael Kiwanuka – “I’m Getting Ready”

Ben Taylor – “Oh Brother”

Norah Jones – “Happy Pills”

Willie & Lukas Nelson – “Just Breathe”

And some other music I really enjoyed…

David Byrne & St. Vincent – Love This Giant
Two of my favorite artists got together to put out a very creative and experimental album in 2012:

Charlie Mars – “Let The Meter Run”

This contagiously feel good song was my earworm for a while:

Dr. John – Locked Down
This album, produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, is pretty dynamite. Here’s “Revolution”:

Dave Matthews Band – Away From The World
I liked a lot of what I heard from the new Dave Matthews Band album, especially this single:

Regina Spektor – What We Saw From The Cheap Seats

I pretty much love anything Regina Spektor does, and her 2012 album has a wide range of solid songs on it…just check out how different the these two tracks are (both have gorgeous music videos!):

Jesse Harris – Sub Rosa

This album has a wonderfully relaxing vibe to it…I think Jesse Harris has a Donovan/Nick Drake feel:

Andrew Bird – “Danse Caribe”
Far and away my favorite track on Andrew Bird’s 2012 release, Break It Yourself:

I’m sure I’ll think of more, but this, along with my Top Ten list, pretty much wraps up favorite music of 2012! Thanks so much for reading and listening…here’s to a lot more great music in 2013!


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LIVE: The Shins

“Simple Song”

Apologies for the lack of posts this week. I blame it on having a cold. Or is it allergies? The world will never know…

anyways, here’s another great live video from Bonnaroo. When I saw The Shins in Boston recently, I was really struck by how good this tune sounded live:

The Shins


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LIVE: The Shins

The Wang Center in Boston is such a beautiful building. To sit and see a show in that room is pretty much a guaranteed good time. Heading there with my family last week to finally see The Shins live, I knew I was in for a treat.

James Mercer has such a special voice and an incredibly unique approach to songwriting, and I’ve been a fan for a very long time. For me, hearing a tune from The Shins always brings up vivid memories and emotions. Whether it be a summer on the Cape with the Chutes Too Narrow vinyl spinning at all hours of the night or standing at a certain T stop in Boston waiting for the train with Wincing The Night Away on repeat in my earbuds…the music is very special to me.

I was delighted to hear a bunch of “older” material – “Kissing the Lipless”, “So Says I”, “Young Pilgrims”, “Saint Simon”, and the biggest crowd pleasers – “Caring Is Creepy” and “New Slang”. I expected to hear a lot from Wincing The Night Away, and they did play “Pam Berry” > “Phantom Limb” and “Australia” among others. In my opinion, that album’s opener “Sleeping Lessons” as the set closer was one of the highlights of the show.

I will say the encore was a little underwhelming. I did really enjoy a beautiful solo acoustic rendition of the new tune “September”, which started it off…but the rest of the tunes weren’t very memorable. I do applaud the idea that encores seem to be back in the hands of the band lately. As an audience member, I like the idea of not knowing when (or IF) the band will come back on and what they’ll play. So more power to James Mercer and his band for jamming out to end a lovely evening in Boston.

The Shins

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LIVE: Real Estate

I saw this New Jersey-bred band open up for The Shins on Friday night at the Citi Performing Arts (Wang) Center in Boston and I was delighted by their sound. If you are (or were) a fan of Minus the Bear or Modest Mouse, you may dig Real Estate.

It’s easy to identify their pleasant ambient pop sound in the tracks below, but what these guys bring to a live show is hard to describe. There’s a cohesiveness there that I think may simply come from a few people getting together with a shared vision and passion for a certain sound. At the show, I felt like I was wandering into their basement as they jammed. There’s a real genuine, easy feel to the music…it’s not forced and it’s by no means aggressive. Definitely a good opener for The Shins.

Real Estate

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SONG: The Shins

“Phantom Limb”

I’ve been a fan of The Shins for a long time but I’ve never seen the band live. Tonight that changes as I check them out at the Wang in Boston. I’m going in blindly, not searching for any recent reviews or setlists. With the personnel of the band changing so drastically over the years, I don’t think I’ll expect to hear too much older stuff…but I have hopes that I’ll hear some tunes from Wincing The Night Away (2007), which was a very special album for me. This was the single:

The Shins

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Lyric Of The Week

The Shins – Simple Song

Since I first heard it, this song has had a very special place in my heart…and as all the lyrics reveal themselves to me, I’m more and more blown away.

“My life in an upturned boat, marooned on a cliff
You brought me a great big flood, and you gave me a lift
Girl what a gift
And you tell me with your tongue
And your breath goes in my lungs
And we float over the rift”

Check out the incredible solo acoustic performance of this tune below. James Mercer was one of my favorite singers before I saw this…and now I’m even more impressed by his ability to pull off this song so well without his band.

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