Of course, the Shins

I don't believe this is officially an mp3 blog until I post some Shins. The Shins' third comes out in about three weeks. It'll be everywhere, and more people not normally clued-in to "alt" music will be listening to it, and other people will rag on it. It's probably the most different of the three, somebody bought some vibes, and the delay in putting it out is evident in how much production there is. There's still a lot of the familiar James Mercer vocal phrasings, although this time over a bit trippier, more expansive music, and I like it. It's decidedly less rockin than previous albums (not that they necessarily rocked) which is good since I'm getting really tired of most "rock" coming out these days. I'm remembering the Kids In the Hall sketch where Dave Foley as the teacher responds to the young rocker's (Bruce McCullough) shout of "rock-n-roll forever" with "well, actually, according to studies, rock has exactly six years left to live."

I saw the Shins touring for their first album in Austin, and it was a great free-wheeling show, several teases of Joy Division's "Ceremony". I met James's dad, who told me and my friend about how their family had grown up in England (military), where James discovered a lot of his early music influences. When I lived in London, I was surprised not many people had heard of the Shins, the second album had already come out, but still hadn't been released there. And I was lucky enough to get into the tiny Arts Cafe when the Shins played their first ever UK date. Much more nervousness and trepidation, but in the end the in-the-know crowd cheered sufficiently between songs to coax them back with smiles for "two more from the new album". Great memory, plus this parallel: I don't think they have anything to worry about this time, either, they're gonna do just fine with this album and they deserve it.

The whole thing's been leaked in mp3 of course, but why settle for that when Amazon is offering a special pre-order deal for only $10? One of the two tracks not found thus far in a HypeMachine search (but is on elbo) is "Red Rabbits", which is odd since it's one of the more unique songs on the album, very much like Mercer singing over an Enya tune.

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