The Shins Lose Two Members, Write 30 New Songs, Prep New Album, Tour, Have Major Label Dreams

The Shins, who are currently on tour throughout the U.S. of A. (remaining dates listed below!), have made a couple changes and been hard at work over the last year, even though they “claim” to have been on a break. Apparently, the Albuquerque natives are not ones to just kick back and relax.

First off, the sad news: keyboardist Marty Crandall and drummer Jesse Sandoval have, according to frontman James Mercer, left the band albeit on good terms. They will be replaced in the band by Fruit Bats’ ivory-tickling Ron Lewis and Joe Plummer, who plays for both Black Heart Procession and Modest Mouse, bringing his total band count to three.

Beyond the loss of comrades and the welcoming of new members, James Mercer assures us (well, assures Rolling Stone) that a giant litter of new songs have sprung forth from his, and the band’s, collective head. Dispatching this writer’s hope of a Shins double album, Mercer says he plans on working the new tunes down to a more manageable, single album’s worth of tracks. “[The album] is pretty much there,” says Mercer. “I’m just waiting to sort out the lyrics as usual. That’s like homework.”

To add to the already busy world of a tour, new album, and new band members, The Shins might also be switching record labels, as we previously reported (TMT News). The three-album deal the band had with Sub Pop has obviously been completed. Mercer says that the next album will be released on his Aural Apothecary imprint with help from a label to distribute and market the finished product. But Mercer had this to say: “We could negotiate a new contract with them or we can negotiate with another company. I know some people are [sic] Warner Bros. that I really like. Maybe they’ll give me a nudge, like, ‘Hey, when’s the next thing coming out? You’ve got to let us hear it.’ It’s nothing formal, though.”

Finally, beyond all of his work with The Shins, Mercer is writing the soundtrack to Chris Malloy’s new movie 180 Degrees South with some dude named Isaac Brock. “Isaac’s got a crazy collection of exotic instruments and stuff, so we messed around with those little thumb pianos,” says Mercer, adding that they also used a squeezebox and string arrangements for some of the songs. “I guess they sound like pastoral acoustic things. They’re actually more like pop songs than they ought to be. So there’s two of those songs that I think I’ll keep [for The Shins].”
05.09.09 - Oakland, CA - Fox Theatre
05.10.09 - Los Angeles, CA - Hollywood Palladium
05.11.09 - San Diego, CA - SOMA
05.13.09 - Richmond, VA - The National
05.14.09 - Washington, DC - 930 Club
05.15.09 - Baltimore, MD - Ram’s Head Live
05.16.09 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
05.17.09 - Montclair, NJ - Wellmont Theatre
05.18.09 - New York City, NY - Terminal Five

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