Formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA, the Shins was originally envisioned as a poppier offshoot of indie band Flake Music. James Mercer (26 December 1970, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA; guitar/vocals), Jesse Sandoval (drums) and Marty Crandall (b. Martin Lesley Crandall; keyboards) formed the Shins in 1997 following the release of Flake Musics sole album, When You Land Here, It's Time To Return. They recruited Scared Of Chakas David Yanul Hernandez and Ron Skrasek, but the new line-up was quickly sundered when the two new members elected to concentrate on their main band. Former Flake Music bass player Neal Langford was reunited with his former colleagues, restoring the original bands line-up under their new moniker.
The quartet released two seven-inch singles (Nature Bears A Vacuum and When I Goosestep) on the independent Omnibus label before signing to Sub Pop Records. Oh, Inverted World, featuring 11 glorious tracks of 60s-inspired sunshine pop, was released in 2001. The album proved to be an enduring hit that led to prominent touring slots with established bands such as the Red House Painters. Langford was replaced by the returning Hernandez on the bands second album, Chutes Too Narrow. Promotional slots for the album included prime-time placements on the David Letterman and Conan OBrien shows, and the Shins also soundtracked a television advertisement for the Gap clothing company. The prominent use of two tracks from Oh, Inverted World (Caring Is Creepy and New Slang) in the 2004 movie Garden State also helped boost the bands popularity.
Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.