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October 16, 2003

Foiled Again

A show on the Shins website caught my eye yesterday: The Shins co-headlining a CMJ showcase in NYC on October 25th with one of my favorite bands of the moment, The Thermals. I took this as a sign: a couple of weeks ago I had burned a copy of the Shins upcoming album, "Chutes Too Narrow" on the same disc with The Thermals' "More Parts Per Million." Both albums being less than 40 minutes, I figured the odd bedfellows would complement each other, pop and rock. As I was researching plane fares, I realized that we have tickets to see the Predators-Avalanche hockey game in Nashville that evening, and there was no way my wife would miss seeing her favorite hockey player, Paul Kariya. Another plan foiled by my wife and one of her many "boyfriends."

"Chutes Too Narrow" is lyrically amazing and full of classic, guitar-driven pop. The production is much more straightforward than "Oh, Inverted World," and brings the songwriting to the foreground where frontman James Mercer shines. This is definitely one of the two best records recorded in a basement this year, the other being The Aisler's Set's "How I Learned To Write Backwards."

Shins video: "Recording In The Basement" (Quicktime)
Shins "So Says I" (mp3 link)

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