Indie rock superheroes The Shins have become one of the biggest names in their genre and have bucked the big-label record company route and garnered their legions of fans largely on their own. Formed in 1996 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, as a side project for frontman James Mercer and was originally dubbed Flake Music, the band consisting of bassist Neal Langford, drummer Jesse Sandoval and keyboardist Martin Crandall released their first album, When You Land Here, It's Time To Return in 1997, before changing their name to The Shins and inking a deal with small time label Sub Pop Records and beginning the process of releasing their first full-length studio album.
In 2001, The Shins dropped their first album dubbed Inverted World, which proved to be a major critical success for the band. The singles "Caring Is Creepy" and "New Slang" were well-received by the group's growing number of fans, and "New Slang" was featured in a variety of television shows and advertisements. After touring behind this album for several years, The Shins came back in 2003 with Chutes Too Narrow, a far more upbeat album that spawned the singles, "Saint Simon," "Gone For Good," and "Those To Come" and featured a bit more emphasis on guitar-driven melodies than the keyboard-centric tunes of the past.
While The Shins were receiving rave reviews from music critics and becoming the face of the indie rock scene, their biggest breakthrough in popularity came when they decided to supply tracks to the soundtrack of the Zach Braff film, Garden State. The soundtrack included the singles "New Slang" and "Caring Is Creepy" and allowed The Shins to reach an entirely new audience.
In 2007, The Shins capitalized on their newfound popularity and released Wincing The Night Away, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard sales chart and would receive a Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative album. In 2012, The Shins released Port of Morrow, which featured the new single, "Simple Song." The album would peak at No. 3 on the Billboard 200 albums chart and would prove to be a commercial milestone for the group. While many Shins fans will tell you that the band's novelty may have been the fact that they were so unknown, their newfound popularity has helped them refine their craft and become one of the most unique bands on the scene today.