A little over a month ago, indie rock veterans The Shins announced the contract between their label, Sub Pop, and themselves had expired and the band was taking a "writing hiatus." Now, Shins' frontman James Mercer has revealed that the band has had some major line-up changes, as well as some news of a new Shins album coming out on Mercer's own label.
In an interview with Pitchfork, Mercer gave up the details about the new switches within the band. Joe Plummer of Modest Mouse will now be replacing Jesse Sandoval as the drummer for the Shins, and Ron Lewis of Fruit Bats, will be joining the band on bass, while keyboardist Marty Crandall has also left the Shins behind.
The new line-up was revealed at Western Washington University this past Saturday night, when the crowd saw the band sans Crandall and Sandoval. Mercer told Pitchfork that he, Crandall and Sandoval had all been playing together since the mid-90s, originally with Flake Music, and it was time to shuffle the line-up around a bit.
"I started to have production ideas that I wanted to do that basically required some other people," he said. "It's mainly about that. It's an aesthetic decision. It's kind of hard to talk about stuff like that, isn't it? Because I don't want to bum anybody out. I'm on good terms with those guys, I hope to maintain that."
Now, Mercer and his new band mates are touring together as well as recording the new Shins album, which has an estimated release date for early next year. The album will be released on Mercer's own label, Aural Apothecary, instead of the band's forever-long label partner, Sub Pop.
Alongside the new switch up within the Shins, Mercer has been focusing his energy on other various projects as well, including a co-starring role with Carrie Brownstein in Some Days Are Better Than Others, collaborating with Modest Mouse on a soundtrack for the film 180 Degrees South, and appearing on the forthcoming Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse album.