So much has been made recently of whether the Shins will break away from Sub Pop — the label that helped launch them into the hearts and iPods of Natalie Portman fans everywhere — that I thought it would be forever until we heard some new material. Turns out I was wrong, and for that we have Merge Records to thank. The Shins contributed a cover of "Plenty Is Never Enough" by Tenement Halls to a star-studded compilation celebrating the anniversary of the famed indie label (called 20 Years of Merge Records: THE COVERS!). The 20-track tribute also features contributions from indie giants likeRyan Adams, Death Cab For Cutie, Bright Eyes, and Okkervil River. Listen to a stream of the song (and the rest of the album) on Merge Records.com.
"Plenty" is the first new song of theirs I’ve heard since the sugary-sweet "It’s Okay, Try Again," which they performed on Nickelodeon’s vaguely-scary-but-kind-of-awesome show Yo Gabba Gabba! And, true to form, the cover showcases James Mercer’s sprightly vocals and the band’s bouncy guitars andpercussion. In short, even though it’s cover, it sounds precisely how aShins song: carefree and fun, with a hint of melancholy. It’s been a full two years since the band’s third album, Wincing the Night Away (which gave us keepers like "Australia" and "Phantom Limb"), and, alas, it appears there’s a long way to go yet for that much-anticipated fourth record. Sub Pop says they are currently not recording, so this song will have to do, for now.
Check out the new tune here, then let us know what you think.