Breathe ~ The Shins

The Shins are an American indie rock band comprising singer, songwriter, and guitarist James Mercer, guitarist/bassist Dave Hernandez, Eric Johnson of Fruit Bats, drummer Joe Plummer and bassist Ron Lewis. Their sound draws on several musical genres, including pop, alternative rock, indie rock, and folk. The Shins were formed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, but are now based in Portland, Oregon.

The Shins began in 1997 as a side project for singer/songwriter James Mercer, whose primary band was Flake Music in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mercer formed Flake Music in 1992 with Neal Langford on guitar, Phil Higgs and then Marty Crandall on bass, and Jesse Sandoval on drums. During the next 5 years Flake Music released several singles, a full-length album, and began touring largely due to the help of other bands like Modest Mouse.

In 1997, Mercer began writing songs that would eventually become the first Shins EP, “Nature Bears A Vacuum”. Around this time Flake Music had come to an end, which left The Shins with an opportunity to record their work. Recruiting Sandoval to play drums, Nature Bears A Vacuum was released with low expectations for being popular beyond Albuquerque. The Shins first few appearances originally featured only Sandoval and Mercer. However, the released single attracted enough attention for a full band to form. Crandall was brought into the fold on keyboards, and band friend Dave Hernandez (frontman of local punk legends Scared of Chaka, which had played dozens of shows with Flake Music) was given bass duties.

After a year as this lineup, during which half the songs on debut album “Oh, Inverted World” (including “New Slang”) were penned, Hernandez moved to New York City. Neal Langford was selected as his replacement, and it was this lineup that saw the group embark on a tour with Modest Mouse.


Breathe” (also known as “Breathe in the Air“) is a song by progressive rock band Pink Floyd and appears on their album The Dark Side of the Moon.

James Fallon The Shins has been testing a cover of Breathe on the road since around 2007.  The following is from The Jimmy Fallon show on NBC:


Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don’t be afraid to care.
Leave, don’t leave me.
Look around and choose your own ground.

Long you live and high you fly
smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be.

Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, FORget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down it’s time to dig another one.

For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.

  • Audio from the Jimmy Fallon Show on NBC


About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

Got a comment?