The Shins set release date for ‘Port of Morrow,’ sort of

The Shins” fourth album, “Port of Morrow,” will come out in March via head Shin James Mercer”s  Aural Apothecary label and Columbia. A specific date will be announced shortly.

Recording in Los Angeles and Portland, the Greg Kurstin-produced album is the first with the relatively new Shins line-up of bassist Yuuki Matthews, guitarist Jessica Dobson, keyboardist Richard Swift and drummer Joe Plummer. Mercer parted ways with founding members keyboardist Marty Crandall and drummer Jesse Sandoval in 2009. 

“Port of Morrow” is the band”s first album for Columbia since leaving Sub Pop Records, the group”s home for its three previous sets and its first full-length release since 2007″s “Wincing the Night Away,” which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200.  Mercer is also signed to Columbia as half of The Broken Bells.

The Shins recently debuted some of the new material in Los Angeles attended by Columbia honchos, including label head Steve Barnett, who said he”d been courting the band for eight years.

Among the new songs they performed were “Bait & Switch,” which Mercer described as a tale about “a very unlucky neurotic man with the wrong lady,” and “Simple Song,” written about Mercer”s girlfriend. The latter, which featured a Who-like opening riff, featured an aggressive sound (especially for The Shins).  They also previewed “It”s Only Life” and “The Rifle”s Spiral.” The new material fits squarely into the extremely accessible melodic material of the band”s past. For good measure, the Shins also threw in “New Slang.”

“Port Of Morrow’s” track listing:

1. The Rifle’s Spiral
2. Simple Song
3. It’s Only Life
4. No Way Down
5. September
6. Bait and Switch
7. Fall of ’82
8. For A Fool
9. 40 Mark Strasse
10. Port of Morrow