Though James Mercer remains the band’s core member, The Shins have cycled through almost an entire lineup since scoring their breakout hit in 2004. The biggest change in the band took place when multi-instrumentalist Marty Crandall—who often addressed the crowd more than the reserved Mercer—was let go in 2009 after allegedly assaulting his girlfriend in 2008 (the case was later dismissed). In late 2010, Crandall formed the new project Sad Baby Wolf with his drummer—and brother—Maury Crandall, guitarist/vocalist Jason Ward, bassist Sean McCullough and former Shins guitarist Neal Langford. Sad Baby Wolf’s debut full-length is slated for release this spring. In the meantime, the band has released two advanced singles. The group explains:
As their first release, the guys of SBW decided to release not one, but two singles in the same vein as a classic 7”. On the front end is the boisterously rock-rooted stomper “8th Level,” while on the flip side is the more psychedelic, drone-rock inspired “Survival Guide.” Sad Baby Wolf is undoubtedly a project in and of itself, yet there may be some familiar harmonies and/or guitar tricks that are sure to make those nostalgic hearts grow fond.