The Shins didn’t need a life-altering approval by a movie character played by Natalie Portman to become an influential early aughts indie force – but it certainly didn’t hurt.
The Albuquerque, New Mexico, band already had released two critically acclaimed Sub Pop albums when Portman’s character in the 2004 film "Garden State" gave her memorable endorsement of the band’s panaceatic “New Slang.” For those already familiar with the James Mercer-fronted act, the onscreen acknowledgement was appreciated, as well as illumination of music already molding the ethos of its time. For the uninitiated, the scene was an introduction to a band that had influenced melodic and sonic indie trends for more than a decade.
And even with shifting lineup pieces around the artistically restless Mercer, the now-sextet Shins has continued to make a seismic impact, most recently with last spring’s “Heartworms.” Shimmering with the type of mood-altering tracks that first endeared the band to early listeners, the album is a step into the stylized modern hipster genre Mercer and Co. helped create – all while awakening echoes of its Portman-popularized past.
The Shins: 8 p.m. July 11 at Rapids Theatre (1711 Main St., Niagara Falls). Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $37 in advance, $42 day of (Rapids Theatre, Ticketfly).